Debra J. Saunders

I half-agree with Caplan, except it's difficult to feel really OK about a sex pill when TV already is busting with ads for little pills that promise to alleviate life's problems -- anxiety, shyness. The message behind these messages is that we shouldn't experience anxiety, negative emotions or the effects of aging.

Which means that people are less likely to deal with what lies at the root of what they are (or aren't) feeling. Too much stress? Too little enjoyment? On TV, Avlimil women confess that the pressures of life have sapped their libido. So, should they pop a pill or try to balance their lives in a way that makes them more sensual? They don't listen to their bodies. Their husbands don't bring them flowers and take them on a romantic getaway. They have no medical problem, yet they take a pill.

Who cannot but think of soma, the drug that dulled minds in Aldous Huxley's seminal novel, "Brave New World"? San Francisco Chronicle researcher Johnny Miller found me this quote from the 1932 book about the soma life: "Work, play -- at 60 our powers and tastes are what they were at 17. Old men in the bad old days used to renounce, retire, take to religion, spend their time reading, thinking -- thinking!"

Readers and thinkers -- they used to be life's champions. That was before the little blue pill.

Debra J. Saunders

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