It’s no secret that the pharmaceutical companies are cash-laden, corrupt entities but it’s still sobering to see them in action in Elizabeth Canner’s documentary Orgasm Inc.. After the phenomenal success of Viagra, it was a cinch that what was good for the goose should be good for the gander. And, suddenly, a new disorder was discovered. Women who had unrealistic expectations about orgasming via vaginal intercourse or who maybe weren’t even always in the mood weren’t just “normal,” they were suffering from FSD – Female Sexual Dysfunction, a disease defined by the drug companies.
Canner was given a gift. She was brought in by the company Vivus to document their quest for a “Viagra for women.” Their product, Alista, was one of several being developed. Canner demonstrates the “race for the cure” via a clever visual metaphor of several anthropomorphic products running across an expansive bed, trying to reach the goal of FDA approval.
Along the way, Canner demonstrates the fallacy of FSD by looking into the way questionnaires are manipulated to provide the answers that make 43% of women seem abnormal while ignoring the hard facts that women exposed either product or placebo both responded favorably to pornography! Canner also features a brief history of female sexual stimulation (a la Passion & Power: The Technology of Orgasm) and interviews with several sex therapists including shyster Laura Berman who’s been on Pfizer’s payroll doling out Viagra to women despite the FDA’s discouragement. There’s also discussion of female sexual plastic surgery which could be a documentary unto itself.
In all, Canner brings to light a shameful scenario in which a cadre of drug companies works hard and spends untold millions of dollars, banking of a huge payday for a disorder that doesn’t exist. Imagine if this same time, effort, and funds were spent on a real disease! Alas, that just isn’t as lucrative or as sexy.