Men: ED? See MD — it can save your life

Erectile dysfunction can be a cardiovascular health alarm going off, finds a German study reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.  ED should take you to the doctor’s office and a cardiovascular workup, never ignored. It can be the first sign of atherosclerosis, which can show up in the penis several years before the onset of cardiovascular disease, because arteries in the penis are smaller.

According to an article by Thomas H. Maugh II in the LA Times,

Dr. Michael Bohm, a cardiologist at Germany’s Saarland University, and his colleagues studied 1,519 men from 13 countries who were involved in a study of two drugs to treat cardiovascular disease. The men were also queried about their ED at the beginning of the study, two years into it and at the end at five years. A full 55% of the men had ED at the beginning of the trial, nearly double the normal incidence of about 30% in the population at large.

The team reported that, in the five years of follow-up, men with ED were 1.9 times as likely to die from heart disease, twice as likely to have a heart attack, 1.2 times as likely to be hospitalized for heart failure and 1.1 times more likely to have a stroke. The risks increased with the severity of the ED.

This study is one more of many that point to the need not only to consult a doctor about ED but also to make sure a cardiovascular workup follows.
In writing Naked at Our Age, I hear from many men with ED who are justifiably concerned and exploring medical diagnoses and solutions. But I also hear–often from women whose spouses have developed ED–about men who will not go to a doctor, will not discuss it with their wives, and often withdraw from sex and intimacy altogether. Others may ask their doctor for Viagra or Cialis without ever investigating the cause of the ED. sex educator Corey Silverberg brings up another part of the problem — doctors aren’t trained to talk about sex,and it’s hard to get a useful conversation going about it. True, Corey, but our lives may depend how hard we try.

Don’t ignore ED and don’t just treat the symptoms with drugs– find out what’s going on. Please.

I invite your comments.

“Endless foreplay and multiple orgasms”- she’s 58, he’s 68, ED no barrier

Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty While Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty celebrated the joys of senior sexuality, my new book, Naked at Our Age (coming Spring 2011 from Seal Press) concentrates on the other part — the physical setbacks and emotional challenges of sex and intimate relationships in later life. I have more than a hundred personal stories and a bevy of amazing experts answering questions and addressing concerns.
As I work on this book, the stories keep coming. This one, from Evonne, age 58, struck me as so inspiring and joyful amid all the problems I’m addressing that I had to share it with you right away. It shows that erectile dysfunction doesn’t have to be a barrier to a passionate and immensely satisfying sex life. Evonne’s joy makes me happy, and I hope it does that for you, too.

My fiance (age sixty-eight) and I are in an incredible, sensual, passionate relationship. We met about a year ago. Sparks flew immediately, and we jumped full force into each other emotionally. I must say, I was quite surprised, as I didn’t know I could be that passionate again, and neither did he.

He was widowed, and I was divorced after a long-term marriage where I was rather bored with sex with my ex. My new lover aroused me in ways I never felt before. Neither one of us had had many sexual experiences and were not “world wise,” but what came naturally – whew! What a ride.

My lover has had prostate cancer, and so we didn’t expect much sexually. He is not able to sustain an erection. But–what the man can do with his hands! Wow. He is able to give me “inside” orgasms as well as out. All I can say is endless foreplay and multiple orgasms. I just roll with it and we play for at least an hour.

I pleasure him daily also. At first it was a little weird to kiss and caress him while he was not erect. But I got over it, and he gets so much pleasure out of it and I enjoy doing it for him.

We both are enjoying being truly desired and wanted. I am slightly overweight and always felt uncomfortable about my body with my ex-husband. But, my new lover tells me often how much he loves every inch of me. What a gift to my self-esteem he has been!

We both enjoy cuddling and this is a great source of comfort and intimacy for us. We are both in shock over the pleasure this sexual relationship gives us. Of course, we are in love and I truly believe that we could only reach this level of connection and intimacy in a spiritual committed relationship. We are getting married in June.

We sleep in the nude, which I love also. We believe this greatly enhances our activity as we are always open and available to each other’s touch and arousal usually follows. We plan to cuddle and snuggle–we call it “huggle”–for many years to come!

Doug, 80: “8 penises on his hands”

Doug, a reader from the Philippines, wrote a comment that was so interesting and helpful that I’m excerpting it here so you won’t miss what he said. Doug wrote,

I am 80 years young and have had ED (erectile dysfunction) all of my life. It has taken me a whole lifetime to come to the point of seeing sex but the tip of the relational iceberg.

Yes, I also know that we men are our penises and our penises are the man. This is a mental hang-up that we need to change.

Doug addresses a reader in an earlier post who wrote that her husband can no longer have erections and has given up on sex and communication. Doug says to this reader,

Until your husband can change the way that he sees his masculinity, he’ll never really feel good about himself. He has eight penises on his hands and the best penis in his mouth. And that up close and personal penis can and does give my wife wonderful, body-shaking orgasms, one right after the other, that most penile intercourse cannot come close.

And best of all, my ego isn’t lying on the ground of mental failure. It works for me and it can work for your hubby.

Doug, you’ve been most helpful to our readers here, and I thank you for sharing your perspective. Would you please contact me personally so I can invite you to be in my next book?

No Erection, No Intimacy, No Discussion

Senior citizen intimacy isn’t always easy. There are a lot of changes with our bodies as we age.

Molly, age 63, wrote a comment that was featured in a blog post titled “He thinks he can’t please her without an erection, so why bother?” She recently emailed me an update, and I asked her permission to share it with you:

I wanted to thank you for trying to help with my situation. I was the person who asked what to do when he doesn’t want to have intimacy anymore because he couldn’t get an erection. He just said “why bother?”

Unfortunately, our relationship ended. Not by me, by him. He does not communicate in any way with me. I’ve tried everything to get him to talk to me, but it’s as if I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. This is after over two year relationship.

I took your advice and have contacted a therapist. She has been a great help to me. But somehow I think he would benefit so much from seeing someone, too.

It’s just so unfortunate that my guy thinks so little of our relationship that he only based it on one thing. I wish I could try to turn back time and make him understand that an erection is not everything in a loving sex life. But that’s not possible, he has completely cut me out of his life. Won’t talk, or accept any communication from me.

I still love the man and I think I always will. It’s so sad. Life is so very short not to enjoy it all.

Thanks again for your wonderful blog, I can’t tell you enough how it has helped me cope.

I feel the heartbreak in Molly’s words. She obviously loves this man, but he has shut her out completely.

I don’t think, though, that Molly’s partner’s inability to communicate or accept her loving means that their relationship doesn’t mean enough. I think he’s devastated and depressed by what he perceives to be the end of sexual possibility. It isn’t, we know that, but that’s how he sees it. He may be too stuck and too afraid to seek help.

I hear from men who say they have to unlearn the “I am my penis” lessons they learned as boys and teens. This notion becomes deeply ingrained and is a difficult lesson to unlearn, but the old story no longer serves them, or us.

I know it was difficult for Molly to share her story here, and I hope, readers, that you’ll show her how valuable it was by sharing what you learn here that helps in your own relationship. I’m sure she’ll welcome your warm comments.