Orgasm Inc. | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Orgasm Inc.

A doc looks at how female sexuality is being medicalized for potential profits

Nearly a decade ago, filmmaker Liz Canner took a job editing erotic videos for a company hoping to develop a "female Viagra." (The finished reel was to be used to test response in drug trials.) What Canner discovers is the emergence of a new "disease," dubbed Female Sexual Disorder (FSD), the definition of which is broad enough to include every experience that isn't movie-magic perfect. Not surprisingly, FSD is touted by doctors and media personalties with ties to the pharmaceutical biz. Because what could be more profitable than creating a new vague disorder that can be easily treated with expensive medication? In her low-budget doc, Canner takes her camera to various companies trying to win FDA approval for everything from pills to bizarre electrical devices implanted near the spine. Most of the information from these "experts" seems aimed at making women feel abnormal or deformed so they can be cured -- a logical extension of the "wellness and beauty" industry. (One saleswoman, pitching cosmetic vaginal surgery, virtually melts from shame, once pressed by Canner on whether the procedure constitutes genital mutilation.) Canner also interviews outraged doctors and researchers who decry FSD as scientifically and ethically wrong, a "disorder" whose chief aim seems to be reaping huge financial windfalls. Starts Fri., March 11, through Sun., March 13. Melwood

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By Mars Johnson