Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - CONTENTS - Linda Ma­her

When Vi­a­gra was dis­cov­ered more than 20 years ago, it was hailed as a ‘won­der drug’ that was go­ing to rev­o­lu­tionise sex, much like the birth control pill did in the 1960s. The un­ex­pected dis­cov­ery that this lit­tle blue pill could help men get and keep erec­tions meant that their sex lives wouldn’t be as im­pacted by age as they were pre­vi­ously. This sounds like great news, right? And for many men it was. But while doc­tors, psy­chol­o­gists and mar­riage coun­sel­lors ex­tolled its virtues, lit­tle thought was given to women and how it would af­fect their lives – some­thing which hasn’t changed much in the in­ter­ven­ing decades. On page 30, we talk to a range of women who have been hugely im­pacted by the drug. From a woman whose hus­band didn’t tell her he was tak­ing the drug so she thought their im­proved love­mak­ing was due to him be­ing more turned on by her, to a woman who, post-menopause, was happy her mar­i­tal sex life had slowed down and now felt pres­sured by her hus­band to want to en­gage in sex a lot more. There are a wide range of sto­ries that prove that, yes, it is a won­der­ful in­ven­tion but, like any drug, it needs to be man­aged. And if a man is in a re­la­tion­ship, he must in­clude his sig­nif­i­cant other in any de­ci­sion about tak­ing Vi­a­gra, af­ter all it is some­thing which will af­fect her just as much. As with the birth control pill, its has ush­ered in bless­ings and curses in equal mea­sure – and I think many of you will iden­tify with some of our sto­ries. I think the world was shocked re­cently when our cover star Mel B al­leged in her mem­oir Bru­tally Hon­est that she had been sub­jected to years of abuse and con­trol­ling be­hav­iour dur­ing her mar­riage to Stephen Be­la­fonte. The sad­dest part of this whole tale is that the Spice Girl spent so many years try­ing to hide her misery from her chil­dren but as you’ll read in their story on

page 20, Phoenix was very aware that some­thing was wrong in the mar­riage. She re­veals that she had to carry the weight dur­ing her teen years. It’s a tragic read, but one that shows the re­silience of them both. It’s also a stark re­minder that if Mel B – Scary Spice, the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of ‘girl power’ – can be scared in her own home, then it’s the ul­ti­mate proof that abu­sive re­la­tion­ships can hap­pen to any­one. Our thanks go to Women’s Aid as a thank you to them for the im­por­tant work that they do for so many women and chil­dren. En­joy the is­sue.

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