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Orgasm Inc.: Attacking Big Pharma With Little More Than Sex-Positive Platitudes

Orgasm Inc. outlines the pharmaceutical-industry-sponsored classification, diagnosis, and marketing of FSD—“Female Sexual Dysfunction”—as a disease suffered by “43 percent of women,” and the subsequent race for a lucrative cure. Innovations detailed include the Orgasmatron, a jerry-built spinal-implant doohickey, testosterone patches, and the clinical trials of a cream developed by Vivus, whose offices director Liz Canner infiltrates. Doing the on-camera investigator-narrator thing, Canner sticks to the established formula of strained-gonzo muckraking, including stock-footage asides and devastatingly unfunny animations. There’s plenty of inherent absurdity in the marketing-speak from Vivus (“. . . working closely [with physicians] to develop this disease entity . . .”) and the tests applied at the headquarters of a Chicago-based FSD clinic (“You’ll be wearing these 3-D glasses, you’ll be watching an erotic video. . . .”). Instead of giving the snake oil salesmen (and -women) enough rope, though, Canner smothers irony with condescending indignation. Too scattered in its arguments and piecemeal in its sources to weave together a convincing institutional condemnation—and the one FDA advisory panel we see does its work quite well, thank you—Orgasm Inc. attacks Big Pharma with little more than sex-positive platitudes, funky-mama coffee-shop strumming, and the usual “We as a society . . .” and “Our culture has made . . .” conclusions.


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