A phenomenological defense of sexual pharmakotherapy
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
v, 65 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Women's and Gender Studies
In August 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved flibanserin, a serotonin modulator, to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Then, in November 2016, they approved prasterone, an intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone suppository to treat pain upon intercourse. Utilizing different mechanisms of biochemically altering the body, these drugs are pharmaceutical attempts to improve the distress experienced by women lacking sexual desire. The pharmaceuticalization of feminine sexuality, then, is not inherently problematic. Rather, it is a biochemical attempt to change the relations among bodies, worlds, and desires. Admittedly, pharmaceutical approaches to women's sexuality have typically been reductionist, but a phenomenological deployment of pharmaceutical data need not proceed this way. Utilizing sociological studies of women's experiences of their sexuality and pharmacokinetic data, this paper seeks to lay the groundwork for a pharmakological phenomenology that recognizes the ambiguous biochemical changes induced by pharmaceuticals as having as much import for our lived experiences as the external world.