DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’m having a problem that I’m not sure what to do. After losing two wives to cancer in the last 40 years I don’t want a steady woman in my life. At 71 I am still young in my mind but getting an erection and keeping it long enough to have sex, even with ED pills, has been a problem. This has happened more than few times and it ended a couple of relationships. Is there a point in life that it just won’t get up anymore? Am I in denial?
Please help me so I don’t embarrass myself again
Don’t Want To Be Mister Softee
DEAR DON’T WANT TO BE MISTER SOFTEE: So, fun fact: as we get older, our bodies change and things don’t necessarily work the way they used to. This includes our junk. As we age, the hormones we produce differ, tissues aren’t as robust or elastic as they used to be, muscle fibers break down and suddenly things we could count on – vaginal wetness, erections, volume of ejaculate, and so on – seem to quit on us. Which wouldn’t be nearly as frustrating if we didn’t still have the desires to go with those physiological responses.
But hey, welcome to the future, where medical science and horny engineers have figured out answers and work-arounds for nearly all of these problems!
However, this – as the commercials say – depends on your being healthy enough to have sex. Which is why in your case, DWTBMS, the first thing I’d do is talk to a doctor if this is happening consistently and not just with partnered sex. If you’re able to get hard, stay hard and get off when it’s just you, then this would suggest that the issue is more psychological than physiological. Dicks can be divas, and often will refuse to perform if everything isn’t just right. The first (or even second) time you can’t keep it going could create a loop of nervousness that runs in the back of your mind that ends up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s frustrating as hell, but the more worried you are that you won’t rise to the occasion, the more likely it is that your erstwhile Pavarotti will refuse to leave his dressing room to do his aria.
However, if this is happening regularly enough regardless of whether there’s anyone else in the room… that’s a potential health issue that you should look at first. If Viagra or Cialis is getting you somewhat hard but you’re not staying hard enough to actually achieve orgasm or even penetration, then you may want to make sure that there aren’t medical issues getting in the way. If, for example, you’re having circulatory problems or an issue with your prostate, it doesn’t matter how many little blue pills you pop. No amount of desire can break the laws of physics; if you aren’t getting enough blood to the spongy tissues of the penis, then the spirit may be willing but the hydraulics are weak.
Now, assuming that you are healthy and this isn’t some lurking health issue, then you have a lot of options. ED meds may not be keeping you hard, but this is where fun with physics comes in. Erections happen because of blood flow to the penis. During arousal, blood fills the spongy tissues, causing them to become engorged and making your penis hard. After orgasm, while prolactin and other hormones flood your system, the blood leaves the tissues, causing your erection to deflate. But if the blood is prevented from leaving the penis, then your penis stays hard and you keep your erection.
So one option would be to use a cock ring. These are exactly what it says on the tin: rings that go over the shaft and sit at the base of the penis, fitting just tight enough that blood can’t leave the tissue, keeping you hard. Cock rings are sometimes used in conjunction with penis pumps in order to draw blood to the penis and cause it to be engorged, then hold it in place until you’re ready to be done having sex. There’re even many versions of cock rings that have any number of add-ons and options, including vibrators (both for you and your partner).
However, if you do decide to use a cock ring, you want to make sure that you don’t improvise one (no tying string around the base of your penis, unless you’re done having a penis) nor do you want one that’s made out of metal. You want one that, in the case of emergency, can be removed without a visit to the ER or – failing that – an ER that has access to an angle-grinder. Similarly, you don’t want to leave it on for long, especially not after you’re done having sex. There’s a reason why the ads for ED medication say “talk to your doctor if your erection lasts longer than four hours”. This isn’t because you’re calling them to brag, but because blood staying in your penis for that long is very bad for you and leads to things like “having to extract the blood via multiple syringes”, which is a thought that would probably kill your erection deader than the dodo.
Another option would be to use an artificial penis for the penetration portion of the evening. There’re strap-ons that are designed specifically for people with penises, who may want girth, length or staying power that their bio-dicks don’t have; the dildo fits at the top of the pubis, above your penis and allows you to bang with the same hip motions you would be using otherwise. There’re also versions that strap on elsewhere – such as your thigh – if you or your partners prefer that they do the grinding or your hips don’t move the way you’d prefer. Or you could always go the hand-held route, which would be self-explanatory.
This, incidentally, doesn’t necessarily leave you in the lurch. There’re sex toys for people with penises who can’t get erect, but still want to ejaculate. These range from prostate massagers to vibrators that go either over the penis or on your perineum and stimulate you to orgasm, even without an erection. You can take turns over who gets off when, or you could see about using the two in conjunction with one another.
And – as I’m always telling folks with ED or shy penises – that while your dick may go soft, your hands, fingers, thighs and tongue never do. Getting good with your hands, mouth and other parts besides your penis will actually work quite well for your love life. Most women don’t orgasm from vaginal penetration or from penetration alone, and most men tend to treat oral sex or manual sex as something “extra” instead of, y’know, sex. Trust me: going down on a lady friend like a champion is going to win you many, many points from the ladies in your life.
At the same time however… I’d strongly suggest that you date women who may be a bit more open-minded or adventurous than the ones you’ve been seeing. If you’re seeing women – especially women who’re age-appropriate – who don’t or can’t accept that a penis at 71 isn’t going to act like a penis at 17, then part of the problem is that you’re seeing the wrong women. However, a woman who’s going to appreciate that you’re more versatile than some of her other prospects and who gets that the tool isn’t what matters so much as the person wielding it? That’s someone who is going to be a prize and comfort in your life.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, email@example.com