Pharmaceutical companies in particular have pathologised or medicalised sexuality. Specifically male sexuality has been medicalised with the introduction of Viagra and Cialis. The term impotent was replaced or repackaged with the term erectile dysfunction and it was viewed as a medical problem with a vascular or physiological base rather than psychological. The concept of taking a pill to solve erectile dysfunction became logical and common place. The medication has allowed many individuals to remain sexually active, despite their erectile issues but the focus being on the mechanical aspect of sexuality with little consideration of psychosocial influences. Sanderberg(1) suggests that with the advent of medications like Viagra, sexuality may be defined through the function of the penis (1). A coital imperative is implied as medicine finds ways to address erectile dysfunction and underpin the need for an erect penis in order to achieve sexual satisfaction with no consideration of other hedonic practices. For some men the loss of erectile function can mean a loss of masculinity. Recent studies found that many men still rely heavily on their erect penis for sexual pleasure and the use of sexuo- pharmaceuticals allowed them to address this(1). However there was found be a cultural influence in the use of medication for erectile function- older men from Sweden and Mexico, who rejected the use of sexuo- pharmaceuticals, and understood and accepted the reduced erectile function with age. They comprehended declining sexuality and reduced erectile function as part of the ageing process, believing that sexuo-pharmaceuticals were age in-appropriate, unnecessary and potentially harmful (1). However the advent and medicalization has allowed many people to enjoy sex when they otherwise would have been unable to do so, and allowed them to feel their masculinity still remains- and I guess the question is- is this more important for their psychosexual being and confidence. I see a lot of men who are thrilled with the advent of PD5 inhibitors and it gives them confidence that would not otherwise have.
- Sandberg L. Inventions of hetero-sex in later life. Introducing the New Sexuality Studies. 2016:304.