Do Women Have the Right to Sexual Desire?

Viagra ad features a woman peddling erectile dysfunction medication.

Do Women Have the Right to Sexual Desire?
Do Women Have the Right to Sexual Desire?

Following the debut of a first-of-its-kind Viagra ad featuring a woman peddling erectile dysfunction medication, a coalition of national women’s health and advocacy organizations released a parody of the ad highlighting its absurdity from the perspective of the 1-in-10 women who suffer from the most common form of female sexual dysfunction but have zero FDA-approved medical treatment options for their condition.

The parody video from the Even the Score coalition, titled #WomenDeserve Better, pokes fun at the new Viagra ad in which a beautiful woman with a sexy British accent oozes sympathy and encouragement for men experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED), assuring them that “plenty of guys have this issue – of not just getting an erection, but keeping it” and urging them to ask their doctors about Viagra if “ED is stopping what you started.”

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In the Even the Score parody, the woman gamely begins her recitation of why men should explore their options for ED medical treatments, but just can’t swallow the hypocrisy – breaking from character (and her fake accent) to ask viewers: “Are we really so far behind that we don’t think women have the right to sexual desire?”

Sexual Desire

This new Viagra ad comes as men currently have 26 approved medical options marketed for the treatment of sexual dysfunction – including eight indicated for erectile dysfunction alone – while women have zero for their most common complaint, known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), or distressing low sexual desire.

“So now women are being trotted out to convince men it’s okay for them to take advantage of medical treatment options for sexual dysfunction while those same women have zero options of their own. This would be laughable if it wasn’t such an indictment of the ridiculous gender inequity that exists when it comes to sexual health,” said Susan Scanlan, Chair of Even the Score and Chair emerita of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

Even the Score’s new parody video debuts less than two weeks before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) holds a landmark public workshop on female sexual dysfunction on Oct. 27.

The meeting will represent a historic moment in the fight for gender equity in sexual health where patients, patient advocates, health care providers and sexual health experts will discuss the issue and the need for medical treatment options for women.

Even the Score: A Campaign for Women’s Sexual Health Equity was launched earlier this year by a diverse group of women’s health and research organizations following the FDA’s approval of the 26th drug marketed to treat male sexual dysfunction, without a single treatment option available for women’s most common sexual complaint.

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Rakesh Raman