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Only Old Men Use Viagra—and Other Lies

The shocking truth men and women confess about the little blue pill behind closed doors

Viagra Men & Women

Is that a 23-year old using the little blue pill? Yes, indeed. — Getty Images

Erectile dysfunction meds have become ubiquitous in our culture, with the global market worth around 4.39 billion dollars. But, for something so much of the planet uses, we don’t talk a lot about it.

We decided to change that. We assembled two groups of sexually active adults: five men (Thom, Bill, Larry, Sammy and Max) and six women (Janice, Mimie, Christine, Joan, Vicky and Lana).  They’re single, married or widowed, their ages ranging from 22 to 73.

Both groups met separately, and over several bottles of wine, we asked them to talk about the myths surrounding performance-enhancement supplements like Viagra and Cialis—what’s true, what’s BS and what men and women, husbands and wives, millennials and boomers rarely admit to each other.

Myth: Women Want a Man Who Lasts for Hours

Vicky, 31:  I don’t need a six-hour erection; 45 minutes tops is good. Once in a great while, if I’m on vacation and there's less stress, cool, let’s go all night. But I don’t need that on a regular day.

Lana, 35: Once I orgasm, I’m good. Anything more is not necessary. If it goes on too long, it’s like, “Will you please finish already?”

Joan, 73: With age comes security, ladies. Tell your partner what you want. Most women don't want to be pounded for a half hour—it hurts. Save him a trip to the pharmacy. 

Myth: Viagra Makes an Erection Last for Hours

Bill, 38: The first time I took Viagra, I was like, “Better clear my schedule for the week.” [Laughs] Because that’s all you hear, that these meds give you erections that last for hours and hours. But it wasn’t even close. More like 30 minutes.

Larry, 54: I was expecting a Frankenstein stiffie. But it was, "Is that’s it?”

Myth: Young Guys Never Use Viagra or Cialis

Thom, 22: I take it now and then, for special occasions — if I really want to impress a girl. You never know when your little fella is going to get stage fright. Even Jimmy Fallon needs cue cards sometimes. Know what I mean?

Sammy, 61: I caught my son pilfering from my supply. I asked him, “What the hell are you doin’? You’re barely old enough to drink! You need a sexual stimulant?” He told me he gets nervous sometimes and the pills help. Now, that was a surprise!

Myth: As They Get Older, All Men Eventually Need Erectile Aids

Larry: When I started approaching 50, I just assumed I’d be taking them. I thought it was like colonoscopies. I asked my doctor about it and he says, “Have you been experiencing erectile dysfunction?” And I said, “Well, no.” He looked at me like I was nuts and said, “Why the heck do you want medicine then?”

Max, 71: The first time I tried Viagra was on my 70th birthday. I didn’t need the damn thing, but I wanted to do something special for my lady. Give her a night to remember. Well, she was not into it. [Laughs] She started yelling at me, “What are you trying to do, break a girl’s pelvis? Get that damn thing away from me!” [Long laughter]

“I take it now and then, for special occasions. Even Jimmy Fallon needs cue cards sometimes, right?” — Thom, 22

Myth: Women Are Offended If Their Partners Use Viagra or Cialis

Joan: I was with a man two years younger than me, so he’s 71. We had sex, and I was like, “Wow! How did you do that?” He told me he takes Cialis, and I went, “Well, good for you.” I thought it was cute.

Mimie, 41: I’d be flattered. As long as I knew about it already. If I saw a bottle of blue pills in his medicine cabinet and he hadn’t told me about it, I be, “That’d better be for me!”

Myth: Men Don’t Want Anybody to Know They’re Using Viagra or Cialis

Thom: Are you kidding me? I leave the bottle out in the open. You’re basically announcing, “I get erections that are so rock hard, you could hang a wet towel on them.”

Larry: I probably wouldn’t want my mom to know, but it’s nothing I consciously try to hide. I’m not ashamed of it.

Max: All the guys my age, whenever they’re taking a pill, they want everybody to know. You’ll see guys at breakfast with a blue pill next to their plate. It’s how you brag without bragging, “I’m getting laid tonight, fellas!” [Long laughter]

Carrie Borzillo is an award-winning Los Angeles journalist and author who writes for SELF, Men's Health, and more.

Eric Spitznagel writes for magazines like Playboy, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times Magazine, among others.


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