There Might Be a Pill For That
Half a century ago, the birth-control pill offered women the ability to switch off ovulation, to separate sex from reproduction. It played a part, as the ’60s got under way, in propelling a host of profound changes, cultural as well as reproductive, societal as well as intimate — in how women saw themselves and lived their lives, starting with the notion of women being above all baby makers and mothers. The promise of Lybrido and of a similar medication called Lybridos, which Tuiten also has in trials, or of whatever chemical finally wins the race for F.D.A. approval, is that it will be possible to take a next step, to give women the power to switch on lust, to free desire from the obstacles that get in its way. “Female Viagra” is the way drugs like Lybrido and Lybridos tend to be discussed. But this is a misconception. Viagra meddles with the arteries; it causes physical shifts that allow the penis to rise. A female-desire drug would be something else. It would adjust the primal and executive regions of the brain. It would reach into the psyche.
This week’s NYT Magazine cover story is about a new pill called “Lybrido.”