Viagra Turns 10 [Insert Lame Erection Joke Here]

On Thursday, the little blue pill, which has been used by 35 million men around the world, turns 10, so put on a party hat and celebrate.

Originally, doctors were testing the active ingredient in Viagra, sildenafil, as a cardiovascular drug that lowered blood pressure. But the men in those trials found that side effects of taking the drug included having erections that were firmer and longer-lasting, and they didn’t want to give back the medication.It’s a good thing Viagra came along, too, because previous treatments for Mister Softee involved surgically inserting a prosthesis or injecting a substance into the male sex organ or using urethral suppositories. Fun!

These days, urologists’ waiting rooms are fuller than ever, and erectile dysfunction, aka ED, has lost some of its stigma. Those commercials featuring men strumming guitars and singing, “Viva, Viagra!” must really be doing their jobs.

Wondering how it works? “What happens is veins and arteries that deliver and remove blood from the penis are not working the way they should, and Viagra allows those vessels to dilate and increase blood flow to the penis,” said Dr. Brian Klee, senior medical director at Pfizer. But Viagra’s no miracle-worker. “…a lot of people look to Viagra for personal happiness, thinking a hard penis can resolve relationship issues,” said Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, who is also author of the book The Viagra Myth. Not only that, but with an Internet black market going strong, Morgentaler worries that young men who take the drug to make their sex lives play like a porno. Be advised, young sirs: Visiting the ER to get treated for a seven-hour-long erection will not be an enjoyable experience. [Sydney Morning Herald]

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