Tiger Woods may have led me to watch men’s professional golf championships on TV, but he also led me, inadvertently, to watch something else: discussions about the problem of erectile dysfunction in middle- and older-age men, and advertisements for Viagra and Cialis, drugs that are the newly-developed magic bullets for overcoming the problem.
I keep wondering what it must be like for men watching these golf programs with their teenage sons—or daughters, for that matter—who may have to answer the question, “Dad, what exactly is erectile dysfunction?” Or what it’s like for fathers who may have to respond when the voice-over says that if a man on one of these drugs has an “erection that lasts for more than four hours,” he must seek medical help.
I suppose I should be a good sport. After all, we’ve become sufficiently comfortable as a nation using such terms as erectile dysfunction to have these ads shown on both network and cable TV. I do applaud this. But, if we can promote products such as Viagra and Cialis, why, I want to know, can’t we promote the lowly, little latex condom?
Why won’t the major networks accept ads that talk about the effectiveness of using condoms to prevent unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS? Why, to the best of my memory, have I never seen an ad promoting condom use on a major network, during primetime viewing hours, in this country?