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.
A quick anatomy lesson: the erectile tissue in the penis is like a sponge. The little holes in the sponge are lined with muscles that stay contracted preventing blood from filling these holes like water balloons – resulting in a flaccid penis. What chemical keeps these muscles contracted and the blood out? Adrenaline.
Any situation that creates a secretion of adrenaline will result in a limp penis – you can not fight or run with a raging boner! Stress, worry, fear, anxiety, and frustration all cause a small secretion of adrenaline. Therefore, they really inhibit an erection.
I have a friend who describes dealing with ED as having a train wreck in his mind. One accident leads to a derailed, jumbled up mess that never seems to get back on track. I remember in my own experience after surgery that constantly thinking “Is it gonna work?” just lead to trouble. Every guy has experienced this to some degree. For most guys, a successful episode or two puts the disaster out of their mind.
Katehakis urges partners (in this case, women) to not blame themselves. There is a tendency, it seems, for some women to assume they are not attractive enough, or sexy enough, or (fill-in-the-blank) enough. Guys blame themselves for not being studly enough. It occurred to me that there must be very few instances in life where both parties take the blame for something that is neither one’s fault.
I think turning sex back into blissful play, with no performance pressure, has to be one of the hardest jobs in the world for men. It certainly starts with rethinking what “sex” is. That word alone is so loaded with baggage, it is a wonder any of us have great “sex.” Is it Penis-In-Vagina? Is it Penis-In-Orifice? Is it Penis-In-Anything at all? (hmmmm…women have been having sex with no penis for millions of years…how DO they do that?)
I have a friend, Sean Christopher, at orgasmicguy.com who likes to avoid the term “making love” due to the pressure and uses “naked relating” a lot. I think that is a great place to start. It’s good advice for everyone – even if you don’t experience ED. Get naked, start relating, start laughing, start having fun. Forget about making love – heck, forget about having sex too.
Get naked and just relate. See what happens.