I have erectile dysfunction (ED). I’m 45-years-old. I’ve been given a clean bill of health at least five times over the past three years. I’m with my second therapist in two years. I’m a f**king mess.
This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. More than once I’ve wished for something like cancer rather than deal with this. At least that has an official diagnosis with a roadmap and outline as to how to treat it. I’m aware of how stupid this sounds as I type it. Deep down I don’t mean it but it gives you a glance into just how bizarre and maddening ED is to contend with.
Those jokes made at the expense of the couple holding hands while lounging in individual bath tubs are no longer funny. I get physically ill when I hear “if you have an erection lasting longer than four hours …” and long for the day when I can achieve a multi-hour erection.
While the simple diagnosis is the inability to get or maintain an erection sufficient for sex, it is the fallout/aftermath of this issue that makes ED so difficult to manage. My biggest misstep has been how I’ve handled the fallout of ED, not the inability to get an actual erection.
My purpose for writing this piece and sharing my story (read Part 1) is threefold:
Writing about it is therapeutic
There is virtually no one to talk to when you have ED. Other than my therapists, there is no one else who knows a thing about my issue. I’m not comfortable sharing it with friends and family partially due to shame and embarrassment, but also as a means to protect my relationship with my wife. I don’t need people analysing our interactions during Thanksgiving dinner. While I’m sure my male friends have had their own ED moment or five over the years, they haven’t suffered like we have. Admitting to having ED over a beer isn’t in the cards.
So I’m selfishly dumping it all on you, the anonymous reader. If you haven’t figured it out by now, that is a fake name attached to this story. But simply typing the sentence “I have ED” has an anxiety reducing effect. And I’ll take a reduction in anxiety anywhere I can get it. When you have trouble doing something that’s supposed to come naturally (pun intended and yes, dark humour is alive and well) and something you did with little mental effort your entire life, it’s easy to not grasp how it is playing out. It never feels real. Every morning I wake up and convince myself that this ED is a non-issue. It seems ludicrous and easily solvable.
But it isn’t, at least not right now. Writing about makes it all that more real and I need more of that if I’m going to win out in the end.
Others who suffer need not feel alone
I’ve found a few well written articles that address ED and each of them provided a sense of “I’m not alone.” But the supply is limited. I want to now throw my hat in the ring to help others because Lord knows I still fucking need it. Since I’m writing this while in the throes of ED’s painful grasp, you won’t get any “10 ways to cure ED” listicles from me; as if it were that simple. Instead I’ll tell you where I’ve gone wrong and where I’ve gone right over the past few years. If the reader can breathe just a little bit easier after reading my story, I’ve done my job.