“It’s like a blooming flower, because it starts like a seed and then spreads all over,” explains one woman at film’s beginning.
She talking, of course, about a…
“Orgasm Inc” is a documentary that explores the intersection among Illness, desire, and the ultimate sexual experience (for some) – the Big O.
Begin with pharmaceutical company Vivus, a for-profit outfit newly committed to “getting into the female dysfunction arena,” explains company clinical researcher Darby Stephens. Vivus (Latin for “alive”) was founded with a mission to “put life back into dead penises,” says company founder Virgil Place, whose corporation is dedicated to the seemingly innocuous-sounding goal of “pharmaceuticals for healthy living.” Now, they’ve moved beyond mere male members of the flaccid variety to so-called problems of, um, female floridity.
Filmmaker Liz Canner is after big game here – the corporate creation of “female sexual dysfunction” (or is it truly a real-life problem?), which may have been constructed and classified by Big Pharma to (and this will shock you) sell their “mother’s little helpers” to women who think they might have said FSD disorder.
I know what you’re thinking.
Men fell for this ploy a few years back – and voila, Viagra was born.
But women, of course, are much smarter than men.
But, it is also true that many women (like many men) have sexual lives that are less-than-perfect, for a wide variety of reasons: stress, repressive religious upbringing, broken relationships, sexual abuse, a lack of education about what constitutes actual healthy sex, and more.
The big question is this: can drug companies “medicalize” FSD and then market their cure-alls to a gullible female populace? Early on, they received the federal government’s blessing when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) green-lighted Big Pharma’s research by identifying FSD as an actual medical disorder. Double Cha-ching! With help from a compliant corporate media (Oprah is a conspirator), some medical researchers on the Big Pharma payroll who are wined and dined in Utah ski resorts, and some simplified medical research, suddenly 43% of American women appear to have “some sort of sexual disorder.”
Enter “the Orgasmatron.” I’m not kidding.
There are skeptics in this story, too (thank goodness). Most convincing is British medical journal Lancet writer Roy Moynihan, who walks the audience through the simplified medical “research,” and establishes the “conflict of interest” connections that are rife in the medical/industrial establishment. The film also tags Ronald Reagan as the guy who opened the deregulatory floodgates to commercial carpet-bombing of pharmaceutical products on the Tee Vee, a campaign that exploded in 1997 with direct consumer marketing strategies.
The result? Americans makes up 5% of the world’s population, consume 42% of the world’s prescription drugs, can stomach popular magazines with articles focused on “designer vaginas,” and embrace cosmetic medical procedures like “labia reduction.”
What an Empire, huh?
One thing for sure.
As long as oil remains cheap and people have enough to eat, the “hunt for the pink Viagra” will continue.
In the meantime, perhaps this movie will help shed some light on a vital but difficult-to-discuss topic.