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Not all developments are advances

Flibanserin. Write that down, ladies – … ‘FLIB … AN … SER … IN’.

Apparently, when you’re in Tesco’s tomorrow morning after dropping the kids off at school and firing up your first wash of the day, make sure you pop by at the pharmacy counter and pick up a set of four boxes of these dull blue tablets on your way to the check-out counter with your weekly mountain of £200’s worth of groceries.

Media reports at the back end of last week would have it that scientists have unlocked the last breakthrough door to lasting couple-relationship happiness – viz. the ‘much longed-for’ supposed ‘female Viagra’.

Apparently, popping a couple of these babies into your mouth about twenty-five minutes before ‘Him Indoors’ gets home from his 90-minute commute, drops his briefcase by the front door, unthreads his tie and flings it (together with his suit jacket) in the direction of the ‘sit-upon’ chair by the drawing room door, staggers towards the drinks cabinet, pours himself a double shot of Glenlivet XXV immediately sinking one of them, complains with four-letter adjectives about the crush on the train and the incessant smartphone conversations he was obliged to listen to one half of, announces that he cannot wait for October 17th (the day he finally retires from his architectural practice), kicks out at the dog and launches himself backwards onto the sofa, becoming semi-comatose before his spine hits the arm-rest … will render you dripping with desire, unable to stop yourself sprinting towards him, ripping your track suit bottoms, blouse and sports bra from your body as you simultaneously launch yourself in a graceful arc onto his semi-lifeless frame and initiate a two-hour session of torrid rogering the like of which both of you last indulged in when you sneaked off into the bushes in the middle of a three-hour marquee-housed cocktail party being held in the grounds of Tittinghurst Manor in Buckinghamshire (albeit not with each other).

No, chaps – it’s just not going to happen.

The media, particularly the gossip end of the market, has a vested interest in promoting images of bad behaviour, nakedness (intentional and otherwise), innumerable fashion faux-pas and the notion that sex in all its manifestations is the be-all and end-all of human existence. It’s a fantasy dream world that it’s sometimes fun to dip into, but it’s not the real world – and certain not the one that I inhabit.

Ever since Viagra hit the public consciousness in 1998, scientists and peddlers of media gossip have had a lot to answer for.

Life has a natural cycle to it – babyhood, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, maturity, family settling down, parenthood, post-parenthood, retirement and sea cruises … all leading to dementia, incontinence and the old folks’ home.

As our bits get slacker, wobblier and begin to fall off and we grow hair in unusual places, there’s a natural descent in sexual desire and performance. That’s nothing to be ashamed of – it’s all part of life’s rich tapestry.

The idea that men … men, whose carry what tiny brains they have (if any) in their nether regions … should be given access to a pill that gives them back the sexual performance that they enjoyed twenty, thirty, forty years previously is fundamentally flawed. For a start, going back to that old myth that the average male of the species thinks of sex once every seven seconds throughout his waking hours, it’s yet another example of the world being skewed towards what suits men. Contrary to the public wishful-thinking propaganda, Viagra – the pill that encourages blog flow to the penis, thereby neutralising or counter-acting erectile dysfunction – does precisely nothing for the advancement of women.

Let’s be honest about it, and I’m someone who’s happy to admit I’ve been around the sexual freedom block a few times ever since the 1970s [and have both the scars and the diaries to show for it – I’m banking on the fact the latter will potentially bring down a few political and celebrity reputations and give me a very healthy pension indeed should they ever get offered for publication] – once she’s got past the ‘growing up’ phase of life, the average women doesn’t spend her days thinking of nothing but rumpy-pumpy. She’s got far too many other, more important, multi-tasking, things to be concerning herself with.

Yes, the occasional fantasy of a Shirley Valentine holiday romance or Lady Chatterley bonk-fest apart, we’re mostly content to accept a declining interest in sex. Well, not exactly a declining interest in sex, more the willingness or determination to physically act upon it. Sex is a part of human existence … a valuable, delightful, energising, life-affirming part of it … but not its main purpose. I don’t want my desire for wanton sex back. Well, certainly not if it has to be artificially induced by a pill.

Can you imagine the naffness of a couple well past the first flush of youth approaching each other with intent in a bedroom somewhere close to a Mediterranean beach – him pumped full of Viagra, she of Flibanserin – and having sexual congress of sorts before going down to a dinner consisting of scampi and chips plus two bottles of house red in a local seafront restaurant? Especially since when, without such artificial stimulants, neither of them would have had the slightest interest in said activity?

Neither can I …


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About Jane Shillingford

Jane spent the bulk of her career working on women’s magazines. Now retired and living on the south coast, she has no regrets and 'would do it all again'. More Posts