Ageless Arousal: Despite what they say in those Viagra ads, sex is not a win-lose game

| January-February 2009

  • Elderly Arousal

    Image by / Nikolay Mamluke

  • Elderly Arousal

Twenty or thirty years ago, it was assumed that 90 percent of erectile problems were caused by psychological or relational factors. But our culture tends to veer wildly from one extreme to another, and the current majority view is firmly in the opposite camp: Faulty physiology is to blame. Luckily, there’s been a neat little remedy on the market since 1998: Viagra. The entire North American population seems to devoutly believe in its powers to restore the sexual vigor, and rigor, of youth.

For the majority of middle-aged and older men experiencing problems getting and maintaining erections, however, the drugs promoted in the media are hardly a panacea.

Consider Bill. Bill is 51 years old and has been married for seven years to his partner Cynthia, who is 48. Like half of men by age 50, Bill has begun experiencing occasional difficulties getting an erection.

Believing that a little blue pill would do the trick, Bill went alone to get some Viagra. His doctor made sure he had no systemic medical problems and then prescribed the medication. The doctor assumed that the pill, all by itself, would bring back the frisky, confident potency Bill had enjoyed earlier in life.

In fact, Viagra did improve matters, but the results were oddly disappointing. Because he wasn’t entirely sure of the longevity of his new chemically induced erection, Bill was often in an anxious “use it or lose it” mode. Cynthia didn’t want to add to his anxiety, so she didn’t object to the speediness of the proceedings, but she (understandably) found sex uncomfortable when her body hadn’t had time to “get into it.”

Disconcerted, Bill stopped taking the pill within a few months and began avoiding sex completely. He didn’t think there was a solution: He’d seen the doctor and taken his Viagra. What else could he do?

9/16/2013 1:25:12 AM

Yes, it's important to remember that ED pills do not fix relationship problems. Not enough men realise that they can take all the ED pills they can get their hands on but will still fail to achieve a satisfactory erection unless they are genuinely sexually aroused. On the other hand, Cynthia's and Bill's 'nointercourse' relationship is unnecessary also, given the ability of ED pills to overcome the limits set by ageing.

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