In the six years of having my autoimmune disease, I've learned what I need from a person in order to view them as a potential long-term partner.
I’m going to talk about how erectile dysfunction is a blessing in disguise for lovers, but first I have to say something apparently unrelated: I’m not at all happy about HR 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” passing the House. Meanwhile, my own state legislature is restricting access to reproductive health services. If you live in the United States, your state legislature is doing it, too.
This is important because our bodies don’t always work with Swiss-watch precision, especially the squidgy reproductive bits. I myself menstruated for most of 1993, which was hard to explain to the one or two sensitive longhairs I managed to lure out of the hacky-sack circle and back to the trundle bed in my college apartment.
Other times I only trickled the color of root beer every few months. Besides a uterine biopsy and a thyroid test, my various Health Care Professionals didn’t do much more than shrug and offer Big Pharmaceuticals for symptom control.
“You got weird ovaries,” one doctor said. I pouted. As if I didn’t know.
“Sure does affect my ability to receive oral.”
He looked pensive for a minute. “I never considered that.”
Before I left, he gave me samples of Ultram, so I forgave his thoughtlessness. Or forgot it. I can’t remember which. Anyhow, dudes with dysfunctional dicks don’t get real answers from their doctors, either -- just Big Pharmaceuticals for symptom control.
And no, it’s not right that guy pills are covered by insurance (because they are medicine) and gal pills aren’t (because they are a special-interest social issue for slutty sluts). But that doesn’t mean we have to point and snigger at soft boys. They’re not all old white men with institutional power, a boner for boners, and a punitive agenda. Some of them are just as confounded by their body and its betrayals as we are.
Viagra solves part of the issue: Penis is flaccid and must become erect. Viagra can fix that, sometimes for hours. Pfizer’s official site is chock-a-block with stock photos of guys fixing small engines and looking confident. There is not a single concerned-looking stock photo dude. Your body isn’t doing what you want it to do? Bam! Fixed.
Now we can have overlong, pistoning PIV.Yay?
It’s also an incomplete answer. Viagra will not actually turn you and your partner or partners into tender-hearted chuckleheads holding hands at sunset, stupidly confident in your sexual performance and relationship security. It will not banish the fear that your guy just isn’t that into it or you did something wrong. It won’t reassure him that you won’t take it personally and get mad or scared or hurt or defensive, and it won’t fix his feelings of failure, especially if he’s young, otherwise healthy, and just plain pissed-off at himself.
Those problems you must fix yourself. That’s the bad news. The good news is that even just attempting to solve these problems will make you awesome, in and out of bed.
My favorite of the dudes historically responds to stress, lack of sleep, and high blood pressure with occasional ED. Do I mind? Fuck no.
In fairness: There were some conversations, and they were awkward. He’s younger than I am, which has its own set of issues, and dick fail is no fun.
I went through the stages. I denied. (“It didn’t just...shrivel up.”) I was angry, sometimes at him, sometimes at myself. I bargained. I got depressed. Then I just accepted that bodies are imperfect machines with bullshit issues. What you decide to do next makes all the difference.
It’s not that ED guys try harder. They try better. Ironically, they do more of the things that are actually likely to get a woman off: oral, manual, nipples, toys. Kink if it’s mutually desired. And such listening! Their ears, at least, are pricked up. And any situation that requires creativity, adaptability and empathy can be good for you sexually.