The 90’s were a transitional time, when it came to attitudes about ED.
It all started with Bob Dole, who, as a former presidential candidate, was a very public figure. He was the first to speak of his problem with erectile dysfunction on national television.
This had never been talked about publicly before and the media did not initially warm to Dole’s new openness. Dole was widely mocked and even joked about by late-night talk show hosts. His frank discussion however marked a turning point and was eventually recognized as having had a tremendously positive impact on attitudes. Before then, impotence was a stigmatizing condition, primarily viewed and treated by the medical community as a psychological problem causing a lack of libido. The stigma attached to impotence, in addition to the very private nature of the subject, was in part the reason why men were reluctant to discuss the problem with their doctors. Attached to this was the belief that there was nothing a doctor could do about impotence anyway. These were the strong counter-pressures that existed at the time and, more than likely, the reason why legions of men who experienced the emotional stress of impotence preferred to endure it in private.
The Beginning of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs – Pfizer’s Viagra
In the intervening years since Dole’s first revelation, a cascade of changes took place. Among highlights: Pfizer debuted the first oral drug – Viagra, and hired Dole as their spokesperson to promote their new pill and to generally raise public awareness of the problem of male impotence. The commercials were said to be deliberately scripted to avoid reference to the term impotence. Impotence, after all, was a loaded term, rife with negative connotation. It implied a degree of helplessness, a general sense of being incapable of doing many things and a decrease in manliness and virility.
There’s a strong link between connotation and attitude, and on a broader front, between language and the mind. Orwell spoke of the link when he said – words are the windows through which we look at the world. Pfizer essentially altered our negative view of impotence and made us see it differently when it discarded this standard term and found a new way to say it. Instead of impotence, Pfizer’s commercials employed the acronym for Erectile Dysfunction – ED, and used it exclusively. In contrast to the word impotence, ED was more appropriate as it was precise and emphasized anatomical function. Additionally, as Dole urged men to educate themselves about ED, they learned there was something a doctor could do. With a change in terminology that made men think of impotence differently, and with a growth in awareness that there was a pharmaceutical remedy that could restore erectile function in some men, came a change in attitude. The main effect was a new willingness for men to see a doctor to discuss the sensitive subject of erectile dysfunction.
Other Erectile Dysfunction Drugs – Cialis and Levitra
With the success of Viagra, more companies started plowing more of their resources into ED research and development. As similar drugs such as Cialis and Levitra arrived on the market, commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs became commonplace, forcing the social stigma to lose even more strength. What was equally important – the medical community began to understand that many of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction actually originated in physical factors. In fact, it became recognized that erectile dysfunction could be an early indicator of other more serious problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high cholesterol. ED, in fact, was now considered to be a high blip on the radar screen as men who experienced ED had a greater risk for angina, heart attack and stroke. So, from conversations about erectile dysfunction it was a quick segue to conditions associated with erectile dysfunction. Discussion of these risk factors was the most extraordinary impact of the changes sparked in the 90’s, as this type of discussion could be potentially life-saving.
Contact us if you might be interested in other, drug-free options for Erectile Dysfunction or Peyronie’s Disease.