by David Wraith
Funny story: So, I’m on a first date with this girl I’d been crushing on for months. We go back to my place and after a lot of foreplay, I had what I thought was a reliable erection. Literally, the moment I put it in, it went limp. I didn’t get off a single thrust. Being the type of guy I am, I looked her in the eye and said, “So how was that for you?” If she’d said it was terrible, it would have been honest, but slightly hurtful. Had she said it was great, it would have been dishonest and condescending. She tensed her face in to the universal expression for “so-so” and said, “About average,” which was probably the coolest thing to say under the circumstances.
I’ve dealt with erectile dysfunction since I was a teenager. Back then, in the days before Viagra, Levitra and Cialis, we just called it impotence. The first time it happened, the girl I was with said, “Don’t worry. It’s happens to other guys too,” which was probably the most obvious, cliché thing she could have said under the circumstances. I rolled over and asked if she was the one during the Monopoly game that always said, “Wouldn’t it be great if this was all real money?”
I talked to my mom about it. Yes, as a teenager, I talked to my mom about my erectile dysfunction. It’s one of the reasons I love my mother. She offered to make an appointment for me with a friend of hers who was a urologist. She told me he could prescribe topical injections. Once she explained that “topical injections” meant sticking a needle in my own dick when I wanted a hard-on, I lost interest. In retrospect, it’s funny that a needle in my dick was a deal breaker back then, considering some of the things I’ve put it through since (but more on that in next week’s post).
I never tried Viagra, because as I understand it, the boner window is only a few hours and one of the side effects is seeing everything with a blue tint. I’m terrified of fucking with my eyesight and I’d rather not my whole world look like a movie shot by Janusz Kaminski (that’s a deep cut, Google it).
I found a croaker to prescribe me Cialis. I see him so infrequently that every time I go back to get my prescription renewed, he asks me why a young, healthy guy like me would need Cialis. Every time, I tell him that I have trouble maintaining erections while wearing a condom. Every time, he makes this disgusted face and asks why the hell I would wear a condom. And every time he asks me that, I think about getting a new doctor. Then it occurs to me that I only use this guy for Cialis prescriptions, he’s within walking distance of my apartment and it’s only a $14 co-pay.
I decided to go with Cialis because the side effects were milder and one dose last for two days. It’s hella expensive, though. I usually won’t take one unless I have two dates lined up on consecutive days. It really sucks when I take one and then end up not having sex that night. Then it’s just the recurring headaches, sinus pressure and numbness in my finger tips, without getting laid. It’s like shooting heroin and only getting the track marks.
Last February, before the Snowpocalypse of 2011, I made a post on Facebook saying that I need to refill my Cialis prescription before I got snowed in. At first, people thought I was joking. When I told them I was serious, they said that I was brave to talk about it. I guess it’s customary for men not to publicly admit these things. Personally, I like to lower expectations, so on first dates, I tend to bring it up over dinner.
I think the stigma around erectile dysfunction comes from the idea that if a man can’t get instant, long lasting, rock hard erections, there’s something wrong with him beyond a mere psychological or physiological issue, or that he’s somehow less of a man. This kind of sexual shaming is yet another wrong-headed idea that keeps us from our full sexual potential. If publicly admitting that I can’t get it up helps other men (and couples) address their sexual issues, then I’ll take one for the team.
And now, the best song about “not getting it up” ever written: