Erectile Dysfunction

Medication plays a huge role in medicalization and biomedicalization in society. I think in the terms of medicalization, medication serves to “fix” or heal an illness or disorder. People rely on medication in a medicalization sense in order to control or gain control over an illness. As seen in the “Pill Poppers” video, men take viagra to fix their erectile dysfunction. I think this is an example of medicalization. It serves to fix the issue that is at hand, which in this case is an actual illness. Biomedicalization takes “pill popping” one step further and rather than serving to fix an illness, it instead works to “improve” or enhance a current state that is not an illness. Take Rogaine for example. Men go through hair loss normally, and I don’t think a lot of people would say that it is a medical condition. These men use Rogaine not to cure an illness that they have, but to enhance their appearance and improve their hair. I think that is the problem in Western Society. Pills and medication were once sought after for health and healing purposes, but now there are pills not only to heal, but to enhance. Society has become attached to improving themselves via medication, and I don’t think that’s healthy.

This link is to an advertisement for Cialis; a medication that helps mean with erectile dysfunction. In this advertisement, it shows a couple at dinner and the narrator says “she’s everything to you, but erectile dysfunction could be a question of bloodflow.” I think this ad serves to show that erectile dysfunction is a problem with blood flow, and that it is an actual medical condition that men shouldn’t be ashamed of. I think this shows that erectile dysfunction is a common issue for middle aged to older men, and that reaching out for a drug to solve that is okay. This commercial shows the social role of a man; taking a girl out to dinner or watching a hectic wife get ready for work. I think this serves to show that erectile dysfunction shouldn’t stop a man from feeling like a normal man, and Cialis can definitely help to do that. Really the only medical information included was that Cialis also helps men with BPH and then the narrator listed all of the side affects or when men shouldn’t take this drug. This ad hits on the patient doctor interaction when it says men should ask their doctor if they are healthy enough for sex.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thuy-Tien Giap says:

    Hi Katie,

    I noticed from your ad that, although erectile dysfunction is a debilitating illness for every men across all cultures, (and according to Pill Poppers, drugs to treat it are heavily prescribed world wide), I think its a big concern to wealthier men/ couples who live in leisure and want pleasures. The ad showed two couples, one at a prestigious restaurant, and the other at beautiful home where they are about to go out together. Also, I sensed that intercourse is arouse and reserved for a more at-eased ambiance, which makes Cialis more appealing. Imagine if the ad was focused in a run down apartment, with people dressed in rags- viewers would highly turn away from it. So I think, once people have achieved the basic needs of survival, they will seek out more of pleasures. This is portrayed with scenes of both couples.

    According to Pill Poppers, many men just endured and suffered with this illness before Viagra was discovered because there was nothing that could be done. Having experienced this medical condition, earlier men had issues with their self-esteem in performances, and general happiness in marriage. This dysfunction was considered an illness because they weren’t performing a bodily function; their body was out of sync with their mind, thus required medical interventions.

  2. Alex Chavez-Yenter says:

    According to the Conrad article, “Reissman and others have asserted that patients and other lay people can be active collaborators in their own medicalization…” (560). I think this is especially true of erectile dysfunction and its journey to medicalization. As society has become less conservative and more vocal about the very personal issues related to sexual dysfunction, we’ve seen a flood of drugs to treat these illnesses. The combinative force of lay people and medical professionals suffering from the condition drives its medicalization and consideration as an illness requiring biomedical intervention. The Cialis ad states that erectile dysfunction could be a question of blood flow. There could be a variety of other reasons that someone might have erectile dysfunction, we only know for certain that Cialis increases blood flow to treat ED. The ad supports the idea that erectile dysfunction is a condition that is to be treated with biomedical intervention. However, the ad neglects to mention the other potential psychological causes of erectile dysfunction, and likely encourages patients to ask for Cialis from their physician to increase the profitability of the drug.

    The medicalization of erectile dysfunction can even be paralleled with the medicalization of menstruation. Historically and in some cultures today, the two conditions were, or are, simply dealt with, without the use of biomedical intervention. Regardless of severity, they can be viewed as the result of being human. The reframing of menstruation or PMS as an illness is the consequence of social movements and likely profitability from pharmaceutical companies from redefining an illness. These were probably very important factors in the medicalization of erectile dysfunction as well.

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