Thursday, June 17, 2010

I resent these remarks

image RavenScholar from ravenscholar.blogspot.com is a fairly new blogger on the Internet. She (re-)discovered feminism and comics at about the same time she started blogging, and has great fun writing about both. She has lots to say, lots of artwork to show, and likes hearing other's opinions.

Who has heard of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder? It affects millions of women around the globe, mostly from raising children, having careers, cleaning, cooking, working, and "several other things".


I shall assume these several other things involve everyday activities.

Mostly, the only discernible cause of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder that I can find is living. Seeing as how this affects women of "any age, race, or overall health", and is a "serious and damaging condition"; I can only conclude that there is something wrong with you if you don't feel the need to have sex with someone.

Especially given the existence of asexual people.



I take great offense to this, myself identifying as asexual. I resent being told something is wrong with me when I lead a perfectly healthy life with just friends and family. I have never had a boyfriend, girlfriend, or any other sort of partner you care to imagine. This has not affected me adversely in any way. In fact, I consider myself to live a rather better life than my peers. They are always having problems upon problems about dating and sex and emotional attachment. I do not.

Let's take a look at the definition of an asexual person as given by The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network:
"An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or any better, we just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently."

I would especially note the sections on arousal and attraction:
"Attraction: Many asexual people experience attraction, but we feel no need to act out that attraction sexually. Instead we feel a desire to get to know someone, to get close to them in whatever way works best for us. Asexual people who experience attraction will often be attracted to a particular gender, and will identify as lesbian, gay, bi, or straight.

Arousal: For some sexual arousal is a fairly regular occurrence, though it is not associated with a desire to find a sexual partner or partners. Some will occasionally masturbate, but feel no desire for partnered sexuality. Other asexual people experience little or no arousal. Because we don’t care about sex, asexual people generally do not see a lack of sexual arousal as a problem to be corrected, and focus their energy on enjoying other types of arousal and pleasure."

I find it especially telling that it specifically says that "people do not need sexual arousal to be healthy" right after that.

So, therefore, this posited Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder is either a) idiocy or b) a ploy for pharmaceutical companies to make money. I would choose c) both.
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I find this whole idea offensive in other ways, as well. It again confirms society's fixation with sexuality (specifically female) and the still-lurking assumption that women should have sex, no matter what their body tells them. The fact of life is that it is much easier for a woman to not be interested in sex than it is for a man. Things like working and holding a job take up energy, energy that may have been used for sex but most likely would have gone toward things like organizing the house in activities like cleaning and cooking after work. Women's sexuality works differently from a man's, as well. For men, it takes only about three minutes before coital acts to become sufficiently aroused to reach orgasm; for women, the period is something in the order of a full twenty-four hours. The system is much more complex. Various emotional states need to met and certain neurochemicals, like oxycontin and serotonin, need to be released. With women who are taking care of children, especially babies and toddlers, these neurochemical and emotional needs may already have been satisfied by basic biological prompting. This, along with general exhaustion, explains why many new mothers feel no desire for sex of any kind.


Aside from difference in the system of sexuality, there is an underlying societal idea here too. Women are to have sex. That is what they are there for. This does not even address, of course, the double standard towards sex for the genders. With that note, I would like to address the fallacy that is "Low T".

One, just come out and say that it is low levels of testosterone. Two, admit that this is a natural thing in older men known as andropause, more popularly male menopause. Testosterone levels drop and estrogen goes up. Older men are more likely to enjoy cuddling, hugging, and intimate touch at this point in their lives. The sex drive decreases. This is naturally, yet these commercials that I see popping up all over the place seem to try and bill it as a life crisis. The website does concede the point that levels naturally rise and fall over the course of a man's life, but do the commercials say anything of this? No. How many people really look at the medical commercial's websites and how many just take the marketing ploys at face value?
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I protest at both these so-called conditions. How many people already have socialized issues with their sexuality? How many people now, after seeing the advertisements for this, feel even worse about themselves and will suggest to their doctor that they begin taking unnecessary medication? How many doctors will prescribe unnecessary medication because the pharmaceutical companies pay them to get business?


How many people will develop actual problems from this idiocy, and how many people will never bother to try and take control of their sexuality and own their bodies because their "problems" can be medicated away?