It's got enough mystery, intrigue and code-cracking to make for the next Dan Brown novel.
And now, according to a new documentary by filmmaker Liz Canner, the female orgasm could soon make pharmaceutical companies some mad bank.
"Orgasm, Inc." -- which will screen tomorrow night at the Wolfsonian on South Beach -- said Canner, started out as a documentary about female pleasure when she took a job editing pornos for a pharmaceutical company in the midst of researching their new "female Viagra" prototype drug, Alista.
She soon realized, though, the racket that was big Pharma, and the story took a different turn. The company was claiming that 43 percent of women suffered from "sexual dysfunction."
"To develop disorders, you have to have doctors. Phizer, the makers of Viagra, thought women would be a big market, so they hired a consultant who put together a group of doctors who came up with the definition," Canner explained. 18 of the 19 docs had ties to 22 drug companies.
"It's a well-known thing within the industry," said Canner of doctors being hired to develop disorders. "What's unusual is the disease mongering, the statistic inflation - basically anyone can be diagnosed. It's troubling that it's such a subjective thing."
Suzanna Rose, Senior Associate Dean of Science at Florida International University, agrees.
"The pharmacological companies have created a whole new medical condition - female sexual dysfunction - that has no medical or scientific or even measurable definition, she said. "This is called the 'medicalization' of women's sexual problems and is likely to create more problems for women sexually than existed previously."
Indeed, drug companies are going so far as to take their business to Madison Ave., where marketing firms are being hired to come up with spiffy, TV-friendly names for diseases.
"Impotence is now erectile dysfunction. In the past, women didn't have 'sexual dysfunction, they were just 'frigid,'" Canner said. "It's this new brand of lifestyle conditions that worries me - restless leg syndrome, social anxiety disorder."
Rose says the main source of the o-issue lies between the ears, not the legs.
"The issues 99 percent of the time are psychological and/or interpersonal," anything from a partner's lack of technique to a history of bad relationships.
Both Canner and Rose agree that instead of a pill, women are better off visiting their local sex shop.
"If the public interest or men's interest in female orgasm was sincere," said Rose, "there would be a mass movement to sell vibrators to women."
Orgasm, Inc. screens 7 p.m. Thursday at The Wolfsonian, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; afterparty at the World Erotic Art Museum, 1205 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; $10. 305-535-2644 for more info.