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Embarrassment Still a Factor for Many When Buying Sensitive Medications

We’ve all had to make a trip to the drugstore to buy something that makes us feel awkward at the checkout stand. While there’s no reason to be embarrassed by picking up ED medications at your pharmacy, you do have other options.

 

While self-checkout lanes can certainly take some of the sting out of buying that tube of athlete’s foot cream or steamy best-seller you don’t want anyone to know you’re reading, they’re not always an option. Researchers from the University of Kentucky did some research on embarrassing purchases and created a top ten list of things that make the buying process awkward. They were:

  • Incontinence products
  • Treatments for yeast infections
  • Douche
  • Vaginal itch cream
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Hemorrhoid medications
  • Romance novels
  • Massage oil
  • Laxatives
  • Feminine hygiene products

These are products that millions of people use, yet we still somehow feel awkward acknowledging normal bodily functions and mishaps. The researchers in Kentucky found that most people coped with awkward purchases by purchasing other items to draw attention away from embarrassing items. The theory is, maybe nobody will notice the box of condoms if it’s mingled with a couple of cans of soup, a bottle of aspirin, and some shampoo. Why do so many people experience this type of awkwardness?

What Exactly Is Embarrassment?

Embarrassment isn’t the same thing as being shy. It’s a sense of appearing inferior or ridiculous. Embarrassment is a feeling of being “caught” in a socially awkward situation. Most people are sociable and have a need to feel like they belong. This causes us to “self-regulate” where we subtly watch whether people are evaluating us. Should we believe that they evaluate us negatively, it strikes at the sense of self.

There’s also a public element of embarrassment, and the fear that once you realize you’re behaving awkwardly, you’ll make things worse by looking uncomfortable, blushing, or laughing nervously. Knowing that other people around feel an empathetic awkwardness on your behalf doesn’t help. And in some situations, embarrassment is transitive: when that friend you brought to a party drinks too much and acts inappropriately, you feel embarrassed as well.

Why Would a Person Be Embarrassed to Buy Something Online?

So why, within the relative anonymity of the internet, do people feel embarrassed to buy certain things online? Researchers from Indiana University, the University of Michigan, and Koç University in Istanbul conducted a study of men over age 35, and their experiences buying the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra in person and online. In person, whether a man bought Viagra to increase sexual enjoyment or to treat chronic erectile dysfunction, men had feelings of embarrassment making the purchase.

Online, however, things were a bit different. Men who purchased Viagra online from the privacy of their own homes to treat erectile dysfunction still felt embarrassed buying Viagra online. Yet men who purchased Viagra online to enhance their sexual enjoyment felt much less embarrassed. The fact that men who purchased Viagra online because they felt like they had to have it in order to perform sexually were unable to uncouple embarrassment from the purchase process, even when purchasing in private.

It Turns Out, Nobody Cares When You Do Something Embarrassing

Face it: most people are more concerned with themselves to notice what’s up with you.

 

According to Frederic Neuman, MD, there’s nothing wrong with imagining the worst that could happen in a given situation – say, you encounter your child’s teacher while filling your prescription for Viagra. While you may imagine being the topic of much conjecture and becoming temporarily famous in the teachers’ lounge the next day, in reality, other people don’t really notice us and what we’re doing that much. While the purpose of Neuman’s article in Psychology Today is that it’s somewhat sad that we don’t care much about what we see others going through in public, the upside is that those situations we find embarrassing often go completely unnoticed by others.

And You Can Dispel Awkwardness By Confronting It

We’ve all done something embarrassing and then immediately tried to act as if nothing happened. While this can sometimes work (since people don’t notice us nearly as much as we imagine), there’s a better way to conquer awkwardness: by owning it.

A 2012 study by John Jay College professor Joshua Clegg found that, as expected, when people described embarrassing or awkward situations, they consistently recounted having been anxious to make the situation go away as quickly as possible, often by pretending nothing happened.

However, Clegg found that those who resolved awkward situations best were the ones who confronted the situation directly, often using humor to acknowledge the situation. Owning up to a situation that’s embarrassing shows courage, and helps both yourself and others feel better about the situation. Nobody’s immune to awkward moments, but when you show that you recognize them, handle the discomfort, and move on, you can minimize the effects on your sense of self, and often gain the respect of others.

Buying Online Is Easier When You Choose Your Source Carefully

So how does a person cope with the feelings of embarrassment that still sometimes strike when purchasing sensitive products online? One of the best ways is to thoroughly research providers you consider before making an order. An online provider that has been around for a long time, that is open and forthright about their physical location (by having an address and phone number with an area code that corresponds to the address right on their website) is more likely to have a good track record of getting things right. In other words, you’re less likely to have to call them back later and relive that awkwardness because something went wrong.

Avoiding sketchy websites, particularly those that say you can buy Viagra without a prescription, is smart too. Sure, it may be a little easier to think of an unknown stranger in some far-away country preparing and shipping your order, but if you experience problems, they’ll almost always be worse than had you chosen a provider that has built up a solid reputation. And there’s also the slight possibility that if US Customs and Border Patrol intercepts a package of Viagra that’s addressed to you, they could be giving you a call. Then you’re faced with the potential awkwardness of Customs knowing you were buying Viagra overseas.

Conclusion

The sheer popularity of Viagra and drugs like it has made discussion of erectile dysfunction much less taboo and much more accepted than it was a generation ago. But there’s still a ways to go until men are as comfortable buying Viagra as they would be buying motor oil.

At eDrugstore.com, we work with US-licensed pharmacists to dispense name brand lifestyle medications like Viagra at competitive prices and with a strong commitment to customer service. We want to get your order right, get it to you quickly, and make the buying experience positive enough that you’ll be comfortable ordering from us again. And we do that by taking you and your privacy seriously throughout the buying process.

Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+