Diane Von Furstenberg: Viagra is ‘the worst thing to happen’ to women in 15 years


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Diane Von Furstenberg is 71 years old. She’s packed a lot of life into those years, from her marriage to a prince to her It Girl Studio 54 days to her successful worldwide fashion business and more. She’s currently married to her second husband, Barry Diller. They’ve been married since 2001 and he’s 76 years old. And brace yourself, because you’re about to know a lot more about Barry and Diane’s sex life than you probably wanted to know. In a new interview with The Times UK, DVF spoke about how Viagra is the worst thing to happen to women in the past two decades. She makes an interesting point. Some highlights:

On Viagra: “[It is the] worst thing that has happened to women in the last 15 years. For men, it used to be all about getting it up. ‘Did I?’ ‘Can I?’ There was a certain fairness.’ A woman couldn’t have a child after 40, right? Though even that doesn’t exist any more. But the man could have a child until 65, but sexually after a while…Now, with Viagra…they just feel…I think Viagra is the worst thing.”

She always worked, even when she during her first marriage: “Your first independence is your financial independence. That is why I tell every woman that they should absolutely work and have an identity outside the home. Otherwise it is terrible.” While she said her first husband was “extremely supportive about me working as an idea,” she suggested this fizzled as she became more successful.

On her second husband, Barry Diller: “We have an amazing relationship. I have known him for 44 years. He was my lover, then my friend, then my husband. Barry loves me to be successful. But…I have always talked about the idea of a woman in charge. So for International Women’s Day I printed some T-shirts that said ‘Woman in charge’. And he doesn’t like it when I wear that T-shirt. Which is weird, because it’s not at all him.”

But she & Diller live in separate apartments when they’re in NYC: “I like it. Even in LA I often use the guest room because he sleeps with two dogs inside the bed.”

[From The Times via E! News]

First of all, I love her message about financial independence. I hope more girls learn that at a young age: financial independence is necessary. Even if you’re in love, even if you know that you’re going to be with your guy forever, even if he says he’ll always take care of you, you still need to be financially independent in some way. Have a job, have a nest egg or an emergency fund that he doesn’t have access to, something, anything.

As for what she says about Viagra… I see her point, but I thought she would go in a different direction. I thought the argument would be, “I miss the time when men got to a certain age and we didn’t have to bother with sex.” Instead, she’s making it about actual reproduction.

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43 Responses to “Diane Von Furstenberg: Viagra is ‘the worst thing to happen’ to women in 15 years”

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  1. Shelly says:

    Some more truth would provide better context. As I recalled, Barry Diller is/was openly bi, at least in one article/excerpt from a book DVF wrote. Might not just be dogs in his beds. I agree with the financial indepence but I’ve seen so many women after acheieving it concede it to their partner upon marriage only to find themselves back to square one when they divorce etc.

  2. Betsy says:

    I have heard of older women who really hate Viagra, too, that sex wasn’t a thing that they loved (hey, some of those cultural messages are hard to undo!) and it’s not like Viagra fixed the deficits of the lover. And with the additional dryness and thinning of the walls that menopause can bring and the fact that men take longer as they get older, nope. It doesn’t sound like fun to me, either.

    (And this is not a diss on older folks as I know many people keep intercourse as an important part of their lives and different kinds of sexuality when they can no longer have intercourse. And some people let it ebb away. I’m not judging.)

    • Giddy says:

      One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons showed a little old white haired man coming in the back door exclaiming excitedly “Honey! I got it! The doctor gave me a prescription for Viagra!”
      His elderly, little wife is in the living room…calmly aiming the shotgun at the kitchen door.

    • Natalia says:

      @Betsy #3 above:
      Absolutely true and it sucks. Thanks for writing that. People need to know what they’re facing. They almost always think when they’re young that it’s never going to happen to them, but it just does. It’s the reality. The only thing that can change it is chemicals, meds, luck, genes, whatever.

      I dated a guy over 70 Who was fit and attractive. He played golf, tennis, exercised… he could not keep it up to save his life even with 2 Viagra or Cialis. Like the majority of men over 60, he had prostate problems. He kept blaming it on me so in light of other things about his personality that were off putting including that he was not good in bed I stopped seeing him. Like I said he was otherwise a fit attractive man over 70.

      I say no thanks to Cialis or Viagra unless both partners are healthy and able to perform and enjoy it. Otherwise forget it. DVF has it correct for the most part.

