Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interview: Sexual Dysfunction and Asexuality

How do you distinguish between people who have sexual dysfunctions, and people who, by orientation, don't experience sexual attraction?  As each of these two groups asserts their own existence, do they need to deny the existence of the other group?

Back in June, there was a lot of discussion about Flibanserin, a proposed drug meant to treat women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder.  Critics complained that the drug was marginally effective, and that the subsequent marketing campaign would generate unreasonable distress among women about low desire.  However, there are also people who might want the drug--are we marginalizing them?  (Flibanserin was eventually rejected by the FDA.)

On this topic, there is an interview on Shades of Gray with someone who has Female Sexual Dysfunction, and blogs about it from a feminist perspective.  Go read it if you're interested.

I consider this to be an... er... advanced topic in feminism and queerness, but you can handle that, right?  I'm drawing attention to the interview because I was one of the ones who pushed for it (I even wrote some of the questions).

4 comments:

The Barefoot Bum said...

I am not a physician but... wait a minute... I'm not a physician, nor am I at all unhappy with my own sexuality: I'm simply not qualified to even have an opinion on this matter.

If I had a friend who came to me for advice, I would ask: Are you yourself unhappy with your own body and the way it's functioning? If so, see a physician or someone with the appropriate clinical training. If not, and it's not likely to cause you unhappiness or death in the future, don't worry about it, and especially don't worry it.

And especially don't worry about what other people think of you. It's a well known fact that "other people" as a class (present company of course excepted) are complete idiots.

It's not rocket science and it works for just about everything.

The Barefoot Bum said...

Also, if I were giving advice to a friend, I would say (or hope to have it understood), "If you are completely happy with your body and how its functioning, or if you're unhappy with your body and how its functioning, either way I'm your friend and I'll support you 100%."

miller said...

That's a pretty good response. However, there are additional complications that maybe you don't need to think about too much as the supportive friend, but could be there in your friend's mind.

In brief, people can be unhappy about their orientation, and it doesn't necessarily have to do with how society treats them. People can have conflicts of desire that are entirely internal.

We here agree that if a desire for same-sex relationships conflicts with a desire to be accepted by society, we should prioritize the former. But why do we think so? And can we generalize this reasoning to other conflicts of desire that have nothing to do with society?

The Barefoot Bum said...

However, there are additional complications that maybe you don't need to think about too much as the supportive friend, but could be there in your friend's mind.

Indeed, and those complications require either personal experience or scientific expertise, neither of which I have.

People can have conflicts of desire that are entirely internal.

I've never been able to understand this, which is, of course, my problem, not anyone else's. Still: I've never had any internal conflicts of desire, at least none that last longer than the 30 seconds it takes me to commit to one or the other.

We here agree that if a desire for same-sex relationships conflicts with a desire to be accepted by society, we should prioritize the former. But why do we think so? And can we generalize this reasoning to other conflicts of desire that have nothing to do with society?

Again, entirely beyond my competence. I've never been "accepted by society" (or at least I've never felt I've been accepted); I don't really understand why I'm not accepted (or why I feel that I'm not), so I just stopped worrying about it.