In the tour through my life, I’ve decided to re-read “The House of God (HOG).” It was published the year I started my internship in the south Bronx, N.Y.  It’s a great read.  It opens with the following statement, “Life is like a penis.  When it’s soft you can’t beat it.  When it’s hard you get screwed.”  I’ll let you think about that for a while.

I interviewed and accepted a family practice residency at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.  The director of the program was impressive.  He promised great things.  Boy, was I sold a bill of goods!  My program sucked.  Perhaps they all suck as suggested by the author of “The House of God.”  Staying sane for the three years I was at LGH was not easy.  Renee was my anchor and kept me afloat during my internment in LGH. When I first read this book, I took to heart the statement, “It is impossible to be depressed with an erection” (HOG).  Never a truer statement has been said and Renee successfully treated my depression during my stay at LGH and subsequently.  Who needs a SSRI when you can have can have erections.

Obviously, I’ve strayed from my original intent in writing this article; but since I’ve gone in this direction, I might as well continue.  When you look at the number of people either reading or sharing a particular article, a pattern forms.  My readership goes up when I mention sex.  In other words, mentioning sex gets a rise out of my readers. 

One of the most difficult problems to discuss with a patient was always anything sexual.  Patients were often very hesitant to bring up the subject and, when they did, often held back key information.  Further complicating the issue was that most of the time, significant others were involved in the conversation, knowingly or unknowingly.  Then there is the problem of what is “normal” and what is “abnormal.”  For simplicity’s sake, the answer to that question is: anything you want to do is normal and anything you don’t want to do is abnormal.  At the onset of therapy, the problem is that, in the eyes of the patient, it’s always the partner’s fault; and often your partner refuses to engage in counseling as he/she/it know what’s coming.  When you take blame out of the equation and insert understanding, things improve.

The important point to make is that, if you are having a problem, discuss it with your significant other and your physician.  If they are uncomfortable, ask for a referral to a therapist trained in sexual disorders.  While often your significant other will refuse to join you in therapy, over the 34 years I practiced medicine, I found that, in time, your partner’s curiosity as to what is being said in your sessions will eventually bring her/him/they (or whatever pronoun fits) into the office and counseling.

Most of my readers are in their 60s and 70s.  Some will take offense to this article as anything sexual in nature was considered taboo when we were growing up.  Unfortunately, that attitude is the cause of much of what I treated.  Some will see this article as sexist.  “It is impossible to be depressed with an erection” (HOG) may sound sexist at first but let me remind you that erections are not uniquely male as the clitoris becomes erect when stimulated.

Over the years, the majority of the patients I saw were females.  Because I spent a great deal of my time discussing man’s shortcomings with my female patient, at times, I find myself thinking like a female. (Men tend to be great at taking care of the cars and poor at taking care of themselves.) 

Yes, as we age, hormonal changes complicate things for both sexes, making a trip to the doc even more important. 

Now, your joke of the day.

Ethel checked into a Motel on her 65th Birthday.  She was lonely, a little depressed at her advancing age so decided to risk an adventure. She thought, “I’ll call one of those men you see advertised in phone books for escorts and sensual massages. She looked through the phone book, found a full-page ad for a guy calling himself Tender Tony, a very handsome man with assorted physical skills flexing in the photo. He had all the right muscles in all the right places, thick wavy hair, long powerful legs, dazzling smile, six-pack abs and she felt quite certain she could bounce a dime off his well-oiled buns.

She figured, what the heck, nobody will ever know. I’ll give him a call. “Good evening, ma’am, how may I help you?”

Oh my, he sounded sooo sexy! Afraid she would lose her nerve if she hesitated, so she rushed right in, “I hear you give a great massage. I’d like you to come to my motel room and give me one. No, wait, I should be straight with you. I’m in town all alone and what I really want is sex. I want it hot, and I want it now. Bring implements, toys, everything you’ve got in your bag of tricks.  We’ll go at it all night … tie me up, cover me in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, anything and everything, I’m ready! Now how does that sound?”

He said, “That sounds absolutely fantastic, but you need to press 9 for an outside line.”

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