    • Drea says:

      I feel like what she’s trying to say (it’s kind of obvious that she doesn’t want to be out with it, with the trailing off and all, but maybe it’s just the way I’m reading it) is that Viagra has given older men their entitlement to sex back. That, coupled with their aged likely views of women’s sexual subservience, is not a good combination, and I can imagine why older women hate it. They, like most women, want passion and intimacy, and not to be used as a hole.

    • Myrtle says:

      Unfortunately for their female partners, too many men spend their entire lives believing sex is all about their hard on. The truth is, great lovemaking is not penis-centric, and Viagra won’t make you a better lover if you never had a clue in the first place. I tell guys: watch season one of The L-Word, then get back to me.

  3. Jordana says:

    I agree with DVF , every woman has to have the ability to support herself. I’ve seen too many woman finding themselves divorced or suddenly widowed, and not understanding basics like where the household bills are and how to pay them.
    Also, I’ve seen this crazy blog post popping up in my news feed, after reading it, and reading comments of her followers and supporters, I was shocked that anyone could agree with this. https://thetransformedwife.com
    ” be a tattoo free debt free virgin ”
    DVF’s comments and advice make sense!

    • Sherry says:

      I saw that post on Facebook and read it. This is how the Duggar family operates and all of those crazy people who follow those beliefs. These are the women who would support Gilead (ala The Handmaid’s Tale). No thanks.

    • Dazeem, Adele says:

      Oh my god. I just followed your link to that blog post. Are we sure this is not a joke????? What the f ing f%ck. That scares me more than Putin!?

      • Jordana says:

        I thought it was a parody site too! Sadly it is not. The blogger actually published a book based on her crazy blog posts. It’s scary that she actually writes these ideas. Even scarier that commenters on the blog thank her and post their agreement.
        I assume she watches The Handmaid’s Tale and thinks to herself ‘well most of this is really very good’.

    • Medusa says:

      What I don’t understand is isn’t this woman breaking her number one rule by writing this crap? She should mind her home and children or make more children to mind instead of committing stupidity to print. That’s a man’s job!

      Anyway, if she wants to be completely dependent on her husband then that’s her choice. If he dies or leaves her than the consequences are on her. I will be over here getting paid and spending my hard earned cash on shoes.

  4. Darla says:

    This seems as good a place as any to announce – I’ve finally been able to orgasm again, almost two years since my total hysterectomy! I remember asking women here about it, and they all told me it would be fine. It finally is.

    Having recently gotten back my enjoyment of sex, and my sex drive, I don’t know when it will dry up, and hope it’s not for a long time.

    • Embee says:

      Congrats I am happy for you!!!

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Hooray!! As to “when it will dry up”- if you are speaking literally, my gyno NP says, use it or lose it! Stimulation is what keeps the walls pliable and lubricated. FTR, I’m in my early 50s, and she isn’t wrong.

    • Beth says:

      I didn’t have my first until I was 38. I wish I had figured out how years ago, and now that I know how, I hope it will never “dry up.”

    • Jaded says:

      I too had the total hysterectomy at age 42 but went on HRT. I was finally able to enjoy sex after a year and started having the big one again. However I had to go off HRT finally due to breast cancer and then the fun (sarcasm) started. Full on thermonuclear hot flashes, endless night sweats, insomnia and the lady bits drying up. I’ve tried several medications, none of which worked or at least gave me such bad side effects I had to give them up (currently transitioning off of gabapentin due to weight gain and aching joints/muscles). So I took matters into my own hands and saw a naturopath who has me on a black cohosh tincture and another liquid supplement for the flashes, and my temperature gauge has finally regulated. As for the dry lady bits, there’s a wonderful internal moisturizer called Gynatrof I use religiously and a lubricant called Sliquid, all natural ingredients. Where there’s a will there’s a way…congrats on the OG!!

    • Anna says:

      Woohoo!!!! Congrats! so happy for you! This truly is news to celebrate! :) <3

  5. Deedee says:

    I was also expecting some “Viagra is paid by insurance, and yet women struggle to pay for contraception.”

  6. PBAN says:

    It’s interesting what she says. Life or biology works the way it does for a reason. Now we have men of a certain age still making babies. And women are having babies at ages that were unheard of before. Life is tuning upside down. everything is off center.

