Don’t Take It Personally

Posted on February 12, 2015

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Q: What is the most powerful (significant, important) sex organ?

A: The brain

“It’s not you; it’s me.”  Classic cliché break-up line

As I observed in a previous post, Cialis does make beautiful commercials.  This is particularly so if you see them without the audio as I typically do when in the gym.  Middle aged and older couples who look at each other in ways that communicate an intimacy and connection is a beautiful thing.  Enjoying life together is also wonderful.  With what they spend on advertising, it must be a big market.  I did a quick web search and found a 2011 article that indicated that annual spending on ED meds had exceeded $5 billion.

If you are together long enough, there are likely to be some occasions when “Mr. Happy” is not his usual self.  There may or may not be any medical cause for this.  Assuming the man has regular physicals and is in good health with normal testosterone, the relational risk here is in the meaning that the partners assign to his lack of turgidity.  Frequently, the wife will interpret the husband’s lack of an erection as a statement about her sexual desirability or lack thereof.  She assumes that it is because I am too old or too heavy or too something such that he no is longer aroused by me.

Let me offer a public service announcement for wives: “It’s not you; it’s him.”  The first time it happens it is much more likely that he had a bad day at work than that he is not into you.  The second time it is most likely that he is worried about the first time it happened.  Once he is worried about it, the more he tries to get an erection by force of will, the less likely that he can perform.

What is your best response?  Don’t take it personally.  If you take it personally, now he has to prove that he still finds you attractive.  He puts more pressure on himself and has more difficulty.  Intercourse is a wonderful thing, but it isn’t the whole thing.  There is more to the giving and receiving of pleasure than just intercourse.  When the pressure to perform isn’t there anymore, you may find that he becomes his old self again (without the little blue pills).

There is another possible cause here: pornography.  Men who regularly use pornography can have more difficulty performing with their partners.  Some couples look to porn to cure the problem, and it only makes it worse (even if got you past the problem tonight).  Sex is about mutual pleasure, intimacy, and connection.  It is an attachment behavior.  Bringing in strangers with bodies that meet the socially constructed standard of beauty and who have some expertise at the mechanics of sex is not going to restore intimacy in your relationship.

There can be a lot of shame for a man when he has an episode of erectile dysfunction.  Should he actually be cruel enough to suggest that it is you and not him, don’t believe him.  The probable reasons for this are either 1) it is too painful for him to have it be him or 2) he has a porn problem and has developed some unhealthy expectations.

For the guys, try not to let it get into your head.  The pressure you put on yourself will have the opposite effect to the one you want.  Avoid the porn and the alcohol as attempted fixes.  Enjoy being naked with your wife.  Give yourself some time.  Our response time is not as quick in our forties and fifties as it was in our twenties (at which time it probably seemed instantaneous).  In the immortal words of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, “Relax.”

On a lighter note, I was thinking about some advertising slogans, but I don’t think either the porn industry or the drug companies would pay for them.  But here you go.

“If you don’t see Alice on your computer, you won’t need Cialis with your partner.”

“Stick with the one you took to Niagara, and you won’t need Viagra.”

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Posted in: Intimacy, Marriage, Sex