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Orgasm, Inc. and Other Sexy-Time Issues 

I just got off the phone with documentarian and Dartmouth College "Visionary-in-Residence" Liz Canner, with whom I was speaking about her provocative new flick called "Orgasm, Inc: The Strange Science of Female Pleasure." If I can get my mind out of the gutter long enough, I intend to write about her film for Seven Days.  

Now generally, I'd have to snark a bit about yet another media offering called "Such and Such, Inc.," but in Canner's case, the title is appropriate. Her movie is essentially a multiyear study on Big Pharma's attempts to create a female sexual problem so that they can invent and market a drug to fix it.

Basically, drug companies are trying to medicalize orgasm issues to make heaps of cash off of women who, uh, can't get it up?Interesting, because I'm pretty sure if I can't haul my ass to O-town, it's not because my lady bits aren't working right. It's more like I'm thinking about the dirty dishes in the sink, or the piece I have to finish writing, or the fact that there are cobwebs strung from the ceiling like streamers. Being distracted is different than having a syndrome, a condition or a disease. But enough about me.

Anyway, this Canner character was pretty darn interesting. She's spent most of her filmmaking career documenting genocide and torture and other human rights abuses. You know, light and fluffy stuff. She said it all got to be too much and wanted to make films about fun stuff. So why not make a movie about the ultimate pleasure? I won't give up her whole story now — you can read all about it in the August 19 issue of 7D. But what I can tell you about are all the little nuggets of our convo that had my colleagues here in the hallowed writers' room giggling and getting all red-faced.

• There is such a thing called "G-spot amplification." Women get it, presumably to make their secret spot less secret. A doctor (one who is probably not in good standing with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which rejects this "treatment") shoots up your little lady sponge with some collagen harvested from some John Doe's calf muscle. Apparently this will help cure your "normal sexual dysfunction." Um, if you're not functioning sexually, how is that normal?

• In Alabama, it is illegal to sell sex toys. Guess who's not moving to Alabama anytime soon? Me. OK, so this revelation blew my mind. You can buy all the semi-automatic weapons you want in Alabama, but you can't by a dildo? What sense does that make? In a 1998 case, Williams v. Alabama, a woman named Sherri Williams, who sold "sexual devices," sued the state of Alabama because the state "prohibited the distribution of any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs." The Supreme Court of the U.S. refused to hear the case in 2007, and as a result, 'bamans looking for a Rabbit or a Hitachi Wand will have to go outside the state. What the law was really saying was this: Ladies, why stick a vibrating piece of silicon up your cooter when you've got real, live man meat all around you. Right.

• Apparently there's a new female problem called "Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder," formerly known as PMS. Some of the symptoms of this "disorder" are mood swings, anxiety, depression, fatigue, back aches, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, etc. — basically, your garden variety monthly pain in the ass. But because it's now a real disease, the pharmaceutical companies can sell you a drug that fixes it. Canner says that when the patent was about to expire on Prozac, the drug's  manufacturer, Eli Lilly, rushed around to find another use for it. Apparently you can keep the patent if you find that the drug is useful to treat another issue. So Lilly came up with PMDD — extreme PMS — which can be treated by Prozac, rebranded as Sarafem. Thanks, Big Pharma!

We also talked about cosmetic labia surgery and the Eros CTD — the first prescription vibrator. It's billed as a "female sexual therapy device." I thought that was called your forefinger. Anyway, I learned a few other tidbits from Canner, which I'll save for the story. Stay tuned. 

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Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober

Bio:
Lauren Ober was a Seven Days staff writer from 2009-2011.

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