Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

A willing spirit

I was going to blog about the news blitz around this trials of a drug that promises to be a female aphrodisiac the other day, but I got busy. I'm glad I waited, because the spin on the news has taken a sudden shift. Today the news is that it may work as an aphrodisiac for both men and women.
Well knock me down and call me Tweety! When I read the initial article, I grumbled because it was putting forth two false myths that already cause enough problems. One, that persistent lack of desire is a female problem, because we all know how horny guys are. The other, which is actually kind of counter-intuitive to the first myth, is that the male version of lack of desire is impotence. The medical establishment continues to point out that impotence is better defined by the old saying, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Viagra steps in and fixes the flesh to match the spirit, if you will. Whereas lack of desire is just that, and is probably not something a pill can fix. And lack of desire can affect men, too.
That's the myth that's harder to shake. Guys are stereotyped on TV, jokes, songs, movies, etc. as horndogs. Looking around at cultural ephemera, an alien would have to conclude that the sexual dynamic of humans is that one sex is constantly chasing sex and the other just sits around pouting and resisting. It's assumed that the only thing that dries up male desire is considering a woman who doesn't meet the sexy standard.
What results from this stereotype is that both female lack of desire and male lack of desire are cast as female problems. A woman doesn't have desire? Well, she needs to fix the problem. Find more time, more energy, something. Try harder. And now there's a pill that will fix her. A man lacks desire? Well, the solutions might be lingerie, sex games, romantic getaways, various ways to get his attention (thanks, Cosmo!). Or maybe she needs to lose weight. Or change her hair. Or quit nagging. Thankfully, it seems like feminism has seeped quite a bit into the ol' advice columns, and now male lack of desire is being cast more often as something he might have to deal with himself.
But pretty much any woman can tell you that a few advice columns that have grown a brain are no cure for magazine cover after magazine cover with gorgeous models on them next to the words, "15 Ways to Drive Him Wild" staring you down in the store, making you wonder if said gorgeous model needs sex tips to drive anyone wild. And most women I've known (including myself) who've had partners that went through a drought of desire, of any length for any reason, usually turn immediately on themselves. I've known perfectly beautiful girlfriends of mine to wonder out loud if really is too much to ask for a decent sex life when you're not a tall, skinny, big-busted blonde. And usually it is something else, stress, weariness, all sorts of problems. But it's hard for men to talk about these things honestly, since they are struggling under the stereotype that men are horny all the time.
Figures that it would take an evil drug company to suggest that male lack of desire might be the suffering man's problem to fix. But only because the need to double the population of people that might want to purchase this pill, and not because of any deep-down desire to challenge damaging stereotypes. That it took two days for the press releases even to admit that they are considering marketing this drug to both men and women shows that even when there's serious cash involved, it's difficult for staid corporations to consider challenging said stereotypes. I'm sure if this drug ever makes it to the market, it will be marketed as a pink pill soley to women initially, and if it sells well, they will refashion the drug in the color blue, rename it and cautiously market it to men. You know, like razors.

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