Even online Viagra purchase can make people blush

New York, Aug 7 (IANS) If you are shy about of buying Viagra publicly, making the purchase privately and online can make you equally embarrassed, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

People often are embarrassed when buying sensitive health care products online — products such as home test kits and medications for incontinence and sexual dysfunction, said the study by Aradhna Krishna, professor of marketing at Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and colleagues.

“There is a misconception that buying products online insulates consumers from being embarrassed,” said study co-author Kelly Herd, assistant professor of marketing at Indiana University in the US.

“But while the product may arrive at the doorstep discretely, the act of purchasing is what triggers the embarrassment,” Herd noted.

“You still feel embarrassment because you’re judging yourself. It’s not about you even thinking about others judging you,” she explained.

The researchers initially set out to confirm their view that embarrassment is an emotion that also can be experienced in private settings, through a random online survey of 177 people who were asked to describe their own publicly and privately embarrassing experiences.

A follow-up survey of 124 people presented them with a potentially embarrassing scenario involving purchasing an over-the-counter medication for incontinence.

Herd and her co-authors found that the intensity of embarrassment felt did not lessen when the scenario involved a private, online purchase.

In fact, it often was worse.

The researchers conducted another study involving purchases of Viagra for impotence versus pleasure.

They surveyed 304 men over the age of 35, reflecting the target market for the erectile dysfunction product.

Not surprisingly, the intensity of embarrassment was higher when Viagra was purchased for impotence rather than for pleasure and was higher when purchased in public.

The findings suggest that sellers of sensitive health care products need to make consumers feel more comfortable when buying them.

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

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