In the course of science, as we pursue treatments for one disease or ailment, there are often serendipitous turns of events that produce results that can eclipse the intended result. Take aspirin, for example. It has been a pain medication for over a hundred years.
Yet its anticoagulant effect has made it a favorite for preventing heart attacks and reducing the damage of strokes. Viagra began as a blood pressure medicine for heart patients. During trials, the men began to report a wonderful side effect. In the rapidly developing world of sexual medicine, the invention of a new kind of vibrational therapy for the treatment of ED has produced what is probably the best male vibrator ever.
There is an oft quoted poem by John Donne, written in 1624. The first lines are: “No man is an island, entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main.” (As an interesting side note, the last line of this same poem gave Earnest Hemingway the title of his most famous book, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”).
The idea is that no man functions independently of his fellow man. I often think the same thing about how men treat their penis.
Believe it or not, you can masturbate badly. We’re not talking about it being bad to masturbate – that’s a moot point to almost anyone reading this! But many, many guys develop solo sexual habits that can ultimately have a harmful effect on the rest of their sex life.
In a week, I probably talk to 25 men about sex and sex problems. So many of their problems can be traced back to bad solo sex training. Whether it’s premature ejaculation, delayed orgasm, or no orgasm, part of the trouble has stemmed from their solo sex lives.
Isolation is one of the most difficult aspects of men’s sexual medicine. It’s almost part of the Man Code – Don’t talk about it. Whether it’s coming to soon, or losing your erection in the middle of sex, or never getting it to begin with, the first response is frustration, then embarrassment, then shut down.
I got an email the other day from a lady who was asking for advice about how to deal with her new fiancé and his ED. I get quite a few letters from women, actually. (We really do need to start a support site for them). They were both in their 50s and had recently become engaged.
He started experiencing ED problems and began to withdraw and avoid sex and any physical contact. She was wondering what to do. He did not want to talk about it. He said he loved her, but would not discuss THE problem, or the bigger problem of not talking about it. She was now worried that she had made a mistake in getting engaged.
There were two articles this past week about erectile dysfunction that caught my eye. The first was in the Huffington Post “Erectile Dysfunction: Why it May Be a Sign that He Really is into You.”
Alexandra Katehakis talks about how some pretty strong feelings of attraction and wanting to please, connect, and impress, might lead to some pretty limp moments. The second article was a study released in Sweden and couples in fertility treatment who are required to have intercourse at specific moments in order to conceive. Months of that performance pressure lead to ED (for 10% of the men, it also lead to affairs). In both of the situations, stress is the culprit.
It’s always nice to find a really good reason to encourage masturbation. The mental, emotional, and sexual benefits have long been extolled on this board. But just last week, I was reminded of another very, very good reason for men to masturbate.
I had a friend at work (he knows what I REALLY do for a living) come up to me and look around for a minute. “Can I talk to you for a second?”
I love it when that happens. First, it means the conversation is finally going to become interesting – usually sexual in nature. Second, it means that this person is taking a real risk and is going to be vulnerable for a few minutes. That’s where I like dealing with people – the pretense is down for a few minutes and we’re going to be honest. “Sure,” I said.
We men are often clueless about a lot of things (OK, most things). One of the more interesting realizations I’ve come to is that men love penises far more than women do. We men think our penis is the best invention ever. Look at all the cool things it can do! Look at all the cool places we can stick it! Look at all different ways it can feel good! Who could possibly not think our penis was the best toy in the whole world? Women.
Sometimes it seems to me that women put up with our penis because it makes us so happy. I had a friend who looked at some artistic nudes with his wife. He was shocked to learn that she did not find male genitals beautiful – in fact she told him she thought they reminded her of “something like giblets”. Those kinds of sentiments leave us men speechless.
I was shocked to discover some time ago that 86% of doctors in the USA do not ask their male patients about their erectile function or sex life. This is especially crazy since it is now proven that erectile problems are the proverbial “canary in the cave” that signals trouble long before other symptoms appear. Heart disease, coronary disease, cholesterol, diabetes can all show up as erectile problems years before any other symptoms do.
I have guys tell me all the time that having ED has shaken them to their foundations. It turns their world upside down. Believe it or not, most of us men do define ourselves by our penis – and its functions. After all, it is our best friend – it comforts us when we’re down. It helps us celebrate victories. It’s our prized possession.
There is a real sense of betrayal when things start to go south. It’s like the five stages of grief –
Denial (I swear this is the first time it’s happened!)
Anger (C’mon dammit! Work!)
Bargaining (I promise I'll quit masturbating/drinking/porn, etc.)
Depression (I’ll never get laid again)
Acceptance (I’m going to fix this)
For the umpteenth time, I did a Google search. How hard could it be? Page after page after page. Mostly ads. A lot of scams. A lot of far-fetched promises.
I was 47 and 9 months out from prostate cancer surgery and getting a bit worried. Oh, I was cancer free. That was the least of my worries. It was the other issue that was bothering me. THAT issue. The one no one likes to talk about – ED. It had been a rollercoaster of a ride – a week here and there of almost like old times, then nothing. What was going on?