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« Is Salon.com Uncomfortable Talking About Female Sexuality? | Main | Guy Ritchie | Jude Law | Dior Homme | Hot Monogamy Date Play »
Wednesday
Sep152010

Zestra | Media Censors Again Double Standard Female Sexuality

I can be such a dunce. Why would I assume there’s any kind of media network parity when the suject is advertising a female sexual enhancement product vs Viagra, Cialis and other drugs that assist erectile dysfunction and male impotence?

There are moments when I crawl out of my blind alley of ignorance and into enlightenment, reading the NYTimes article For Female-Aphrodisiac Makers, Effort at Parity.

Writing numerous articles about the double standard the governs promoting female sexuality vs male sexuality in the media, why would I assume that Zestra can advertise its medically-proven product for women?

I would call the Zetra media problem an example of a ‘double standard’, if I wasn’t familiar with the Zestra clinical trials, which have been published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.  Having worked on a competitive product to Zestra several years ago, I am well aware that the product works.

Four-Hour Erections Are Fine for Children

The general public, including children, are regularly bombarded with prime-time TV phrases like — in the case of Cialis — see a doctor for an erection lasting more than four hours.  But Zestra, a product focused on female sexuality and female pleasure, is not suitable for TV, radio and most Internet advertising.

From May to December 2009, Ms. Braun Scherl, the president of Semprae Laboratories, which manufactures Zestra, and Mary W. Jaensch, Semprae’s chief executive, shopped a Zestra ad around to about 100 TV stations. With the exception of Soapnet Women’s Entertainment and Discovery Health, many either refused or placed certain parameters on the ads, writes the NYT.

About Zestra

Female Sexual Pleasure Is Not Allowed By Media Censors

Zestra didn’t fare better in placing radio ads, where they were told to remove the words sex and arousal from their the message. Facebook pulled an ad that read “Zestra Essential Arousal Oils — Try Zestra for Free”, saying that Zestra was promoting adult content on Facebook. Representatives of Facebook refused to discuss their decision with Zestra executives.

“Double standards abound when it comes to advertising anything having to do with our private parts,” said Robert J. Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse. “Commercials for erectile dysfunction products, which discuss not only sex but the hydraulic processes involved in having sex have played during major venues like the Super Bowl. They boldly tout male sexual pleasure as a commodity: an erection in a bottle.” via NYTimes

Thompson agrees with Anne of Carversville’s expressed position that the reluctance to allow products like Zestra to be advertised to women is grounded in America’s subliminal, puritanical fear of encouraging female sexuality as a positive force in women’s health and well-being.

Reading the press release that Zestra sent Jezebel this summer, I do agree that they are taking a sexually adventurous marketing position in their promotion of the Hampton Jitney Zestra inserts. Male sexual dysfunction ads are couples-oriented. Zestra’s current marketing strategy is not.

The double standard against Zestra is just another example of the blatant — and possibly unconstitutional — discrimination against women in the selective advertising of sexual products. This double standard also includes ads about tampons and even dating ads for older women and younger men.

The facts of Zestra’s inability to advertise medically-endorsed, placebo-tested products in a media world drenched in commercials for male erectile dysfunction may be the most blatant double standard I’ve encountered.

The question is: now that I’ve crawled out from under the rock, what will I do about this situation. Anne

Anne Is irked with Broadsheet:

Zestra at Salon.com | Women’s Sexual Desire Belongs in Kitchen

More reading:

Grab Your Corsets, Ladies | No Vagina on Network TVs but Erectile Dysfunction Is OK? Turn It Off!

TV Anchor Michael Hill Plugs G-Shot with P-Power

Controlling Women’s Bodies Is a Fight to the Finish

Body Talk | Owning Vulvas, Clits & G-Spots

Reader Comments (6)

I'm so happy you wrote something about this. I read the article yesterday and was blown away that female sexuality is still such a controversial issue! I think the View had a segment on this article today. Check out the forum to discuss the female arousal article.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJane Ackerly

Please correct me if I'm wrong but the comparison between Cialis/Viagra and Zestra is incorrect. Like you state, and is stated elsewhere this is a "female sexual enhancement product".
'A product focused on female sexuality and female pleasure" Cialis/Viagra are focused on nothing of the prior. They are focused on male sexual function..There is a huugge difference here. These drugs are saying, "feel more sexual", "feel more in the mood", nay, they are saying that when you do experience these feelings you will still have the proper physical function that comes along with that. A man who cannot have an erection is man who cannot have sex... Women, fortunately, do not have this problem to such an extent. However, in certain situations, aging, etc sexual function may decrease and things like lubes are available to supplement. We all see lube commercials on TV all the time. That is a fair comparison.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBilly

Hi Billy,

Female sexuality is vastly more complicated than male sexuality. Your question is a good one. Your comment suggests that a woman can have sex easily and without discomfort or pain at any time, because of her sexual anatomy being more the receptacle.

