Op-ed: What will they think of next?

  • By Cal Thomas
  • Monday, June 8, 2015 5:43pm
  • Opinion

An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration has recommended approval of a drug created to raise a woman’s libido. It’s called flibanserin, but it is popularly known as “female Viagra.”

The 18-6 committee vote does not guarantee the FDA will give final approval to the drug (it has been rejected twice before), but the agency has a record of mostly going along with the committee’s recommendations.

Men of a certain age may rejoice at such a breakthrough. Imagine the possibility of no longer hearing “not tonight, honey, I’ve got a headache.”

Think of the time and money this pill could save men. No more expensive dinners. No more mandatory chick flicks. No remembering birthdays or sending flowers. No back rubs or faked sensitivity. Just a simple pill and she’ll be “ready,” as the male enhancement commercial euphemistically calls it. Cut to the chase, except there would be no need for a chase. No romance. No “getting to know you.” It sounds like the 1973 film “Westworld” where lifelike android women fulfill any male fantasy and never say “no.”

Flibanserin looks like a win-win for women suffering from low libido and men who fancy themselves followers of the Playboy philosophy. What’s not to like?

Plenty.

Many believe the contraceptive pill transformed sex from a marital act to a mechanical action. Love would also be re-defined from a selfless regard for another person, to a focus on pleasing one’s self.

In this latter definition, when the feelings end or can no longer be sustained at the hormonal level of a randy teenager or newlywed, one jettisons the object of one’s former affection in pursuit of new feelings and new conquests. If women today complain about men who can’t commit — and many do — how do they expect commitment when a little pill can lead to pharmaceutical arousal? The same holds true for men and Viagra.

Little pills can enhance biological function, but as with fire, which can either warm a house or burn it down, sexual activity is best for both sexes within historically and, do I dare say, “biblical” boundaries. These boundaries lead to mutual benefit and a healthier society, which has gotten out of control largely because such limits have been removed.

Are we not having enough sex? Is that the problem? Culture is drowning us with sex of all kinds while the media covers up the consequences of sex when it is unrestrained, or experienced outside of a committed marital relationship.

The maker of flibanserin, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, says about 7 percent of premenopausal women experience Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, the clinical name for low libido. Even the FDA committee acknowledges that the benefits of the pill are only “marginal” or “moderate.” For some women that might be enough and to the extent it can strengthen the marital bond it could be a good thing, some of the side effects notwithstanding. These include nausea, dizziness, fainting and sleepiness.

FDA officials say they are concerned with how this pill interacts with other drugs a woman might be taking, particularly birth control pills and alcohol. There is also the potential for increased accidents, including car wrecks, falls and other mishaps. Better include a warning label: Women, do not operate heavy equipment while taking this drug!

If the drug wins final FDA approval — a decision is expected by August — we might see commercials with seductive-looking women coming on to men, as we now do in the current crop of Viagra ads. If so, Sprout Pharmaceuticals could use Tina Turner’s hit as background music. It would certainly reflect the times:

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it

“What’s love but a sweet old-fashioned notion

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it

“Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken.”

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

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