What is the pharma industry’s pursuit of blockbuster drugs like Viagra doing to our understanding of sex and sexuality?

According to this group based in New York, called the New View Campaign, the medicalisation of sex is creating “distorted and oversimplified” messages about sexuality in order to sell drugs.

The group says: “The pharmaceutical industry wants people to think that sexual problems are simple medical matters, and it offers drugs as expensive magic fixes. But sexual problems are complicated, sexuality is diverse, and no drug is without side effects.”

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A North American network of physicians, clinicians and health organisations, operating with the catchy motto, “sex for our pleasure or their profit?”, the campaign aims to expose biased research and promotions that serve corporate agendas rather than the public’s wellbeing.

It says: “The Campaign challenges all views that reduce sexual experience to genital biology and thereby ignore the many dimensions of real life.”

This group has been around for several years but I’ve only just learnt of them, thanks to a pointer from the University of Sydney’s Becky Freeman.

Their campaign remains timely, however, given the hunt for a “female Viagra”, which you can read more about in this recent column from the Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail.

And here is a talk by an American psychiatrist involved in the campaign, who unpicks the Viagra “revolution” and efforts to make “sex more like digestion than dancing”:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8aw45aSArg&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]