It started with comparisons, snickers and comments in the junior high shower after PE class and the emphasis just kept growing from there, until some point to where it was just a given – if you don’t boast about your sexual prowess, you don’t say anything at all.
Well, guess what, many of us have moved into the season where we ‘don’t say anything at all.’ And that is more than a bit disturbing to our rather fragile egos. Because this aspect of our lives has so defined us, particularly in Western culture, we have a hard time acknowledging it, much less talking about it with each other. This attitude just complicates the matter further by adding a negative psychological dimension to sexual dysfunction. We begin to fear we can’t perform in that ‘moment,’ so we don’t, amplifying the problem.
Let’s look at a couple of facts before we move on:
Of course, the development of the prescription drug Viagra in the late 1990s changed male sexuality forever, particularly for the over-40 crowd. Not only did more men begin to talk about their sexual activity and problems, but research activity increased as well. Let’s face it, pharmaceutical companies saw huge dollar signs in this game!! All these men running around feeling inadequate because they couldn’t get it up, keep it up or get it off – this is a national emergency rivaling the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009!! Where was the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program when we really needed it?! Ok, ok, let’s keep our heads on here…
While we tend to think that our sexuality is purely a physical matter – ‘Junior’ is either working or not – the reality is that it is both a physical and mental issue. Let’s take a quick look at both areas.
Physical. If you are having symptoms of ED, start with a visit to your family doctor. He or she will probably recommend a full physical to get a sense of your general health. Beyond that, not all physical aspects of a relationship have to be sexual.
Mental. I’ve found that when we are anxious about our ability to perform, it affects other aspects of an otherwise very enjoyable relationship. We can become fearful or anxious. This is a mind game we’ll want to win.
Look, we’re getting older and not everything is going to work as it once did. That’s a given. Most men experience a decline in function, not a complete collapse. In our youth we might have worried about showing up too soon for the show, now we increasingly wonder if we will show up at all! But we can – and will!