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Updated 22 March 2016

Do SA men celebrate the festive season with sex pills?

The most sexual enhancement pills are sold during the festive season, a South African pharmaceutical company says.

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The acute increase in sexual activity over the festive season will see erectile dysfunction (ED) medication jump to yearly highs according to figures compiled by a pharmaceutical distributor of men’s sexual enhancement pills.

SA men affected by ED

ED affects as many as 4 in 10 men over the age of 40 in South Africa, but stress, guilt and fear of failure can exacerbate the disorder, especially around the holidays when there is a greater expectation of having sex – both among men and women. 

Tumi Motsei, spokesperson for generics firm, Pharma Dynamics says the end-of-year holidays are notorious for spiking sales of ED drugs which indicates some stockpiling.

“The festive season is associated with increased opportunities for socialising and intimacy. More than a quarter of a million ED pills are sold during this period which equates to a 36% increase in unit sales compared to the lowest-use month of the year. 

“Overall, December is by far the top month of the year for demand for all male sexual enhancement medication and because the summer holidays only come around once a year, men want to be prepared. Having a little extra money in the pocket could also contribute to the increase in sales at this time. Medical aids generally don’t reimburse members for ED medication, so men tend to spend a portion of their annual bonuses on sexual enhancement treatments,” she says.

Young men also diagnosed with ED

ED used to be thought of as an old man’s disease, but nowadays doctors are diagnosing the condition in younger men too. About a quarter of men complaining of ED are younger than 40

Motsei says there is nothing wrong with men seeking a little extra help with their holiday sex demands, granted that they actually do suffer from ED.

“There are safe and effective oral pills to improve sexual function so one can fully understand why men would want to stock up at this time of year, but if the medication is taken recreationally to boost a man’s sexual performance even though it’s not physiologically necessary, it could lead to drug dependence. This means if you don’t currently suffer from ED, using the medication could actually cause you to have ED problems in the future. It’s usually younger men who misuse ED drugs to help them get a longer-lasting erection. As is the case with all medication, ED drugs too should be taken responsibly.”

ED is often a precursor to cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension and/or diabetes as a result of a poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking and drinking excessively. As many as eight in ten cases of ED can be ascribed to an unhealthy lifestyle.

“For an erection to occur, the penis must be supplied with sufficient blood. When patients cannot achieve erections regularly, it is often a sign that they have hardened arteries or atherosclerosis, which could be a symptom of CVD. Erectile Dysfunction is thus part of a larger health problem.

“If you've experienced a lack of sexual desire, premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction, consider making an appointment with your doctor and/or re-evaluating your lifestyle,” suggests Motsei.

If you have any questions on the topic, ask our erectile dysfunction expert.

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