In Search of Female Orgasms


Above is the trailer for Orgasm Inc., a new documentary about pharmaceutical makers' attempt to create the female Viagra. Tracy Quan reviews the piece for AOL:

"Orgasm Inc" argues that FSD [female sexual dysfunction] was invented by drug companies to sell new products, and that lack of desire among womankind isn't truly a modern disease. It's actually a symptom of multiple factors that can't be cured by popping a one-size-fits-all pill.

Another trend examined in the documentary: labioplasty, or cosmetic surgery to reduce the vaginal lips. Canner, for one, sees this as America's version of FGM. But wait—I'm not quite sure about this. When older American men get penile implants in order to have intercourse, we don't see them as victims. How are they different from American women who indulge in labioplasty?…

When [the director] visits Carol Queen, curator of an antique vibrator collection, we learn about a now-forgotten Victorian ailment called "hysteria" and how it was routinely "cured." Well-to-do women would visit their doctors to get therapeutically massaged—guess where—by a vibrator. Like men who visit other kinds of professionals, these women had their needs met for a fee, and returned to their normal lives, smiling and relaxed. (Think about that next time you call someone a hysteric.)

Whole review here. The films sounds like an interesting meditation on the social construction of illness or "dysfunction" but also a survey of new technologies that, all jokes aside, are letting people exercise more control over their bodies.

Reason interviewed Quan, a writer and former prostitute, back in 2005.

I reviewed Angus McLaren's Impotence: A Cultural History for the New York Post in 2007.