After seeing the movie "Taken" for the second time, I was reminded indirectly of those magic blue pills - Viagra. Example of indirect train of thought: girls get sold to powerful people such as sheiks, sheik in the movie was overweight, overweight leads to erectile dysfunction (ED) which is funny considering that he was buying women for sex - hopefully he had some on hand.
First, some statistics. I do not have access to the lists of data from Pfizer, Inc. but Wall Street Journal quoted the following from Pfizer's data: Viagra use results in sex 66% of the time. Men with ED who use Viagra, when compared to the placebo group, experience an increase in erection duration from 3.6 seconds to 1 minute. 50% of men do not refill their Viagra prescriptions, even though it is supposedly effective for ~75% of the population. 48% of users suffer at least one side effect, yet the percentage of men who discontinue due to side effects is 1%.
Side effects, for those who are interested: 23% experience headaches, 17% experience flushed faces, 12% have upset stomachs, and a more obscure side effect (3%) experience vision with blue-green tinges.
Some additional statistics about erections: With every increase in age by one decade there is a decline in erectile function of 12%, and for every 20 pounds of weight gain (beyond optimal, obviously) there is a 3% decline in function.
Now, how to tell whether you have physiological ED or psychological ED. During REM sleep, men and women experience physical arousal, so if a man does not experience erections during REM sleep, it indicates that the ED is a physiological problem treatable by Viagra or similar medications. However, if a man does have erections during REM, then it is psychological ED and Viagra just ignores the real problem. A cheaper method than going to a sleep lab that my cognitive science textbook recommended was wrapping a line of stamps around the penis and checking the perforations in the morning - if they're broken, then there were erections during REM.
On a final note, I thought this article was fascinating. Apparently, the CIA has begun using Viagra as one of the many less conspicuous methods of gaining favor with foreign warlords, particularly tribal chiefs in Afghanistan. It is a very logical move since supplying them with guns or money is dangerous and obvious. However, offering an elderly tribal chief medical treatments for his family, cosmetic treatments, or Viagra for help with his four young wives is more subtle and even more successful. Check out the article if you have a chance - it shows that the CIA does have a few intelligent creative thinkers on staff.