John F. is always the funniest guy in the room. He loves to ski. He works hard. He’s a doting father to 3 kids. He loves his wife fiercely. And sometimes, the 46-year-old has erectile dysfunction (ED). 

The problem started in 2018. After grappling with performance issues for a few weeks, John saw his doctor, who immediately prescribed sildenafil, the generic form of Viagra®. There’s no question the little blue pill has improved John’s sex life. We recently sat down with the Northern California resident to learn more about his journey. (If your health journey includes medication, find the best prices near you with the Optum Perks app. Download it now.)

How long were you having symptoms before seeking treatment? 

John: Not long. My wife and I went to a wedding in Seattle 2 or 3 years ago. We were excited to go because my mother-in-law was watching the kids. The second night, we decided to take advantage of being alone, and I couldn’t perform in the moment. I thought maybe it had to do with partying the night before. That was the first time it was noticeable. The same thing happened a few more times after that. Then I was like, “Hey, what’s going on here?” 

What was the process like at your doctor visit? 

John: It was totally uneventful, part of my regular checkup. Toward the end of the meeting, I told my doctor that my penis wasn’t doing what it should be doing. My doctor is 4 or 5 years older than I am, and when I gave him more details, he agreed something was going on. He wrote a prescription for some pills. That was it. 

To what extent did your doctor say the ED is connected to an underlying condition? 

John: He didn’t. I blamed it on alcohol and being overweight and tired. He said it could have been one of those things, some of those things or none of those things. There’s no shame in my game, and I’m not embarrassed by anything. I was just glad to have something to help. 

What was your actual prescription? 

John: I got 5 pills of generic Viagra. They were $25 apiece. I don’t know what he was doing by just giving me 5. In the beginning, I was like, “Is this good until Friday or good for 6 months?” He told me it was up to me. (Download an instant coupon for your sildenafil prescription now.)

How has your experience with the medication been so far? 

John: It’s definitely made a difference. Even before the pandemic, my wife and I worked from home. She works upstairs, and I work in the dining room. I have 2 computers open all day. We Skype chat all day. Sometimes I’ll be like, “Hey, you want to waste $25 in 5 minutes?” And it’s great. I also don’t need the pills all the time. Sometimes everything works fine on its own. It just depends. 

Any surprises, good or bad? 

John: In terms of intimacy, I think the whole experience has made me a little more emotional. Before all of this, I was very transactional with sex. Now it’s very different. Now I’m really enjoying it, and afterward I think to myself: “I just had an intimate experience with the person that I want to walk through life with.” 

Any side effects? 

John: The first time I took a pill, I didn’t like the way I felt in my head. I had a weird swimming sensation. But the medication did what it was supposed to do. The weird sensation in my head does still happen, but only after sex, so it doesn’t get in the way of anything. (Learn more about common side effects of Viagra, Cialis® and Levitra®.)

What do you want other guys to know about using medications for ED? 

John: There’s no shame in any of this. It is what it is. I’m also taking medication for cholesterol and gout. ED is just another condition I have to manage. 

How does your partner feel about this experience? 

John: She’s been super supportive. She never judges me. A lot of the time we can have sex without the pills. And when I have to take a pill, it’s no big deal. 

Did you know that different pharmacies charge different prices for the same prescription? Find the best deal near you with the Optum Perks app. Just download, type in your medication, and voilà!