How Viagra Can Mess Up Your Marriage - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

How Viagra Can Mess Up Your Marriage

MSNBC.COM - Be careful what you wish for, I think as my husband reaches again for his new toy. Tragically, it's not a Ferrari or the latest Mac laptop —  it's his Penis 2.0—the new, pharmaceutically enhanced model.

I married an older man, and lucky for us both, the only part on him that's given out is his knees. But since I was writing about erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs, I wanted him to help me out. Would he try one? The little blue pill enables older men to sexually respond like 18-year-olds. "Wouldn't that be interesting," I asked him, "journalistically speaking?"

John was skeptical. "What if I take this and things never work without the pill again?" he asked. I pointed out that the label of a leading brand, Viagra, does not list physical dependence as a side effect (although it does mention headaches and an upset stomach). True to promise, when John used Viagra, everything was perfectly fine. But to my chagrin, it was perfectly fine a lot.

And therein lies a problem I wonder whether the makers of Viagra and its pharmaceutical cousins Levitra and Cialis foresaw. While men of a certain age are undoubtedly thrilled to have their sexual potency restored, maybe their wives' enthusiasm is a bit more subdued?

What at first glance seems an obvious win-win situation for both husbands and wives can have a raft of unintended consequences. Don't get me wrong: Viagra is a wonder drug. Since the early '90s, when researchers testing a new heart medication called Sildenafil discovered that it had a startling side effect in men, erectile dysfunction drugs have become more than a billion-dollar industry.

One study conducted by Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit management company, found that nearly 20% of all American men over age 45 have tried them. And since, according to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 5 percent of 40-year-old men and from 15 to 25 percent of 65-year-old men experience ED (for reasons ranging from narrowing of the blood vessels with age to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and neurological problems), these drugs have been a godsend to millions.

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