Sunday, March 01, 2009

Feelings - regarding Erectile Dysfunction

In my August 27, 2007 blog entry I "came out" (amongst my tiny readership) about having erectile dysfunction issues. Though it is difficult to talk of such issues, it is important within me to not be silent - as we men often are - about our feelings particularly regarding issues which may be embarrassing to us.

In 1995 I first had questions about something being slightly wrong and gradually it has gotten worse since then. I have had one instance of faintly faintly satisfactory intercourse with the help of a vacuum pump over the past 1 1/2 to 2 years or so. I can feel aroused and orgasm (though orgasming is getting slightly more difficult to do gradually over time) but not get fully erect.

My most recent urologist indicated to me that most men he sees with these issues begin having problems in their 40's. I had naively assumed that it was a "late 50's and older" issue when clear medical causes didn't intervene at a younger age.

I would like to focus now upon feelings, rather than mechanics.

My feelings do not relate to feeling like I'm not a "man" or "real man". I certainly have feelings of insecurity. I wish that I could please my partner and feel good inside in a way that I used to take for granted. Thankfully she accepts me (for the most part) as I am.

The most prevalent feeling I have related to my erectile dysfunction is that I'm (symbolically) beginning a Path Towards Death - at its earliest stages. Logically I know that I could lose all sexual feeling in my penis and still be very much alive, but it doesn't feel that way.

I think of moving towards death as a process of increasing pains and lessening abilities physically and mentally. My getting slower in other areas is not yet as vivid within my imagination as my loss in my penis.

A related feeling is that of losing control (in this instance of Not Feeling what is there). I sense that women are forced as girls and women to cede control in ways that often as primarily het, White, middle class men we commonly don't face absent disabilities or traumas until we are really aging. We don't face menstruation, childbirth, nor being harassed because of our gender often by others we don't know.

I've been very lucky in my life to have never (so far) broken a bone nor had a really major injury or illness. For the most part until e.d. intervened, I was used to feeling like most things with my body were "earned" whether good or bad. I ate or drank too much or the wrong things and felt sick. I exercised and my body was and is in shape.

As a younger man sexual arousal and an erect penis went together. Sometimes in seemingly non-sexual situations I'd not be aware of something turning me on until I felt an erection tightening my pants. I used to enjoy sexual times with my lover for several hours at a minimum where I'd be aroused off and on and really enjoying the mutual touch. In such situations my sexual pleasure generally did not correlate with number or frequency of intercourse or orgasms. Getting turned on then was a feeling that tingled and moved me but had quite varying situations. Pleasing my partner and feeling a connection with her was the key ingredient then.

It has been increasingly disconcerting to have little or no sense of whether my penis is marginally erect or totally flaccid. To feel very sexually aroused and to be "totally soft" is unsettling to put it mildly.

In my earlier e.d. days I felt caught in a trap. I had trouble then sustaining erections and lost confidence that I could do so. Gradually my confidence would interfere more and more to the point where I never knew if my softening penis was of physiological or psychological origin.

I am thankful that both my partner and I value physical closeness, affection and touch itself. To feel oneself totally tied to one's penis - would make any man - totally lost with e.d. issues.

It is difficult though to deal with the conflicting feelings when her desires and needs are different from mine. I feel badly that I can't give her a pleasure that she would like to have with me. I want to try to pleasure her however she wants to be pleasured by me. At the same time, as in other areas in our lives, sometimes we both want something, but it's not the same thing. Sometimes we are both separately needy individuals wanting to have the other focusing upon our needs.

E.d. has helped me to realize how lucky I am in most areas in my life. I never felt great about my sex life on the whole, because I took for granted that it would remain as it was. I'm learning not to take other things for granted and to appreciate them more than I used to.

I feel sad to have the e.d. issues I do. I feel lucky in being able to try to share a little of one area of my emotional life here, despite how scary it is to open myself up as I am doing.

Thanks!

16 comments:

Lisa said...

Since this is a highly personal issue, I think you very brave to have written about this.

I can only imagine the kind of potential frustration e.d. can give a man. You've written so beautifully about the full spectrum of issues connected to the condition.

Little comfort, I'm sure, but I am very proud of you for writing about this issue that I'm sure many men would shy away from.

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Anonymous said...

Hi
Very nice and intrestingss story.

John S. said...

I also have ED. In a way, I feel worse than you, cuz this was a choice I made (not realizing it at the time). I was diagnosed w/prostate cancer 8 years ago. I watched my mom die a horrible death from breast cancer cuz she did'nt act soon enough after finding a lump! In a panic, I chose prostatectomy, but now am filled w/regret & depression! I've even been close to suicide! The Uro's lie to their patients about how bad the side effects will be from treatment (they know guys won't submit if they knew the truth). I'm now convinced I did'nt need treatment! I'm also convinced the best solution for ED is a 3-piece implant. (which my insurance wont cover) ALL insurances MUST cover breast reconstruction after a mastectomy--even the other breast! (Federal Law!) We men wont speak up about this disgusting gender discrimination (too embarassing) I just hope I make it a couple more years so Medicare will cover it. If they cut that option, I'm checking OUT!

geo said...

I'm very sorry - John - of both your situation and more importantly your feelings in relation to what you are facing now!!!!! I don't believe that there is one answer that works for all of us - but it is helpful when we see options that we can choose from - even when limited. If - you could somehow reach me privately - so I could safely respond by email (without either/both of us getting drowned in spam)I'd be happy to point you towards a Yahoo email group - which might help support you a little, though it's more intended for female partners. Good Luck!