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Clinton O’Neal is a genetic marvel. He’s nearly 6-foot-4 inches tall, his physique consists of layer upon layer of hulking muscle and is devoid of visible body fat. According to a handful of his past lovers, each of whom asked to be kept anonymous, Mr. O’Neal is also well-endowed. It’s his most prized possession aside from the multigenerational collection of pornography he has tucked away in his closet.

Clinton’s appetite for watching adult movies was nearly on par with his desire to engage in the real thing. He’d regularly forgo meet-ups with female acquaintances in exchange for solitary moments on his sofa. The severity of Clinton’s pornography fetish eventually morphed into a real problem. One night, after splitting an entire bottle of Don Julio tequila, he and a voluptuous guest succumbed to their primal inclinations. But O’Neal couldn’t get aroused. The woman picked up her clothes and marched out the door.

“That ordeal really messed with my head. I would watch porn, even my favorites, and nothing worked,” he said. This embarrassing moment prompted O’Neal’s decision to experiment with Viagra and other penis-enlargement products. He initially resisted the prospect of soliciting outside help to solve a very personal problem. But eventually his ego was usurped by a mounting fear that at some point he would again experience the humiliation of a woman’s eyes glazing over in response to his “deflated” genitals. Rather than relying on late-night infomercials and Google, O’Neal made the practical choice of consulting a physician’s expertise in regard to the effects of Viagra.

He assumed the meeting would end with a doctor’s note prescribing a brand new set of shiny, blue pills. What ultimately transpired, however, was an impromptu lecture about the myths behind erectile dysfunction (ED) as well as those regarding the influence that race has on the size of a man’s sexual organs.

Clinton’s physician, bespectacled and gray-haired, assured him that most adult males, regardless of their nationality, are equipped with a penile length that on average ranges from five to seven inches. However, a man’s girth, the doctor explained, typically “varies from one patient to the next.”

In a study conducted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (Nnewi, Nigeria), a group of 115 adult males were examined to determine whether there’s a correlation between penis size and race. The results were compared with similar studies on males of other ethnicities, which were accessible to the authors. Examinations were performed in various cities across the globe, including Italy, Greece, Korea, Britain, and the United States of America. In conclusion, the average full-stretch penile length of Blacks was the largest (13.37 cm) and the mean flaccid length was 9.36 cm.

“This aspect, if anything, is what separates the men from the boys,” O’Neal’s physician explained half-jokingly. “Length plays a minimal role in giving a woman sexual pleasure.

“But watching too much porn has the potential to delay, or in some cases, impair a man’s ability to have erections, even if he’s in the company of an affectionate woman. You may be struggling with that problem.”

According to everydayhealth.com, evidence increasingly suggests that erectile dysfunction may be one of the side effects of men’s fascination with porn, and it also may be turning into a more common problem of men’s sexual health.

“Due to the pornography available on the Internet, we are finding out that this type of sex dysfunction is a real entity,” said David B. Samadi, MD, chairman of the urology department and chief of robotics surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “It is a problem in the brain, not the penis.”

To some extent, porn-related ED can affect anyone, but Dr. Samadi said he sees it mainly in younger men who are in their teens and early 20s.

Benchmark research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore found that about 18 million American men have ED, meaning they’re unable to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. The problem can be physical, relating to blocked blood flow to the penis; psychological; or a combination.

“Most of the time, chronic disease, such as heart disease or diabetes, contributes to erectile dysfunction, but in my particular practice, I will say 15 to 20 percent of the erectile dysfunction I see is related to porn consumption,” said Muhammed Mirza, MD, an internist based in Jersey City, N.J., and the founder of ErectileDoctor.com.

It’s not necessarily how much porn a person watches. The type can also play a role, Samadi said. Unlike the soft-core porn images seen in such magazines as Playboy or Penthouse, online pornography is generally more graphic and often depicts kinky, deviant, or even violent behavior. It’s also available 24/7.

Porn can lead to unrealistic expectations that increase a person’s tolerance for sex. Samadi likened the phenomenon to what occurs when someone consistently drinks more and more alcohol. Eventually, that person has a harder time feeling inebriated. The same happens with porn and sexual performance.

Most likely, a case of porn-overload is what caused O’Neal, then 27 years old, to experience his first bout of ED on that fateful night in his apartment.

“Every now and then I get flashbacks of her yawning while I tried to regain my composure,” he joked.

