I’m going to say it – I love Viagra. No, I’ve never taken it. I am a 33-year-old woman, and thus, have no need for it. But, what I also am, is attracted to older men, so I’ve been with a guy who has taken Viagra. The sex was great and so was he. I’ve probably unknowingly been with other men who have taken Viagra. I say good for them. Disclose it, don’t disclose it – whatever floats your boat (and raises your rod). I have definitely dated at least two men whom I wish had taken Viagra. Would it have saved our relationships? Absolutely not – but it would have made the sex a lot better and, frankly, it would have saved me a lot of self-doubt and frustration. There are few things more discouraging in a loving sexual relationship than tirelessly trying to get a rise out of your partner, only to have it all fall flat.

Both gentlemen in question were serious beaux. One accepted the situation – the situation being erectile dysfunction – and didn’t care to fix it. He was sixty-something and, while occasionally perturbed by his uncooperative appendage, he freely admitted his libido wasn’t what it used to be. Sex wasn’t the cornerstone of our relationship—it was more about intellectual arousal – but at the tender age of 25, I couldn’t help but feel both inadequate and sexually dissatisfied. We broke up for unrelated reasons – the age gap, perhaps inevitably, being one of them.

The second instance was more complicated and more distressing. The long and limp of it is, I was with a man for a number of years whose virility and masculinity accounted for a significant portion of his self-worth. He was an objectively sexy silver fox, with a chiseled jaw, bulging muscles, and a member for the ages. He was a ‘fitness professional’ (i.e., personal trainer). He was a dynamo in bed. I grew to love him very much, and our relationship was motivated by things other than sex, but at its core, it was not about intellectual arousal.

When his literal and figurative manhood started struggling around age 51, the foundation of our union began to crumble. The more we tried to spice things up, the worse it got. I felt undesirable. He grew increasingly irritated and didn’t want to address the flaccid elephant in the room. I asked if it was me. He insisted it wasn’t. Four exasperating months later, I told him I loved him and gently suggested he should maybe, possibly, talk to a doctor. Judging by his reaction, you’d have thought I’d asked him to consider chemical castration. The conversation closed there, as did my legs. We broke up shortly thereafter for bigger reasons.

The point of all this is to say, you’ve gotta get up to get down. I’m sure my ex was embarrassed, and angry, and possibly in denial. And I appreciate how stomach-wrenching it must be to have to acknowledge that what many men view as a representation of their masculinity is malfunctioning. But when a man is in a relationship, ED doesn’t just affect him. Not to mention, many women do and take lots of things for the benefit of their partners (and themselves) – birth control pills, IUDs, waxing, and post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy among them. Never mind the fact that women like sex too, and it’s nice to be able to actually do it. To completion.

A woman (at least this woman) doesn’t care how her lover revs up to physically express his affection, so long as he gets there. Sure, Viagra might be a punchline, but so are penises, let’s be honest. Ditto for vaginas. Genitalia are hilarious. I digress… however, Viagra is nothing to be embarrassed about. I’d rather be with a guy who accepts that bodies do annoying things, particularly as we age, and takes matters into his own hands (or I guess, in this case, medicine cabinet). That’s strong and sexy. So, yes, I love Viagra and I love men who love their partners enough to try Viagra. Long (and hard) live the little blue pill.

Katharine K. Zarrella is a New York-based fashion journalist, editor, and lecturer.

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