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Why do men lose interest in sex? - (8/24/2021)

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

The pharmacist noticed that Al, a long-time patient, walked into the pharmacy and made a beeline toward the back of the store. The pharmacist called him over, and Al turned around and almost reluctantly shuffled over to him. "Al, you have some pills waiting to be picked up." Al laughed sheepishly and said, "Oh, my Weekend Wonders." That was the nickname Al used for his erectile dysfunction tablets. "Well," Al said, looking down at the floor. "Things haven't been so wonderful in a long time." "Talk to me," the pharmacist said as he directed Al toward the back office. "Let me know if anything important comes up," he instructed his technician. 

Unless they are bragging about it, talking with men about their sex drive is like breaking down an iron wall. There are different approaches: 1). Get the guy drunk to loosen his inhibitions. Note: Undue sobbing may be the unintended result. 2). Tell him that when a couple marries, they get a bushel of apples. If they take out one apple every time they have sex, the bushel is empty within the first year. After that, if they put an apple back into the bushel every time they have sex, it takes the rest of their lives to refill the bushel. Note: This clumsy explanation may lead to how lousy the apple crop was last year. 3). Stress that God created sex so that we will be happy and multiply. Note: Remember that Al is not happy. And he did multiply: Welcome, Marcie and Jake! 

But before we drag God and the Bible into the discussion, let's compress all that into a single passage from George Michael's 1987 song, "I Want Your Sex." To wit: "Sex is natural. Sex is fun. Sex is best when it's one on one." Those of you who have ever encountered a male know that sexual problems have to do with the brain, the penis, and that's it. Easy to figure out. So, why does a guy sometimes gets turned off to sex? First, often a man's testosterone level – the sex hormone responsible for body hair and an innate ineptitude of not knowing how to iron a shirt - plummets for various reasons, leading to reduced desire and poorer erections. Second, if a man has erection problems, he may hesitate to initiate intercourse. Translation: "Honey, I forgot to put out the cat." Third, some men prefer masturbating over partnered sex. Here, we can bring to mind the young teen in Philip Roth's 1969 “Portnoy's Complaint” who relieved himself using the piece of liver that was destined to be his family's dinner that night. Fun but not fun.

Back to George Michael's song lyrics. "Sex is natural." If sex wasn't natural and relatively simple, one-celled asexual organisms would be running Congress today (Um, wait a sec). "Sex is fun." If lovemaking was not meant to be enjoyable, there would not be Montovani, strawberry lubricant, and double-jointed hips. "Sex is best when it's one on one." Given today's variety of internet porn, one's fantasies can run amuck with infinite group sex situations. Let the pharmacist tell you that 1-on-1 sex can result in pleasurable cuddling and giggling. People in the group scenes have just one thing in mind after they climax: the pastry cart set up just off-camera. 

Seriously, Al's problem is not a joke. Yet, the older and more flaccid we get, both halves of a strong relationship can laugh off our declining abilities. Yes, one's physician should be visited for a checkup to look for correctable problems. Yes, one must factor in the damage a sexual affair – whether in person or online – can erode one's committed relationship. Porno can derail one's sex life as well, primarily if it is confined to one-half of the partnership. Now, let's pull God back into this talk. He has a sense of humor and wants us to explore. There are rules and laws, of course. But guilt or dismay should not be part of this. Maybe He has other plans for you: philately instead of fellatio; the golf course instead of intercourse. Enjoy your life through all its phases. 

Ron Gasbarro, PharmD, is a recovering pharmacist and writer-in-residence at Rx-Press.

 


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