While the introduction of Sildenafil (popularly associated with the brand name Viagra), has created a sexual revolution, it still has not been able to cross social taboos
Sex is no longer taboo. People discuss sex, condoms and ‘sexual drive’ more openly these days. With a number of options available for sildenafil, which has now become synonymous with the brand Viagra, more and more people are reaching out for it. We take a look at how it has changed physical intimacy for people over the age of 45.
What is Sildenafil?
Sildenafil Citrate is used to treat cases of erectile dysfunction among men and in some cases also helps treat pulmonary artery hypertension. It helps relax the muscles and thus helps increase the blood circulation. As it alters the blood pressure (increase or decrease),precaution and medical advice is recommended if you are suffering from heart disease, coronary artery disease, liver and kidney disease. Some of the side effects include vision loss, irregular heart beat, swelling in the legs etc. Sildenifil apart from its medical use is known to be popular in helping improve a person’s libido and sexual performance.
According to Dr F Rai, sexologist, “Sildenafil is actually a medicine but nowadays people consider it to be something that can be used for recreational purposes. People tend to think it is safe but they should know that it has certain side effects and needs to be taken with precautions. It can usually be taken only after a prescription by a urologist as there are strong chances of overdose.”
Talking about acceptance in the older generation, Dr Rai says, “There is acceptance in the older males. They are open to using Sildenafil and its variants. Sex is no longer taboo in our society so they do discuss along with their family physician. I have seen patients come and enquire about the drug, ask about its benefits and use. If it is prescribed they are open to taking it. The main reason is there is more awareness.”
Talking about the availability of Sildenafil, Dr Rai says,“It is available easily over the counter under different brand names, although it should not be sold over the counter. In all other countries it is a prescription drug, which is the way it should be so as to avoid overdose.”
Woman and Sildenafil
Although these pills are usually associated with men, women too can be prescribed Sildenafil.According to Divya T Sudarshan, gynaecologist and obstetrician at Happy Women Clinic, “Although it is not commonly prescribed to a woman, it can be effective in the required cases as it helps increase the blood flow to the pubic area.”
When it comes to taking the pill the precautions need to be taken. Dr Divya says, “Like for men, women too need to follow the same precautions such as avoid taking it if they have a cardiac problem etc.”
Dr Divya mentions that of the 80 per cent of women above the age of 40 only 20 per cent are aware of the availability of such a medicine. “FSAD (Female sexual Arousal disorder) is a reality. Women tend to approach a gynaecologist thinking their low sexual drive is because of some kind of infection,” she says.But how often do we come across a woman who is ready to talk about the same.
Dr Divya says, “Women are open to talking about the problem, but when we tell them that there is a medicine available they refuse to take them as they believe it will not work. Perhaps it has got something to do with the general belief that once a woman is married and has children, a sexual relation is not needed.
Secondly the men (husbands) are older and may not be interested in them in the same way. Women after crossing a certain age tend to have made peace with the fact that this sexual excitement was a thing of the past. Another possible reason could be physical disfiguration that comes with age and pregnancies.”
Dr Divya believes that men definitely are more open than women about taking such a medication. The situation is different abroad, there women are more open to such a possibility, it can be seen in many cases such as the larger number of requests that come from woman abroad for vaginal tightening or vaginoplasty as it is better known.
While people in India are slowly opening up to taking aphrodisiacs to improve their sex drive, it will take a long time before there is complete acceptance among both men and women.