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Until now the treatment of ED and the ceaseless quest for its cure has been an intriguing story of conjecture, myth, and a lot of trial and error. Ironically, the medical research of this century, most of which has been male-oriented, has failed to focus on one of the few maladies unique to males. Even worse, the problem has been treated crudely and bluntly, without an effort to find an easy-to-take medication, and with complete disregard for the quality of a man’s life. I repeat: until now.
It’s extraordinary. The hearts of tens of thousands of men have been studied so that the proper pills, along with behavioral changes, could make them, or keep them, healthy. Their cholesterol counts have been measured millions of times, so that the correct dosage of drugs to counter potentially life-threatening conditions could be administered. Mood pressures have been taken endlessly in order to save lives with medications. Still, when it came to the issue of a consistently firm erectiona fundamental core of masculine identitythe reaction was one of indifference. Millions of men were told the problem was in their heads and that mainstream medicine had no answer. In fact, when I attended medical school only twenty-five years ago, erectile dysfunction was not a subject that was examined or discussed at length. Why
Because sexualityand erectile problems in particularwere never fully regarded as an appropriate or urgent medical subject, much less an essential part of health and well-being. As a result, research that focused on male sexual functioning lagged far behind inquiries into other areas of medicine.
In my own practice, sexual medicine was one area that was difficult to integrate into the medical overview of my male patients. This was particularly frustrating, since internal medicine focuses on the health of the whole patient, not just on a singular organ or disease. I could help the women who came to see me about their sexual problems by referring them to experts who handled their particular concerns. But not for men. The reasons were twofold: first, the majority of men didn’t speak about their ED, and second, the available solutions were few and far from satisfactory.
There were times when even I thought that ED was a condition that the patient could control himself. The prevailing “wisdom” of the time, I’m embarrassed to say, was that it required some kind of behavior modification, similar to obesity treatment. I hoped that someday a miracle cure would come along to help these men. Not only would it alleviate their anxiety and frustration, it would lift a lot of responsibility off the medical establishment, which didn’t know how to help them.
That miracle cure was something that eluded us for a very long time.

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