Orgasm Inc.: Search for the Female Viagra

Kingsberg is a medical expert for the German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer, which will seek FDA approval for its drug Flibanserin on June 18. The drug is designed to treat hypoactive sexual dysfunction disorder (HSDD), which was included in the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual in 2002, defining it as a persistent lack of desire that specifically causes anxiety.

Kingsberg argues that direct-to-consumer advertising has "opened to doors for sex" to be considered "healthy and appropriate."

"Women are smart. It's hard enough for anybody to comply with a medical regimen," she said. "If the drug isn't helpful, someone is not going to take it," she said. "It has to be effective."

But critics say when the FDA relaxed the rules on television marketing, the creation of new disease soared. The United States is the only country in the world, except New Zealand, that allows direct to consumer advertising.

"It's not a matter of rights for women, it's a matter of hijacked science," said Leonore Tiefer, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at both New York University and Albert Einstein schools of medicine, who has a private sex therapy practice.

"Flibanserin a brain drug," she said. "They tried the blood flow drug on women and didn't work. The hormone drug didn't work and now they have a brain drug for women that's not going to fly either -- for the same reason, safety and efficacy."

Tiefer, who currently leads the New View Campaign to fight "disease mongering," was part of the documentary as she fought Proctor and Gamble's bid to market Intrinsa.

"I had an epiphany," she said. "When Viagra came out, I was working in a urology department and I knew about men and the penis and five minutes after it was approved, they were saying, 'Where is Viagra for women?' Wait a minute, there are loose screws. Women are not clamoring the men are. This is an attempt to create a market."

Even Viagra is not as successful as its company publicizes, according to Tiefer.

"Drugs are never that great," she said. "There's always problems."

A ban on direct to consumer advertising, more government regulation of the pharmaceutical industry and more "sexual literacy" among Americans is needed, according to Tiefer.

"The whole society is set up to stimulate men who are ready to go on a moment's notice," she said. "Women's sex lives are more profoundly affected by social and interpersonal contexts."

As for Charletta, she eventually discovered she could achieve orgasm, but not after undergoing surgery for the push-botton orgasmatron.

That medical odyssey ended in disappointment: The device failed to give her climactic joy, only a twitch in her left leg.

The following drugs are devices could be up for FDA approval next year: LibiGel; a testosterone gel rubbed into the upper arm daily that is supposed to stimulate sex drive; Bremelanotide, a synthetic peptide injected with a syringe before sex; Flibanserin, an antidepressant to boost libido; and the orgasmatron.

Click here to find screenings of Orgasm, Inc., around the country.

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