A couple of years ago, my wife and I were on a winter vacation staying in a remote and lovely cabin. It was pitch black outside with icy rain freezing as soon as it hit the ground, but inside it was pleasantly warm, with the fire burning in the fireplace, painting the room orange with a romantic dancing light. So, one thing naturally led to another and there was only one thing on my mind – a simple question: will I be able to maintain an erection?
How Can it Happen to Me?
Yup, impotence can really happen to anyone, so there I was, a highly fit and healthy person, reasonably mentally grounded and in touch with my feelings, an active practitioner of yoga, eating perfectly by any standards, avoiding drugs and alcohol…
It came so suddenly and inexplicably – my whole life I was able to get rock hard in a split second merely thinking about sex. And then I suddenly discovered I had erectile dysfunction.
It’s not that I wasn’t aroused, or that I couldn’t get it up, everything would be going great, with hot foreplay steaming up our desire, and then just after penetration a personal demon of some kind would whisper a thought into my ear: what if you get soft again?
Suddenly, I felt as if the connection between my mind and my dick was severed. I was horny, but the damn thing was non-responsive, deflating into a state of a dead squid. And from there on I would feel as an actor in a stereotypical Viagra commercial: sitting on the side of the bed, apologizing, getting comforted, hating myself, feeling weak and insufficient and wondering: what to do with this sexual vulnerability of mine?
Weakness Makes Us Human
I’ll get back to my story and I promise you a happy ending, but let’s first talk about what vulnerabilities are, and how to address them.
The main thing about them is that they are highly subjective. What makes us feel weak, exposed and what we desperately want to hide from partners is making us vulnerable. However, it is usually not the problem that hurts us, but how we perceive it.
I’ve met a stunningly beautiful woman obsessing about a surgery scar on her stomach to the point of it shaping her life for the worse. And then there are people who can handle serious esthetic or even health problems with grace and ease. I just love this old Men’s Health piece about a guy who’s handling his micropenis like a champ.
Vulnerabilities are subjective, but having them is universal. As you unwrap layers of protection from anyone’s intimacy you’re bound to discover a whole bunch of them.
I’ll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours
I can’t tell you how to own your vulnerabilities because they are unique to you. But what I can tell you is they can certainly serve as a litmus test to see if a partner is in the keeper category. If you can exchange your vulnerabilities and feel as if that made you stronger, not weaker, you’re on the right track. Our weaknesses, not strengths, are the key to deciphering real intimacy.
The Issue of When
Some of our traits are quite obvious (like a micropenis or massive scar) and will be out there for all our sex partners to see. It would probably be a smart choice to shape our casual sex habits in a way that would not destroy us psychologically. So, if you have a major problem, choose your partners wisely and prepare them accordingly. For instance, I’ve talked to various people who had encounters with micropenises, but I’ve never met anyone who was cool about not being informed prior to the act. It might not be the easiest of the conversations, but it would certainly help one find a supportive partner.
The Conversations You Shouldn’t be Avoiding
Further, informing your partner about some issues is your moral and legal responsibility. Especially when it concerns her/his safety, in cases like HIV infection or genital herpes. A proper way to do it is to be direct and informative stating what is your condition, what is your therapy, what are the possible risks and what sort of protection do you need to use to prevent infecting them.
Some of these vulnerabilities will seriously limit your pool of available partners, but will earn you respect and support of the ones that choose you despite the issue.
And being frank about your problem allows you to work on defeating it. Which brings us to my initial issue.
Finding “Firm” Support
Solving my erectile dysfunction, expectedly required addressing it directly. It started by stating the obvious and saying out loudly that I had a problem. The issue was obviously of psychological nature so I realized I had to dig deeper to understand it.
Sex was a safe place for me, so I desperately tried to keep it apart from all the stress that was piling up in other areas of my life. But it just doesn’t work that way – you can’t just shove things into compartments and expect them to stay there.
I realized I had to work hard to recognize and address the stress in due time, if I wanted to avoid bringing it to bed. And finally, I had to reconnect with my body. I told my wife I’d be avoiding penetrative acts for some time, which I would properly make up to her in other available ways. We also avoided having sex when we both couldn’t achieve complete presence.
A few months later, my mind and body sent me clear signals that they were united and ready to get back in the game and the new presence and understanding of myself really painted our sex with a whole new dimension, while teaching me a valuable lesson – that deep work gets rewarded by a quantum leap in the quality of experience.