In the past few weeks, I've been dedicating myself, as usual, to examining
the world's most critical sexual dilemmas, but all anyone ever says to me
is: "Susie, have you taken another Viagra?"
Well, as I noted in my column about my adventures
after taking the anti-impotence medication, when it comes to designer sex
drugs, on the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia. Actually, I said I'd
rather have a Quaalude, but did anyone dig into their '70s stash and
send me a Quaalude? No. I've had to plow on through my love life
sober as a judge.
Now don't label me as disappointed with Viagra, or as one of those tearful
30 to 50 percent for whom the drug doesn't work. I am not the patient
Viagra was designed for. I have no problem getting clitorally erect --
naturally, it's huge -- and I can maintain my erection and my lubrication
for pretty much as long as I want until I come.
Furthermore, even if I wasn't orgasmic, or had a difficult time becoming
sufficiently aroused, speaking as a woman, vasocongestive impasses are not
typically our problem. Most women with sexual difficulties have trouble
getting aroused in the first place -- the part BEFORE you get the erection.
Women who aren't having orgasms are usually having difficulty with desire,
or to use words many women would cringe at: getting horny.
Any miracle sex drug for women would have to be a Desire Pill, a pill that
would let a woman believe that she can get sweaty and horny with her hair
messed, grinding and screaming at the last -- and still be a paragon of
femininity in afterglow. Women are often afraid of getting carried away by
sex. They worry that if anyone sees them being sexually aggressive or
hungry, their marriage and motherhood eligibility badges will be ripped
from their bosoms. And their fears are not completely unfounded, because
the infamous wife vs. slut double standard has kept the lid on many a
woman's sexual independence.
An all-too-typical American mom wrote to one of the Van Buren sisters
recently -- fans will recognize this one -- saying she would like to
strangle the manufacturers of Viagra for making her wifely duties a living
hell. She explained that in recent years she'd had some relief from the
horrors of intercourse because her husband had been impotent. The only
blemish on her otherwise peaceful life happened when they went to Hawaii to
celebrate their anniversary, and the beauty and thrill of it all made him
want to make love to her a few times during their stay. Can you imagine the
AGONY? But of course, Hawaiian vacations are NOTHING compared to the rigors
brought on by Viagra prescriptions, and she wants the whole world to
know that having to endure sex is the female equivalent of crucifixion.
I am not shocked by her tale, because I know there are plenty of women who
dislike sex. In fact, who among us hasn't disliked sex on some occasions?
But why don't Abby or Ann ever ask why a woman hates sex? Clearly
doing the deed is a painful chore for these readers, not something that
offers any physical pleasure. Yet this is still considered "normal" in many
marriages. That makes me sad. If I were this lady's advice columnist, I
would have sent her a Hitachi magic wand vibrator and a variety of
top-notch fantasy materials via overnight express mail. She -- and her
husband -- need to know that she is as capable and deserving of genuine
erotic pleasure as he is.
Frankly, when the news about Viagra came out, I anticipated this reaction.
The first words I said when I looked up from the headlines, were: "Anna
Nicole Smith." Yes, I knew Viagra might be a dream come true for some
well-to-do gentlemen, but for the young, gorgeous pin-up wives who married
them, the little pill is a nightmare in a bottle.
My understanding of these May/December relationships is that, in return for
all the mink she can slip into and champagne she can bathe in, the
Beautiful Young Thing offers the Rich Old Thing her breasts for petting and
sucking. She may also striptease, lap dance and snuggle suggestively upon
request -- but these are the only sexual services required of her. No wear
and tear on the vagina, no sweat, no sticking her butt in the air. The
notion that their elderly patrons suddenly want to mount them and carry on
like pumped-up Pucks is probably making some of these gals weep into their
I'm not saying that trophy wives are simply turned off by their husbands'
age or looks. It's a fallacious joke on both sides that impotent men are
stricken because their partners are too ugly, or that women avoid sex
because their husbands are puny and old. Of course personal hygiene and
taste are always factors, but let's face it, "beautiful" people and plain
citizens have been getting it on with each other since the dawn of time.
Desire, subversively and blessedly, doesn't always match supermodels with
In fact, supermodels can be as inorgasmic as the rest of the female
population -- and I'd predict even worse because eating disorders really
kill the libido. Few spectators ever look at cover girls and think, "Wow, I
bet she has so many orgasms," because that's never the emphasis with
My advice to Trophy Wives is to either 1) pack up your trophies in the
middle of the night and make your grand escape (to Hawaii perhaps?), or 2)
get thee to a feminist sex
toy shop on the double and join the sex positive girl posse -- you've
got a lot of pleasure to catch up on.
One last note: As far as I can tell, the most common unmentioned side
effect of Viagra is compulsive joke-making. Those of you who eagerly seek
out every erect punch line owe it to yourselves to rigorously examine a
whole book on the subject, Viagra Nation by Lee Eisenberg and Bruce McCall (HarperCollins).