The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 May 2006

One pill makes you something

This Washington Post story asserts that college men are turning into candidates for Viagra, what with all these forward, forceful women putting the move on them.

Lindsay Beyerstein suspects something else entirely:

If you really want a psychosexual explanation for this putative phenomenon, you could start with the pernicious myth that all normal men are rarin' to go 24/7. In the old days, men always had to ask women for sex, and so they asked for sex when they felt like it. Nowadays, women feel entitled to initiate sex (gasp!) when they feel like it. Maybe macho culture is teaching guys that natural ebbs and flows in sexual desire are pathological.

Steve Martin: "You know 'that look' women get when they want sex? Me neither."

And if you won't buy psychosexual explanations, how about a purely mercenary one?

Doctors know that [the] vast majority of impotence complaints can't be linked to identifiable pathology of any kind. Often, it really is "just one of those things." There's no bright clinical line between recreational and therapeutic Viagra. (Nor should we be overly concerned about establishing one, except for insurance purposes.)

However, society isn't comfortable with the idea of recreational sexual enhancers. At least for older dudes it's plausible that there's some organic problem, if only the aging process itself. So, there's a lot of nudge nudge wink wink in the ads and the promotions about how this is a SERIOUS DISEASE, but that if you treat it your patient just may have a LOT MORE FUN.

So far, there's no comparable fiction that would allow Pfizer to market to twenty-somethings under the guise of medical need.

"So far." And wouldn't it be handy for a cohort of twentysomethings to show up at a time like this with exactly the need, as it were, for exactly this drug?

I don't have this issue myself: the flesh is willing, sort of, but the spirit is mostly bored at the moment. Still, I'm an Older Dude and presumably could get the Magic Bullet in wholesale quantities were I so, um, inclined; I'm simply not persuaded that it's the answer to my particular question. For someone not quite half my age who's thinking he should be up for anyone, anytime, anywhere, "It's not your fault; you just have this condition" might have powerful appeal indeed.

I hasten to add that this is just a theory; while Beyerstein has done pharma marketing in the past, she hasn't tapped into some double-secret plans deep within Pfizerland. But if I see more stories of this sort, I'll start to wonder.

Posted at 7:18 AM to Dyssynergy


I think the twenty-somethings need prescription assistance to their desired recreation option of choice in part because of their chosen recreational drugs of choice. It's a viscious cycle, the bane of the overmedicated, under performing (as it were) world we now accept as the norm.

Posted by: Jennifer at 8:10 AM on 9 May 2006