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Yes, Gay Men Deal with ED Too

While most ED advertisements depict heterosexual couples, gay men experience erectile dysfunction (ED) too. 

 

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, affects tens of millions of men in the United States.

To watch the television ads for ED medications like Viagra and Cialis, you would think that ED only ever affected handsome, middle-aged men married to women. Of course that’s not the case. Erectile dysfunction affects adult men of all ages (although incidence increases with age), in or out of long-term relationships, and in relationships with women or with men. It’s an equal opportunity condition that doesn’t care about a man’s sexual orientation, yet you don’t see male couples in advertisements for the popular prescription drugs used to treat ED.

There are numerous reasons for this, the main one being that advertising in general depicting same-sex couples is still somewhat rare, despite the Supreme Court decision last summer in Obergefell v. Hodges that made same-sex marriage legal throughout the US. Things could be changing however, due to demographic shifts and shifts in attitudes among the general public.

The LGBT Marketing Space in the United States

Today, we’re starting to see general advertisements that depict same-sex couples in some of the more mundane life situations, like making a can of soup, but advertisements with same-sex couples can still expect a certain amount of backlash in the US. In fact, it was only just over two years ago that a cereal ad featuring a mixed-race family received negative comments, prompting Cheerios to eventually disable comments on the video of the commercial on YouTube. Even the relatively tame ads featuring, for example, two dads on Father’s Day, have been the subject of controversy, and many advertisers are wary of pushing boundaries too much. That shows signs of changing, however.

From Targeted Ads to Ads for the General Public

Advertising targeted at the LGBT demographic has been around for a long time. However, much of it was placed in markets specifically known to be gay-friendly or in publications specifically created for the LGBT community. The difference now is that these advertisements are starting to break out of more limited markets and media and be used more in Middle America, in media aimed at the general public. There are many reasons for this. For one, just about everyone, even in smaller towns and more conservative parts of the country, knows at least one same-sex couple, and to young adults, there’s nothing unusual about it. But by and large, ads featuring same-sex couples tend to get their point across quietly.

Capturing Millennial Hearts and Minds

The population distribution in the US is changing, with thousands of baby boomers every day reaching retirement age, and a large contingent of young adults entering the workforce and their prime earning years at the same time. Capturing the hearts and minds of the Millennial generation simply isn’t going to happen with ads that may have worked a few decades ago.

Many Millennials grew up in places where same-sex marriage was legal, and now that it’s legal throughout the US, young people are going to notice if a segment of the population is completely ignored by brands. Therefore, advertisers are starting to shift toward ads that may have been controversial to previous generations, but which represent the America that Millennials experience each and every day. And that includes same-sex couples.

Could Millennials Not Be Old Enough to Bother With Yet?

One reason you don’t see ads for products treating ED aimed at male couples may simply be the fact that, although there are certainly middle-aged and older male couples, ED medications (and their advertisements) are aimed at an older generation with the disposable income to spend on these somewhat pricey drugs, and this older generation in many cases is not used to openly gay couples as their neighbors or LGBT individuals as coworkers. It could be that Pfizer, Bayer, and Lilly see baby boomers, not Millennials, as their target demographic, and this population is not as used to advertising aimed at same-sex couples.

Or Does Viagra Have to Tread Carefully for Other Reasons?

But there could be other reasons that Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra aren’t showing ads aimed at male couples. Ads for these products are already considered controversial, and many more socially conservative consumers find them distasteful, particularly when aired during live sports events, which many families watch together. Since ED medications are already offending some people, even while depicting happily married, opposite-sex couples, the brands may fear even greater backlash if they should include ads directed at gay men in their media buys during programming like live sports or sitcoms.

ED

To Millennials, many of whom grew up where same-sex marriage was legal, there’s nothing out of place about ordinary couples who happen to be of the same sex.

 

Did Obergefell v. Hodges Change Everything?

When the Supreme Court rendered its decision on Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26 of this year, same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states. This landmark Supreme Court decision was certainly not immune to controversy, but it did clarify the status of same-sex relationships in the eyes of the law. This, of course, didn’t mean that people who were opposed to same-sex marriage before the ruling suddenly supported it, so we didn’t see a flood of new advertising depicting same-sex couples. But that is expected to change as all 50 states see same-sex married couples, and as Millennials become the dominant consumer demographic.

Ads for drugs that treat ED will follow along eventually, but it appears these brands are slow to include male couples partly because they know their ads already provoke strong reactions and they don’t want their brand messages to become mired in controversy as old attitudes continue to hang on among some segments of the population.

Conclusion

Most mainstream brands today have concluded that ads containing same-sex couples help them be perceived as relevant and in touch with the real world, particularly as the Millennial generation continues to gain clout as a major consumer force and demand brands that are more forward-thinking and that reflect their actual lives.

Erectile dysfunction doesn’t care whether a man prefers women or men as partners, because the vast majority of the time it has to do with blood flow issues. Medications like Viagra are designed to address these exact blood flow issues. We may not be seeing ads for ED medications that include male couples right away, but as Millennials age into the ED demographic and as American society becomes used to same-sex marriage as the law of the land, you can eventually expect some of those happily married couples in ads for ED medications to be same-sex couples.

eDrugstore.com is a leading provider of erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. Working with US licensed pharmacists, we offer these medications at competitive prices, with the ultimate in fast and discreet shipping. We value each and every customer and have served over half a million of them over 15 years, and are committed to providing the highest levels of customer service with every order.

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+