  7. Veronica S. says:

    Oh, I think she was making a comment about sex all right, I think she danced around in a more amusing way regarding biological drives.

    Financial independence is important for identity for women, but frankly, it’s also essential to women’s rights. A big part of why patriarchal cultures conflate female identity with reproductive status is that women with children are easier to control. They are more likely to be homemakers, are less likely to have schedule flexibility, and have to frame their decisions around childcare, which makes them more likely to be dependent on a male provider. Economic opportunity is equivalent to independence in the modern world. That’s why abusers isolate their partners and often convince them to give up careers. The less resources a person has, the easier they are to control.

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      Agree about the control aspect, financial abuse is something that is rarely spoken about when discussing domestic abuse.

      • Veronica S. says:

        It’s not addressed nearly enough as it should be. Children are one of the major ways male abusers lock women into relationships.

        To clarify, I don’t want to knock women who want to be stay at home parents (or men, for that matter), but you have to be aware of that risk. A domestic partnership is a matter of intense trust. You are literally putting your financial safety in the hands of your partner. People need to be more aware of that and think about the long term implications. My mother agreed to give up her career after having kids because my father was in the military. After they divorced, she got completely screwed because her skills were now obsolete and she literally had no financial power with which to hire a lawyer and fight him. Another friend is currently dealing with ongoing power struggles with her husband because despite the agreement for her to be a stay at home mother, and despite the fact that she supported him through college, he thinks his position as the provider absolves him of any domestic responsibility. You can imagine how ugly those fights get.

        I’m not saying this to scare women, but be careful.
        Know your partner before you make a sacrifice like that. Know that you can trust them.

    • MarDelSur says:

      “Know your partner before you make a sacrifice like that. Know that you can trust them. ”

      I’d go one further and actually say there’s only as much that you can know someone – anyone. You can be careful and take your time and all that but ultimately life happens, and time happens, and people can change, or their desires can shift even if they themselves don’t fundamentally change. And lots and lots of otherwise decent people tend to be less than generous and fair when they fall out of love or when a relationship ends for whatever reason.

      So I’d say make fallback plans anyway. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst is my motto:))

  8. Jae says:

    Interesting. As far as I understood her point, it is not about reproduction but men getting too full of themselves in beleiving that since they can guarantee they’ll get it up they are still those virile sex giants, yet women ‘lose it’ after menopause. Like all this ‘men age like wine, women age like milk’ stuff.

  9. Helonearth says:

    Studies show the the quality of men’s sperm drops after the age of forty, leading to possible mental and physical disabilities in their children.

    That wasn’t as much of a problem when men coupled up with women close to their own age and didn’t divorce and marry women much much younger than them.

    Now you have men in their 60s, 70s and even 80s having children.

    This needs to be published more widely, the same way women have had advice on children after 35 shoved down their throats!

  10. Sandra says:

    Lol, I’m the financial person in our household, keeping everything under control. If I die, my husband will have to figure it all out!

  11. JayneBirkenB says:

    The quality of sperm after 40 degrading is really true. Eoropean studies have shown spikes in serious mental health of kids if their dad was 40+ when they were born. Apparently it was noticed first in Scandanavia that fathers of patients at a psychiatric hospital were much older.

    Can you imagine being 75 and trying to restrain your 20 year old son when he has a psychotic episode?

  12. Dazed and confused says:

    It’s wonderful to see the message of financial independence from a trailblazer like DF. I would add that women need to build their credit starting at a young age. My parents stressed this to me when I was in high school. They were a united front on this and my father made sure I had opportunities to build it when I was in college. Having your own great credit is seldom discussed and it can have a huge impact.

    Also, I need one of those “Woman in Charge” shirts.

  13. holly hobby says:

    One of the best advice I received from my manager, before I got married, was to keep some of the finances separate. She told me to keep a percentage of my salary in my own account and to pool a percentage into the community property account. She said nothing is worse than to have to ask someone if you can “buy something” and that you needed your own money to spend on things you want.

    Well I took her advice and I did keep all the money I made before I married (I’m not pooling that. I earned it before the marriage) while chipping into the community pool every month.

    My coworker did not heed to this advice and she immediately combined her money with her husband’s (that includes her savings). She also sold the condo that she independently bought before marriage. Well 10 years and 2 kids later he left her for another woman. So she doesn’t have her own house and money.

    So yes I agree with Dianne’s advice of being financially independent.