Monday, September 10, 2007
As American as Impotence. Something grotesque has happened to the United States. We are assailed by endless commercials for Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, as tho American men cannot function sexually anymore. One medication for E.D. ("erectile dysfunction") has a group of men singing happily together, "Viva Viagra", to the tune of Elvis Presley's 1964 hit song, from the movie of the same name, "Viva Las Vegas". Are American men now proud of being impotent? Disgraceful.
How common is impotence in this country nowadays? Various sources say as many as 30 million American men or as few as 10 million may suffer erectile dysfunction, mainly older men. Statistics are not broken out by any narrower a category than ages 40-69, and in that wide group, "20-46% of men aged 40-69 self-reported some erectile dysfunction in the US 2000-2002 (Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 2000-2002, NIDDK)". "Some" is not defined, but a distinction is made between "prevalence" and "incidence":
The term 'prevalence' of Impotence usually refers to the estimated population of people who are managing Impotence at any given time. The term 'incidence' of Impotence refers to the annual diagnosis rate, or the number of new cases of Impotence diagnosed each year. Hence, these two statistics types can differ: a short-lived disease like flu can have high annual incidence but low prevalence, but a life-long disease like diabetes has a low annual incidence but high prevalence.And the problem is ...? Altho the suggestion is that this is a physical problem, one must wonder. Of what importance is it if a man 68 years old isn't interested in sex? Losing interest in sex is a natural part of aging. Granted that a high rate of impotence in relatively young men, the 40-end of the 40-69 age range, might be regarded as a problem, note that statistics are not even gathered for men 70 and over, because sexual activity is not expected of men after "threescore and ten" years, the typical lifespan of a healthy man for at least the past 3,000 years. An impotence rate of 46% in 40-year-olds would be appalling; of 69-year-olds? Not so much.
I suspect that there is very little impotence among gay men, but rather doubt that separate statistics are kept. If heterosexuals lose physical interest in sex after they are no longer of appropriate breeding age, where is the harm in letting that part of life pass? Straights keep telling us that sex is about creating children. If straight people are no longer creating children, they "shouldn't" be having sex, so where's the harm if in fact they aren't having sex? Why do 50-year-olds feel diminished for not having the sex drive of a 20-year-old? Isn't pursuing sex when you're not really interested and your body tells you not to bother, a form of compulsive behavior, especially if it requires chemical assistance?
I seriously doubt there are masses of men incapable of functioning, ever, without a pill. If men are taking Viagra and the like for recreational sex, maybe they should get another hobby. There is blatant immaturity at work in this. If men don't feel guilty or diminished as men because they don't want to, or can't, win the 100 yard dash against college kids, why should they expect to be able to rut like rabbits in middle age?
For my part, I am disgusted by all these ads about impotence, and vaginal yeast infections, "feminine itch and odor", tampons, maxi-pads — with wings! — and the panoply of sexual dysfunctions and disgusting conditions inflicted upon viewers of SITCOMS, even on Nick@Nite and TV Land. Let ads about ED and prostate problems run in men's magazines; douche, tampons, sanitary pads, vaginal yeast infection medications and such run in women's magazines. Instead, Andy and Opie's innocent father-son conversations, or Wally and the Beav's exchanges about 'frogs and junk' are interspersed with commercials for vaginal this and ED that. These things do not belong on TV, any more than do ads for sex toys. If the guys in these ads are impotent — tho I imagine all the actors who play these parts assure their friends that they are only playing a role — that's their problem. I don't want to hear about it.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 3,774 — for Israel.)
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