Academics believe deep-rooted issues are at the core of young men taking erectile dysfunction pills to boost sexual performance
Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
One of Jamaica's pre-eminent policymakers and a leading academic are agreeing that deep-seated, underlying factors are what drive teenage boys and young men to purchase and ingest erectile dysfunction pills in a bid to boost their sexual performance in the bedroom.
But the well-known child psychiatrist and popular sociologist are disagreeing as to what is the major root cause of the problem.
When presented with the results of a Sunday Gleaner investigation that revealed that even 15-year-old boys were purchasing drugs like Viagra to enhance their libido, Dr Orville Taylor, sociologist and senior lecturer in the department of sociology, psychology and social work at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, described the practice as one of the lingering remnants of slavery.
"The plantation legacy has taken everything from black men and all they end up with is their sexual prowess and they'll do anything to showcase that," said Taylor.
The academic also likened the popping of these erectile dysfunction pills by young men and teenage boys to athletes taking performance-enhancing drugs as there is great pressure to perform.
Taylor also argued that there is an overvaluation of sexuality among men and women. As it relates to the violent sexual lyrics that oft emanate from dancehall music, Taylor also linked it to the lingering vestiges of slavery, but also said that the songs contribute to the problem. "It is both a cause and a symptom," said Taylor.
Dr Judith Leiba, director of child and adolescent mental health in the Ministry of Health, also told The Sunday Gleaner that the practice is a symptom of a much larger problem.
"I feel that it is a symptom of our children's over exposure to sex and the sexualisation of almost every aspect of their lives," Leiba said.
She continued: "I think that our children are viewing a lot of pornography and that is giving them a warped, unnatural view of sex and an unrealistic set of expectations. I think that is what is driving them to do these daring things. It's like a race is on to get more and more excitement."
The child psychiatrist urged parents to be on the ball in a bid to save the nation's children from these pitfalls.
"The caution would be that parents need to be aware of what our children are exposed to, particularly on the Internet," said Leiba.
She advanced further that the sexualisation of the environment via posters and billboards with scantily clad women is seen by almost everyone and parents could discuss what was seen with their children, but the greater danger is hidden on the Internet because parents don't always see what their children are viewing online.
Based on information gathered from her practice, Leiba said it is becoming the norm for young boys to ask young girls for a naked picture when they get into a relationship. That, she said, is a symptom of the problem being posed by pornography.
"It is inappropriate to ask and unwise to comply," she warned.
While Leiba believes the addiction to pornography is one of the deep-seated psychological reasons for young men and teenage boys turning to these pills to improve their performance, Taylor believes pornography has only served to exacerbate a deeper sociological problem.
"That may have worsened the problem, but the roots run deeper," he maintained.