“It doesn’t help that women expect Black men to (be well-endowed). It’s a cultural thing, and if we can’t deliver, they [women] lose respect for us as men. All you have to do is listen to music these days. Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, even Beyonce, they all write lyrics about how they can only be satisfied by a certain size. Other women hear that crap and it influences their expectations of how sex is supposed to feel, and how big a man should be. It’s a lot of added pressure. Some guys believe they need an extra boost to get the job done. For a while, that’s how I felt.”

Looking for a quick fix to exorcise his demons of self-doubt, O’Neal woke up one morning and made a beeline for his laundry room. Like a man possessed, he rummaged through a heap of stale clothes, hoping to locate a pair of jeans containing a business card given to him three months earlier by an underground pharmacist.

“He calls himself the D- Doctor,” O’Neal explained. “I met him through a co-worker. Before that, I wasn’t aware of how many young guys, especially Black guys, were taking this stuff. He had all kinds of pills and sold them out the trunk of his car and for cheap. The pills had names like ‘Black Gorilla,’ ‘Kangaroo’ and ‘Sea Monster.’ I played it safe and chose Viagra. I figured that if senior citizens could use it without dying, there wouldn’t be much risk for me.”

Viagra (sildenafil), and other prescription drugs created to improve male performance, relax muscles found in the walls of blood vessels and increases blood flow to particular areas of the body. It was synthesized by a group of pharmaceutical chemists working at Pfizer’s research facility in Sandwich, Kent, England. The “little blue pill,” as it’s often called, was initially studied for use in hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (a symptom of ischaemic heart disease).

Viagra was patented in 1996, and approved for use in erectile dysfunction by the FDA on March 27, 1998, becoming the first oral treatment approved to correct erectile dysfunction in the United States. It was offered for sale in the United States later that year. It soon became a great success and annual sales peaked in 2008 at $1.9 billion.

Viagra is certainly the major player in regards to enhancement drugs, but senior citizens today have access to numerous alternatives including brands like Cialis, Levitra, and ExtenZe. This phenomenon is due to medical science extending the human life-span, which means people aren’t spending their twilight years hunched over a bowl of porridge – they’re actually living…and having sex. A new study finds up to 54 percent of elderly men and 31 percent of elderly women report having sex at least twice a month. It’s no wonder why the market is saturated with an overabundance of sexual enhancement drugs. But there’s a catch, most insurance companies aren’t willing to shell out the hundreds of dollars it costs to purchase Viagra and other impotence-fighting supplements. When it comes to buying 10 Viagra tablets of 100mg each, costs are as follows at each of these chain pharmacies:

CVS: $446.99 ($44.70 per tablet),

Walgreens: $420.99 ($42.10 per tablet),

Walmart: $421.20 ($42.12 per tablet).

To avoid breaking the bank, a growing number of middle-aged and elderly men are opting to acquire medication like Viagra through illegal means. In a classic case of supply-and-demand, the outpouring of concern over these high-priced prescription drugs has given rise to several underground pharmacies, particularly within the confines of inner-city Los Angeles. In the parking lot of a Winchell’s Donut shop, a street dealer has made a living for the past six years by selling Viagra illegally to African American males of a certain age. He believes his hustle provides a service to seniors, many seeking excitement in their golden years, unwilling to submit to the mundane activity of languishing in a day room with other elderly peers. Asking to be kept anonymous, the dealer, who for the sake of this article will be given the name Charlie, has cultivated a sizable roster of clients, mainly older men. He sells his merchandise at an extremely low cost. His rates are as follows: 10 mg ($5), 20 mg ($15), and 50 mg ($25).

One fellow entrepreneur—who has also set up shop at Winchell’s selling single cigarettes—considers Charlie a predator of the elderly.

“That motherf- is preying on old men, he takes their pension money selling them Viagra so they can get young hookers,” said 60-year-old “Terrance Brown,” a retired city worker. “He needs to be selling condoms to his customers before they catch something. Most of the prostitutes out here have STDs.”

Ironically, emerging reports suggest an increase in HIV and AIDS diagnosis among elderly Black men across the U.S. In many cases, they transfer these diseases (and others) to their wives or significant others, who at a certain age see little to no reason for using contraceptives. The greatest rise is geriatric AIDS cases have been among elderly persons of color, and particularly African Americans. This “alleged” phenomenon is clearly a sign of the times, where society’s culture of self-satisfaction often overrules logic and personal safety. On the bright side, however, if an old man (or young buck) in Los Angeles is suffering from ED, all he has to do is make a stop at the local Winchell’s where Viagra may be cheaper than a glazed donut.