Tuesday March 03, 2015

Sex and the Sisterhood


There was a time when the word "impotent" rarely appeared in psychological literature.  Today, ads for Viagra and erectile dysfunction are everywhere.  Four decades ago, women rallied against pornography. Today, porn can be viewed on a cellphone by 10 year-olds.  Feminist and sexologist, Leonore Tiefer first spoke with IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell in 2007 about our "hypersexual" culture.  In this updated episode, the activist and educator has more insights and a new cause: opposing a Viagra for women.

"Everybody has a sexual problem, how can we not?  We live in a crazy culture where sex education is seen as dirty and must be hidden.  Although we also live amongst hypersexual public representations of sex." -- Lenore Tiefer

Leonore Tiefer thinks the media and the pharmaceutical industry are reshaping the way we think about our bodies, and how we practise sex.  She believes that if men learned how to dance and diaper babies maybe they wouldn't need Viagra.  In her book, Sex is Not a Natural Act and Other Essays, she describes the consequences of living in a hypersexualized culture:  Constant images of sex bombard and numb us.  Drugs help us perform.  Orgasm is something we can count so we become obsessed, losing sight of intimacy, sensuality and pleasure.
Leonore Tiefer first spoke to IDEAS IN 2007 about what she saw as a growing insecurity about our sexual selves, fuelled by performance drugs.   Recently producer Mary O'Connell caught up with the pioneering sexologist and activist.  Today Leonore Tiefer has declared war on pharmasex because the pharmaceutical industry is looking for approval for a "pink Viagra".  

Related websites and further reading:

The New View Campaign

Orgasm Inc - The Strange Science of Female Pleasure

Review of Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals: How Drug Companies Plan to Profit from Female Sexual Dysfunction - Canadian Journal of Communication 

Sexualities in Context: A Social Perspective PDF ebook by Rebecca F. Plante

Wake Up and Smell the Condoms: An Analysis of Sex Education Programs in the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, France, and Germany

Sex Lies And Pharmaceuticals: How Drug Companies Plan to Profit from Female Sexual Dysfunction by Ray Moynihan and Barbara Mintzes, published by Greystone Books, 2010.