When the NY Times says there is a drug which may be as revolutionary for women as the introduction of the Pill back in the 60s, I read it. I also assume there is more to the story than a Viagra rebranding to propagate the myth of the frigid woman and make some money for pharmaceuticals. However, after conferring with my fellow Gangsters I believe this may in fact be exactly what we’re dealing with.
The frigid woman, if you are unfamiliar, is a concept that stems from our societal myth of women coming in two varieties hypersexual and non-sexual. The photos in the article do a really good job of demonstrating this dichotomy, there is the grumpy, sad woman and the woman in ecstasy, with nothing in between. The frigid woman has no passion, is clearly in denial of her need for intercourse, and will probably die alone. Many of the women depicted in this article seem to be embodying this myth. They are broken because they no longer desire their partners the way they once did, and feel obligated to “fix” themselves for their partners.
Desire is a very tricky thing. To the journalist’s credit, he does write- off evolutionary psychology as nonsense, and admits that we don’t really know how physical attraction and lust change over time, because no one has studied it longitudinally. What we do know is that women’s desire generally peaks around 30, about a decade after men’s. We also know that desire often dissipates over shorter periods of time, but again this too is understudied. The problem is, that’s not how the article framed it. It was framed as women’s diminishing desire specifically, what about men’s?
Men are completely missing from the conversation here. Men too potentially have waning desire stemming from considerations outside their partner like jobs, and kids, and whatever else. Why don’t they need a pill to fix their lust? Viagra used by men, as it is discussed here, simply creates a physical response in the penis. It doesn’t affect desire. The sweet, sweet irony being that what they are marketing as a new innovative drug for fostering women’s lust is essentially Viagra, with a mint coating.
So why sell drugs to women by convincing them their desire needs to be fixed? Because women are clearly all crazy and recognize themselves to be. Duh. I mean, the man behind the drug cites his inspiration as being dumped in his 20s and wanting to spend the rest of his life studying the depths of the (crazy how could anyone ever dump me) female mind. A man scorn hath no fury…or logic.
Perhaps, and heaven forbid I bring this up and try to be credible, not all people are happy being monogamous. Maybe some people just get bored, male, female, or otherwise. Maybe there are some people who can be really happy and monogamous for decades while there are other who cannot be for six months. Sound like anybody you know? The fact of the matter is the evidence to support any of these suppositions is just not there. We don’t know. Maybe in fact we are just like trumpeter swans and there is a reason people keep coming back to the idea of “happily ever after,” or perhaps it is a very cruel trick. We just don’t know. And how could we? People barely have the space to choose their partners and create the relationships they want, with equality and trust. But maybe there’s a pill for that?