Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

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That’s a bad thing?

There’s no telling how this post is going to affect my Google ads or my status in certain website blocking systems, but here we go…

We’ve all seen television commercials for Viagra, Cialis and other “male performance enhancement” medications. And depending on your particular sensitivities, you might be embarassed, amused, or intrigued by these things. I probably fall in the middle group. What I love about these advertisements are the legal disclaimers.

“Certain sexual side-effects may occur.”

What, exactly, do they mean by a “sexual side-effect”? I mean, is that a bad thing? Be more specific, please. If the “sexual side-effect” is that it allows men to have multiple orgasms, then sign me up!

“If an erection lasts more than four hours, consult your doctor immediately.”

Heck, if the erection lasts more than four hours, you’re probably too busy with your wife to worry about calling your doctor. Again, they say this like it’s a bad thing, and I just don’t get that.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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19 Responses to That’s a bad thing?

  1. Jason says:

    I’m only embarassed/offended by these commercials when my 9 year old daughter is in the room. I’m not sure I’m ready to explain to her what an erection is?

  2. Dougal says:

    Yeah, we have that problem, too. You’d hope that the networks would limit advertisements for that type of product to “grown up” shows and hours of the day. There have been several occassions where we’ve been watching “family programming”, only to be innundated with commercials with tasteless content that we’d prefer our kids not to see and hear.

  3. Craig says:

    If a child is old enough to ask a question, then a child is old enough to get an answer. You need not be gory in your details; in fact, your answer can be very simple, and that may be enough to satisfy the child at that time.

    I taught my sons the proper names for their anatomy…all of it! They deserve to know what their body parts are called, and what their functions may be.

    As I said, you don’t need to plug in a pr0n movie and get all explicit, but being able to give your kids some information will help them…it may even alleviate some anxiety that they may have. We adults have to get over our own hangups and issues, and at that point, we will better equip our children to understand this kinds of things.

    Oh, and if the child doesn’t ask, then don’t feel the need to explain anything!
    Just my two cents!

  4. Hoover says:

    My 4 1/2 year old son knows what an erection is… after all, he wakes up in the morning with one almost every day and he eventually asked me “why is my ding ding big like that?” Yes, I did have to pout up with a couple of days of him saying “erection” every chance he got, but then he just moved on.

    There is no reason to be embarrassed.

  5. duvy says:

    Hoover, what a cute story, your little guy sounds like a good kid.
    I believe everyone should know that what you don’t know in life CAN hurt you, better to learn from people who have your best interest at heart. My parents didn’t like to talk about those things and by the time I was 13 I was getting my education from other children, who didn’t know anything either. 😉 I mean I read a story once about a girl who was nine years old and gave birth to twins, if that would have happened in america, the parents would be doing some serious jail time for not educating her. 🙁

  6. Dougal says:

    “Oh, and if the child doesn’t ask, then don’t feel the need to explain anything!”

    Exactly. Which is why we cringe when sensitive issues are brought up on television during what you might have thought was a “safe” program. Sure, our kids are going to encounter all of these concepts eventually. And sure, explaining them in a sterile, uninteresting way will probably dissuade their interest. But I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to put off those questions until they are at a more appropriate age.

    It’s one thing to be watching the Disney Channel and hear Bear and Tutter singing about going to the potty. It’s another thing to be watching “Full House” on ABC Family after school and get a commercial talking about sexual disfunction and four-hour erections.

    One of those things is age-appropriate and handled in a tasteful manner (well, as tasteful as you can get while singing about poops), the other is not.

  7. Craig says:

    I totally hear what you are saying. But you also know as well as I that TV is about what the advertisers want you to see, not about what YOU want to see! I guess that’s why somebody invented TiVo! 🙂

    They know that Moms and Dads and grandparents are watching those shows, so of course they are going to target the audience accordingly. It sucks big time, doesn’t it? Oh, and BTW, I’ve had to explain a lot about tampons, “feminine itching”, douches, and pads to my sons…there’s not even a woman in the house! Thankfully they will be relatively well-equipped to deal with that when, in their future, those things may well be something they see under their own bathroom sinks! 😀

  8. It is humorous to me that we can’t have commercials about cigarettes on TV, though people smoke openly in many different places, but we can have commercials for viagra et al and if you do THAT in public you’re so in trouble. I think the issue is that large amounts of money have and will be made on these products and so airing a commercial at any given time might just push a man to try them. Really, really odd that children are not in the equation when they make the add airing decisions – Can we get SpamAssassin or Bad-Behavior for TV?

  9. Drama Queen says:

    Hoover, that is a cute story, but it just makes me cringe at the thought of having a baby boy and needing to explain why his wee wee sticks up when he wakes up.

    I don’t have any children yet, but I dread the day when I have to explain the birds and the bees much less having television force my hand…

  10. Larry says:


    It’s easy to make fun of such things but if you do have an erection that lasts 4 or more hours it may very well be the last erection you ever have. That is an extremely dangerous condition often requiring a trip to the emergency room. Now which one is more embarrassing? The ads or explaining to the triage nurse what your emergency really is? 😉

  11. zoogies says:

    Maybe these commercials have gotten more informative recently, or maybe I’ve just gotten wiser to their meaning, but I went for years without knowing what viagra actually did. I found out (more or less) reading the fine print of a newspaper ad. It was like, “Woah, THAT’s what this is?”

  12. AJ says:

    Well, atleast the post did not affect your adsense ad’s. They show ad’s for blogging and news service 😉

    However, We in India dont have such a problem since television broadcast is very tightly controlled and any such ad’s are to be telecast only after 11 pm, not that I think Viagara is even sold in India. I might be wrong!

  13. Dougal says:

    “It’s easy to make fun of such things…”

    Yes. That’s the whole point of my post, and why I tagged it with “Fun” and “Humor” 🙂

  14. Edgore says:

    I think I would rather explain erections to my children than have to explain to them in later life why I let them watch Full House as children…

  15. I know exactly what you mean about those advertisements. All the drug advertisements are a source of amusement for me. “This pill may have some side effects, such as liver disease, severe internal bleeding, and apocalypse now.”

    The funny thing about Viagra is its origins, and they’re the first thing I think of whenever I see a commercial or hear about the drug. For those who don’t know, it was a test drug for heart patients (not sure what heart issue it was focusing on), but they started noticing it wasn’t working as planned when men were keeping erections for 72 hours straight. Yeah, you know that had to be good for blood flow to the heart. *dies laughing*

  16. Alaina says:

    i am scared to have children because all that happens in the world its just bad for them… but when i have kids i am sooooooo having a conversation wit them….you know what i mean!!!!!!

  17. Leslie says:

    I would rather explain Janet Jackson’s titty than why a 4-hour erection is dangerous.

  18. steve says:

    Ok we all know what viagra is so why do they needto list side effects after each comercail were getting it from docter hel’ll tell you. Why dont they just have it like other one were they have sibliminal like guy buying wood older and ppl that already know what its referncing think its funny gets there attention. SO do that with Viagra we see billboards without sexual side effects in the same big lettering. In the commercails they say it, it is double standard in marketing. So then theres 20 seconds of akward silence that fills the family room when watching sport game with family. I know kids will find out but at a young age do i really need to explain what an erection is to a curious 4 year old. NO let age set in and your friends will tell you by the time your 10. Then school when your 12. If they ask you i feel as a parent you need to explain anything responsibly but having that commercail puts word in their mouth

  19. Franz says:

    It is extremely embarrassing when we’re asked a question like this one. Especially by young ones. Best way for me is to simply avoid the question and change the subject, they usually won’t notice.

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