When a woman gets 'in the mood' for sex, she lubricates in her vaginal canal, making it much easier for an erect penis to enter her and for her to enjoy the experience.

Historically, many men haven't cared whether she was lubricated or not. The woman exited to have sex with him, as he wished and for his pleasure, with or without the goal of reproduction. For a woman to enjoy the experience was actually a sign of her moral inferiority.

I worked on a competitive product to Zestra, one that didn't have enough financing to bring the product to market. It also didn't have the double-blind placebo testing that Zestra has undergone. I will learn more about Zestra's ingredients. I have read the research findings in my earlier work. They are posted on the Zestra website.

In the case of the product I worked on, the liquid was sprayed on to the vaginal area. Zestra is dabbed, although they also market a supplement. The ingredients in my product almost immediately blood to the labia and clitoris. Those tissues became very engorged -- swollen -- with blood..

I, too, felt the tingling sensation that Zestra discusses, but there is no doubt that the circulation of oxygen and blood was very active in my vagina and entire sexual anatomy. Not only could I not ignore the sensation, but it filled me with an awareness of being very receptive to having sex. This physical feeling is called 'in the mood' but it's a very physical sensation. I also self-lubricated with my own natural fluids.

I was able to easily duplicate this same effect on my wrist. The minute I sprayed it on my body, the area reddened and blood rushed to that zone, plumping up my skin in a very obvious way.

I will write further on this topic after consulting with the folks at Zestra. But I believe it's very possible that Zestra doesn't act all that different on female anatomy than Cialis, once we don't expect the identical physiological response in both sexes -- which is not what Mother Nature intended.

Not to be crude, but Cialis creates an erect penis, and a product like Zestra makes a woman's love canal more receptive and lubricated to receiving it.

I wasn't thrilled with the Zestra Hampton Jitney PR release verbiage, because I've always believed that Zestra could stand on its own merits as a non-prescription supplement with quantifiable physiological results.

Too many reputable doctors endorse Zestra for it to be a snake oil product. And it's definitely not an adult sex toy as Facebook labeled it. That was very disheartening for me to read as a woman.

My only suggestion to you is that you try to be more sensitive to the fallacious idea that a woman can have sex, even if her vaginal canal is dry and constricted. It's very painful for her under these circumstances, and women understandably avoid sex then.

Your writing is too sensitive for me not to believe this fact matters to you. But we rarely talk about female sexuality, so many men don't understand a woman's own sexual physiological experience, even when then want to be a good lover.

Also, to set the record straight, many men have excellent, penetrative sex without the use of Viagra or Cialis. The big pharma industry and American culture have convinced us that a man must have a very strong erection, but many men make good, penetrative love for both parties without erections as firm as they are other times, and for a wide variety of reasons.

Thanks again for your question, Billy. Best, Anne

September 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterAnne

I agree with your points, but I don't think in anyways my comment suggest that a female is always functioning to have sex. thats why I made an example of lubes. Lubes are primarily intended for women, the majority of them are marketed as "her pleasure". Feeling tingly pleasurable feelings are great!(no harm done), but being frank here, its not correcting a dysfunction. Its not a female version of Cialis, from a crude understanding (reading your example), its like a lube with added bonuses of increases blood flow to sensitive areas.

Just would like to note, coming from a male perspective that unlubricated sex may not be as uncomfortable for a man as women, but it is very, very uncomfortable for men. (chaffing, ouch I think any guy can speak from experience and say this extremely unpleasant and men, even if for selfish reason, will very much want to ensure proper lubrication *im talking about this day and age). Also would like to note, Viagra/Cialis are many for men to have erections not to make them harder, at least this what is its marketed for. Finally, I'm going to have to add while many men may have great sex with non fully erect penis, most men don't. Sex with a flaccid penis, while it might feel more or less okay to the woman it isn't the case with men. First off, sensation is markedly decrease, (as there is much less blood, add a condom and you feel almost nothing ), and secondly this often times allows for positions that feel very uncomfortable for men.

Reading your comment and looking at mine I guess I would say I notice something interesting. For the most part, men may not take into consideration women's sexuality , or the complexity of it into account, women at the same time simplify men sexuality greatly. The penis isn't some magic stick that feels good all the time, no matter the situation. Having great sex with a somewhat flaccid penis is very, very hard (the irony) and often very uncomfortable. Also, since it is common practice to wear comdoms now(hopefully), I think women also need to be sensitive to how much that decreases sensation. Its literally wrapping up all your remaining (*circumcision removes about 50%) nerves in rubber. I've heard many of my friends complain that with certain condoms, they can feel almost nothing and I've had this experience myself. This can be alleviated with better condoms, and communication with your partner. So I guess I can sum this up and say both parties have a greater responsibility to each other than is taking place now.

Thanks for the response.

Billy

September 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBilly

I do not want to have sex with Billy.

October 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Arkham

So, female sexuality is an issue here. Well, just as long as a couple is happy being together, that is great. There's no other thing that will matter.

Aaron Kemmer

Exercising The Penis

February 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Kemmer

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