PITTSBURGH — For some people, being stuck inside during the COVID-19 pandemic meant far more opportunities for some bedroom fun with their partners. That was especially the case for one segment of the American population in particular. Middle-aged and older men who suffer from erectile dysfunction were making love more than ever before during lockdowns, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that impotence pill sales soared during the pandemic. They say that demand for daily-use erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra skyrocketed shortly after the start of the pandemic. The demand was driven by middle-aged men, perhaps hoping to bring an intimate spark back into their relationships.
It had been widely assumed by scientists that sexual activity “took a nosedive” during the early chaotic months of the coronavirus pandemic. Isolation brought many into depression-like funks and may have been more damaging to relationships than helpful. But the new study challenges that popular narrative.
“We saw a huge spike in sales of daily use erectile dysfunction drugs, which suggests that some people were having more spontaneous sex than ever–with their partners at home, they wanted to always be ready,” says study senior author Dr. Benjamin Davies in a statement. Davies is the director of the Urologic Oncology Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and professor at Pitt’s Department of Urology.
In a review of retail figures, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, the research team reveals that sales of prescription daily-use erectile dysfunction drugs, such as tadalafil, soared after March last year when the country went into nationwide lockdown.
Scientists used the sales rates of the widely available erectile dysfunction drugs as an indicator of the amount of sexual activity. They compared the changes in sales trends pre-pandemic, before March last year, and after the pandemic was declared, between March and December last year. To account for possible fluctuations of drug sales due to other factors, such as ease of access to pharmacies, the researchers tracked the sales of urological drugs, which didn’t change in the months after the pandemic was declared.
The study shows that after a short decrease in March and April, the sales of erectile dysfunction drugs have enjoyed a steady increase ever since.
The sales of tadalafil, in particular, a longer-acting drug designed to be taken daily to help with spontaneous sexual activity, nearly doubled between February and December of 2020.
“Changes in sales of erectile dysfunction drugs can indicate important problems and point out issues in people’s general well-being,” says Davies.
SWNS writer Stephen Beech contributed to this report.