February 26, 2011
Levitra, Viagra, and Cialas ads are ever present on TV and in the papers. The country seems to be fixated on erections and man’s inability to be “in the moment.” Adolescents and adults are requesting prescriptions so they don’t have to be preoccupied with worries about their performance. Why are they worried in the first place? Erectile dysfunction has gone center stage. Does your kitchen turn into a tropical paradise with that unexpected touch? Of course not!
Robin Williams defined, “same sex marriage” as, after 25 years of being together, the sexual act becoming a routine: same time, same place and same position. As a family physician, I find myself counseling both men and women about sex and intimacy. Robin is right on the money when he jokes about “same sex marriage.” The conversation is about sex; the issues are complex.
Men want help with their erections. TV commercials have added to an already difficult problem by creating the image of the super stud, always ready and willing. They ignore the fact that they are overweight and out of shape and on medication because they are overweight and out of shape. They ignore the fact that their wives are menopausal and changing. They forget about romance and emotional intimacy. They do not understand the complexities of their aging bodies. They fail to understand the impact, on their wives, of having teenage children in the other room. They forget the fact that their wives worked all day and are exhausted. They ignore the fact they are exhausted. They want a chemically driven erection.
Women are also cursed by the plethora of TV commercials. They are depicted as instantly receptive to the right touch. They are supposed to be always ready and willing. They, too, are affected by aging. Menopause often affects libido. It also causes physiologic changes including vaginal dryness which often leads to pain on intercourse. They do not ignore the fact that they are overweight and out of shape. Instead, they feel less attractive and sexy. They are plagued with the same lack of romance and emotional intimacy. The kids in the other room are their responsibility.
So, what can you do? One of my colleagues’ favorite expressions is, “you’ve got to think outside of the box.” He is right. Medications may be part of the answer. The real answer is in recognizing the limitations of age, getting into shape physically and emotionally, and changing the rules of engagement.
Youth is spontaneous and fun. Find the spontaneity! Find the teasing and playfulness you once had. Get out of the house. Even if you don’t have children living at home, your house is a needy dependent. It’s hard to be sexy when the clothes need cleaning, the garbage needs to go to the curb and the phone is ringing. Leave your spouse at home and take the person you dated and married out to dinner and a show. Laugh and love and maybe end up in a hotel. Recreate the past or create a totally new future, whichever suits you best. Just don’t let life become a routine.
If you live in Illinois, make reservations at The Herrington, in Geneva. It is a very romantic spa and a great place to start your new life together. Talk a lot. Most of all, relax and have fun.