Impotence in the Age of Viagra; Men: The Scientific Truth; Scientific American Presents; by Melman; 6 Page(s)
Just as the birth-control pill ushered in the sexual revolution for many women, Viagra has brought about its own revolution for men. Since the introduction of the drug last year, millions of men have sought and received prescriptions of Viagra for the treatment of impotence, which doctors commonly refer to as erectile dysfunction. The rush for this medication and physicians' willingness to dispense it mark a sea change in how people view the condition, which decades ago was considered to be mainly of psychogenic origin-in other words, "it's all in your head."
This change has significant impact for the approximately 10 percent of the male population who will at some point in their lives face the complete inability to achieve or maintain an erection. This condition, which becomes more prevalent with age, has the effect of making sexual intercourse difficult, if not impossible. Although proved medical interventions have been available for more than 20 years, recent advances in the understanding of the processes that lead to an erection have spurred new treatments and promise even more targeted therapies in the future.