As milk, butter, and eggs have fallen out of favor in our artery conscious society, and as the mass media no longer have tobacco products to finance much of their programming, the penis and its peculiarities have come to the fore, no pun intended, in unimaginable proportions.

It is difficult to turn on the television, open a newspaper or magazine of any genre, without multiple insertions touting multiple remedies for erectile dysfunction, a socially acceptable definition for not being able to “get it up”, when required.

This is a particularly curious phenomenon as male frontal nudity, even today, is all but forbidden and nonexistent except in X-rated films and pornographic material. For centuries it’s been perfectly acceptable to enjoy any and all openings and appendages female, while the bulge in a Calvin Klein underwear ad for men is seriously censored.

Research reveals that senior men consider every erection a triumph, and while it may take longer and produce less than it did as a teenager, the enormous sense of well being that results from ejaculation doesn’t significantly diminish once one begins to collect Social Security.

There is very little in the way of popular prose which deals with the realities and external eccentricities of the male sex organ. While Bob Dole, Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and their cousins have revealed the extent of the problem among the overstressed, aged, overweight, and under stimulated twenty first century men, making the penis behave properly for most males is a lifelong challenge.

It is not uncommon for very young boys to experience nocturnal emissions before knowing what they mean. Growing up in the Fifties without the Internet, a Victorian prudery in the schools and in most homes made the discussion of sex all but forbidden. It seemed that most of the guys 12-20 spent half their lives with a hard on. The problem was not getting it, rather hiding it. Well remember a freshman English class where I sat behind an unusually mature cheerleader with an ass beyond her years. Damn near impossible not to get aroused, and no way to conceal it when asked to make a presentation standing in front of the room.

All men are concerned that their organ compares favorably in length, girth, and firmness, and at least as many worry about coming too fast, or at the wrong time, as those who for one reason or another can’t get there in the first place. I’m not sure that a hair trigger penis that requires a pill to get hard maintains that deficiency.

All men masturbate. Most men masturbate regularly and most boys masturbate all the time. The Viagra ads always picture languid couples in hot tubs, on the beach, or on the balcony of a luxury hotel hoping for a moment when the member appropriately responds. There appears to be much less performance anxiety associated with satisfying only yourself and wonder if there are men who only need the pill to relate to a partner.

Women are blessed with the ability to fake without detection. Am not aware of any medication to treat orgasm deficiency in women. “Come Again” would be a great name if one were developed and infinitely more exciting and descriptive. The Cialis Western Open really doesn’t make any sense. The “Come Again” LPA Open has a much truer ring.

As life expectancies lengthen and our population ages, our willingness to publicly discuss incontinence, constipation, prostate enlargement, not to mention STD’s, hemorrhoids, and vaginal warts has increased exponentially. In the Fifties the Catholic Church in Boston banned “The Moon is Blue” because David Niven declared steak, liquor and sex as his three favorite things, not necessarily in that order. We close the evening news fifty years later with the admonition that if you experience an erection lasting more than four hours to seek medical attention.

Wouldn’t think it would take any male, let alone one with ED, anywhere near four hours to become concerned with a perpetual erection.

The primary difference between men and women relates to reproduction and our respective anatomical configurations. The desire for sex is clearly at the top of the list of driving forces in nature so it should not be surprising that Madison Avenue has jumped on the opportunity for marketing products to treat conditions, problems, or deficiencies which are now socially acceptable topics of conversation.

The need to fight AIDS and other STD’s has taken the condom from under the counters in drugs stores and from the back pages of the skin books to front and center in virtually every mainstream consumer products retailer. In many school systems all across the country condoms are distributed free of charge. The reasons are simple. Since the beginning of time women have realized that men with erect penises lose much of their ability to reason or think beyond the need for sexual release.

One possible downside in the epidemic of the media exposure for ED is the possibility of causing perfectly normal men to question their degree of hardness, the time it takes to achieve hardness, the frequency of erections, in regard to whatever is believed to be a normal standard, considering age, health, and general levels of libido.

There is little question that both the tobacco and liquor industries developed incredibly successful, if not Machiavellian marketing campaigns designed to foster dependency if not outright addiction to their products in spite of the undisputed risks associated with their use.

As most drugs, once developed, cost virtually nothing to make, and if successful generate enormous profits, it is not impossible that the makers of ED drugs might look to broaden their market well beyond those truly in need. Would guess there are many more men wondering if it is hard enough than those who know it isn’t hard at all. It’s almost as refreshing to be able to openly discuss this subject as it is to be able to buy a condom in public.

While he didn’t get elected president perhaps Bob Dole finally brought the penis out of its closet.