Orgasm, Inc.: The Strange Science of Female Pleasure

“There are billions and billions of dollars worth of diseases out there!”

It was a couple decades ago, on the NBC Nightly News that I heard the above quote, one of their occasional pieces on the unendingly rising costs of pharmaceuticals. If only I had a recording of it!

orgasm_incMy ears and brain struggled with the ‘did-I-just-hear-that?!’ question. I cannot think of any better single high-profile representation of the world-view that human disease is to be economically exploited than this enthusiastic pharmaceutical industry spokesperson’s exclamation.

But little did I know that eventually cancer, cardio-vascular disease, the many auto-immune diseases – including the killers – and all the colds and flues were not enough to feed this apparently infinite greed. The vampire-like industry wanted more. Thus began disease creation – if not in the laboratory, definitely in the health profession’s and public’s minds.

Liz Canner’s Orgasm, Inc. introduces us to the one of the latest composed diseases: Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). Canner tells stories of people working hard to create and treat the disease, as well those fighting this dehumanizing and damaging initiative. Hundreds of billions of dollars and the welfare of countless women are at stake in this war between people and the medical-industrial complex.

Aside from Canner herself, the most dramatic hero is Leonore Tiefer, Ph.D., a sex therapist and professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, who’s created an organization to fight the medicalization of sex via her New View Campaign, and has published a book entitled A New View of Women’s Sexual Problems. Tiefer figures prominently in the climatic scene of an FDA advisory panel hearing on a Procter & Gamble application for an FSD treatment.

Canner also covers the emergence of cosmetic female genital mutilation – with the magnificent euphemistic label of ‘vaginal rejuvenation.’ There are over 300 clinics around the world providing this service – and their clients include teenagers.

If you find it hard to subscribe to the idea that 43% of American women have a disease called Female Sexual Dysfunction and are, therefore, in need of medical treatment, and if you want to make a difference, rent or buy Orgasm, Inc. I’m sure you’ll find yourself sharing it with your friends.

Oh, and by the way, if you thought the Orgasmatron was just a figment of Woody Allen’s imagination we experienced in his classic Sleeper, you’ve got another thing comin’.


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