Boner in a Bottle

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About Stephen G. Bloom

Stephen G. Bloom, the Bessie Dutton Murray Professor of Journalism at the University of Iowa, is the author of Postviile: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, Inside the Writer's MInd, The Oxford Project (with Peter Feldstein), and Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls. For more than 20 years, he was an award-winning reporter for The Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, San Jose Mercury News, and Sacramento Bee. His work has appeared in many publications, including the London Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, Smithsonian, Russian Esquire, and the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry. He writes frequently about issues men talk about when they're not around women. Check out more here.

Comments

  1. Great article. Lots to keep in mind as I get older. I’m in my mid thirties and am happy to hear that these drugs won’t do anything for me. One less thing to think about. I don’t want to be that 60-year-old who wants to have sex out of the blue either. I think I’ll ask first.

  2. Tom Matlack says:

    “Your penis is your penis, usually till death do you part. Learn to accept it, care for it, pay attention to it.” Great line from a great story. I find this whole ED thing more than mildly disturbing, like the stories of guys doing X and ED drugs together and going on some never ended sexual romp. Seems to me that sex is actually about a physical connection between two people that is certainly erotic but also emotional. Getting off, or even getting hard, is merely a side show for something more important. I am pretty sick of being bombarded with ads that tell me a drug will improve my sex life. It is irrelevant.

    • So, you’re saying that having an erection is irrelevant to your sex life? That doesn’t really make sense to me.

  3. David Wise says:

    No question that intimacy is the most important of sex and a relationship. But when you don’t have intimacy, the best thing to do is love the one you’re with, as the song goes. By the way, Viagra gives me and my older brother chest pains, so those drugs aren’t for everyone. I still have a bottle I won’t use.

  4. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    Bloom’s piece has to be the stupidest thing I’ve read in months. It’s an example of what we might call the “quick, fake expose involving no research,” and is probably a reason that Schools of Journalism shouldn’t be part of higher education. I’m a 65 year old university professor in great physical shape. I take a good amount of blood pressure medication, and you better believe I use Viagra. I’d rather take Cialis, but it’s not on my insurance’s formulary. I can get hard without it (sometimes) but it’s good insurance that things will go well. My wife is 61 and we have pleasant, regular sex. Better than plaesant, actually. Most women of that age need help with llubrication, and we use KY. Maybe the need for that’s an illusion too.

    I wonder if Bloom had one toke too many when he heard (or believed) the bit about 36 hours. Cannabis would probably be as good a marital aid as Viagra, but it’s illegal in our state.

    • I was also bothered by the ablist implication that getting sick should mean goodbye erections, and you should like it too. Unhealthy people can’t just accept what their bodies can naturally do.

  5. “In exceedingly rare cases, men who take Viagra have reported that for a while they see the world with a bluish tint. (Great. My fantasy: making love to a blue-eyed woman with blue nipples.)” – author

    Avatar fans rejoice! :)

    Henry, I took something different from the article then you did. I didn’t get the impression that the author was saying that ED drugs should never be used. I think he was just pointing out just how often they are unreasonably peddled. And how many men relay on ED drugs when they might not really even need it because they have unrealistic expectations about sex and their own bodies capabilities. ED drugs probably get peddled to men as often as anti-wrinkle creams get peddled to women. And I have been using anti-wrinkle creams since I was 20! So I can imagine the allure to have such a promising product peddled that sells the dream that your body can still function the same at 40, 50, 60, or 70 that it did when you were 20. Especially when it comes to something like sex for men who all to often use it as a barometer of their own worth as a man.

    The author makes a really good point about the type of men projected to be using ED through advertising. Healthy mid-30s men that look like they got their stuff together. I remember one particular commercial where a very good looking African American male in a nice suit is walking through his office with a big smile while everyone keeps telling him something is different about him. At the end of the commercial the mystery is finally revealed he uses a sexually enhancing drug.

    Good article and not something I’ve considered before as a woman but it makes complete sense.

  6. I am utterly mystified by the attitude that it’s greedy or unfair for men to want to have great sex well into old age (and even disability, as you mention with drugs that inhibit erections).

  7. Dawn, where do you get the impression that anyone said it was greedy or unfair for men to want to have great sex into old age? The truth is our bodies change as we get older. Often, in men and women, the simple physical feeling of desire is lessened with age. There seems to be a struggle beween the actual physical desire and the wanting of the actual physical desire. When I’m hungry I eat. When I am tired. I sleep. But when it comes to sex, it seems that we have so many products peddled to us to make us *feel* something that naturally might not be coming to us in a certain point and time. I love cheescake, but I don’t take a pill to make me desire more cheesecake. I eat it when I have a craving for it, sparingly. That doesn’t mean a man or woman can’t have great sex well into old age. We just have to be realistic about how are bodies change and to not buy into the myth that what we were at 20 should be what we are at 50.

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