I’m standing naked and hunched over with a gauze pad firmly cradling my semi-erect penis. I can see one solitary drop of blood on the gauze. I’m profusely sweating and nauseous and the room is clearly rotating and taking me along for the ride. When the sweating kicked in, I desperately tore off my hoodie and t-shirt and threw them on the floor. Now I can’t stop staring at the heap of clothes. I’m slowly losing my mind. If this wasn’t so awful, it would be hilarious.
I try my best to fend off the waves of discomfort but coupled with my ever increasing anxiety, I realize I need assistance. I gently open the door and quietly call for the doctor. I have no memory of his name and desperately try to recall it from the photo on his website. I relent and just say “Doc” over and over again. I’m fairly certain there is no one else in this office besides me, the missing doctor and the super friendly receptionist out front who greeted me awkwardly only a few minutes ago.
The way too young doctor emerges a minute or two after my panicked call and he doesn’t seem concerned by my state. He claims to understand exactly what’s going on and promises me that if I hold off for one more minute, it will all dissipate. He promises that this happens to a small percentage of patients. In the interim, he goes to fetch me some water.
Dude was dead on. I feel better almost immediately. When he returns with one half-empty bottle of water, I guzzle it down as he reveals that it was the receptionist’s and the only water he could locate.
How the fuck did I end up here again?
We talk for a few minutes post panic attack and agree to call it a day. He tells me I can make the trip back to Philadelphia when I’m ready to give it another go. I get dressed, gather my phone, keys, wallet, and mountain of difficult-to-decipher paperwork and reach for the door.
Then it happens; what was supposed to happen about an hour ago.
This time I leave the room to seek out the doctor and find him sitting in his sparsely appointed office. For the first time, I question if this is possibly an illegal operation? It doesn’t feel like he has been in this office for very long.
Whatever, I’m too invested at this point.
When I walk in to inform him that “I’m finally hard,” I do so without the slightest sense of embarrassment or shame.
“Let’s head back to the lab,” he says.
I met my wife while we both attended the same college back in the early 90’s. I made a drunken fool of myself one night and unfortunately (or fortunately) for her, she came along for the ride. When I woke up the next morning, the previous evening was a complete blur except for the memories of that beautiful dark-haired and dark-eyed girl. Did she laugh at my pathetic behavior or did she maybe think I was kind of funny? I think she was present most of the evening so I couldn’t have been that obnoxious, right?
There was only one way to find out. I had to go apologize for my oafish actions, chalk it up to being a dopey freshman and hope that she would see it that same way. I also had to pray that she would actually allow me to step into her dorm room.
I don’t remember how I knew where she lived but I found the room and she did, in fact, let me in. I started to run through my prepared speech/apology but lost track of whatever was coming out of my mouth. She was even more stunning than I remembered. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her for a second even as her roommate was talking directly to me. Fortunately, I was forgiven for my childish behavior and left just praying we could reconnect at another time.
Reconnect we did.
We met up at a party a week or so later and I was hooked. She never left my side. She was so naturally beautiful, down to earth and super funny in a quiet and subtle way. Even as Milwaukee’s Best spilled on my feet and dudes and bros elbowed me in the neck, I saw and heard no one else but her. I had never felt this transfixed in my life.
Fast forward a few years, and we graduate college as boyfriend and girlfriend. Some of my greatest memories are of just the two of us eating Chinese food in her apartment on a Friday night while everyone else was out partying. Or pooling our cash together to afford a pizza, a VCR rental and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Or just walking hand in hand on campus without a final destination. Or me safely escorting her from the library late at night.
I know she is the one.
I told her I loved her for the first time when we were discreetly “hooking up” in the laundry room on my dorm floor in the middle of the night.
I told her I could see myself marrying her as I kicked away a rat near the Staten Island Ferry after a night of debauchery in New York City.
I asked her to marry me one year after graduation while we were touring Maine together.
We were married in 1996 at the age of 24.
We bought our first house in 1997 and shacked up there for four years before we decided we wanted to try and have a baby. We both were ready for the next life phase even after enjoying years of vacations, weekend trips, no responsibilities, baths, sex in the shower and morning sex after a night of evening sex.
We struggled to get pregnant and it became stressful. But looking back now, it was actually a lot of fun. I remember wearing socks on my arms to cover the poison ivy because we were timing our encounters with her ovulation. I remember having a quickie after sneaking out of a family event. I remember a certain Whitesnake song playing with the lyrics perfectly coinciding with exactly what we were doing at the time. Forced sex for purposes of having a baby was still great sex, even if it was timed down to the minute.
After a year of trying and not being successful, we initiated a consultation with a fertility doctor. The first and easiest step was to have me tested. I provided a sperm sample and learned that my sperm count was low. I was initially devastated and spent that entire evening researching my problem online. At the same time, I was skeptical since I had to produce my sample in a cold bathroom, inches outside of the nurse’s station and without any “material”. Of course the count was low, daddy wasn’t very excited.
We ultimately agreed that I should provide a second sample and did I ever nail that one. I was home alone and comfortable with the only distraction the sounds of the afternoon rental of the “Spice“ channel. I gave them more than they ever could have asked for. I proudly ran it to the doctor’s office immediately after completing the deed, tossed the mysterious brown bag to the receptionist and left with an extra jump in my step. Put that in your low motility sperm bank and smoke it.
Within weeks of that test and before we even met with the fertility doctor, we found out that we were pregnant. We were ecstatic and spent nine months transforming our tiny Cape Cod-styled home into one compatible to a baby boy. We had all the usual fears with bringing a little person into our lives but were so ready to meet him and integrate him into our lives.
My son was born in 2002 and those first few years were the best years of our lives. I know without asking that my wife would agree. He was healthy and we embraced the reality and hilarity of being new parents. There were late nights and ear infections and endless diapers to be replaced, but we still found time for us. He would be in bed by 7:00 P.M. and the rest of the night was ours. We would have sex when he napped on weekends. We would go away for one night while a family member watched him. We kept “us” even with this creature added to the mix.
Our daughter was born in 2005 just as we moved into our current home. All totaled, we had the boy and girl, the big house and even a dog to boot. We were one big happy family. Even as the two children got older, we still found time for only us and were able to maintain a healthy and thriving sex life. Everyone warns you about how children can ruin your sense of you and impede upon your intimacy time. We had no such issue and felt proud of our ability to not become another cliché.
Fast forward to one random summer evening in 2014 and my wife and I find ourselves ready to have a little fun. Even though the kids are older now and more out and about during the evening hours and occasionally bust down our door with a sleep issue, we were ready to throw caution to the wind and get our game on.
When it came time for me to “perform” that night, well, I couldn’t. I don’t remember if I was distracted by the potential visit from a child or if something else set up camp inside my brain, but I couldn’t get an erection no matter how hard I tried. The same thing had happened a few times over the years but I was almost always able to recover and be roaring to go.
This night was different. It was hopeless. It wasn’t going to happen. I found myself pleading with my wife telling her that it wasn’t her fault and it wasn’t indicative of how I felt about her. Easier said than done when you have a beautiful naked woman lying next to you begging for you to enter her and your response is a limp dick. I knew it was due to the brain unnecessarily getting involved and the science behind that, but that can be a, ahem, hard sell.
Three years later and my head is more involved than ever and I’m fighting like mad to save my marriage.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project, please join like-minded individuals in The Good Men Project Premium Community.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
The Good Men Project is an Amazon.com affiliate. If you shop via THIS LINK, we will get a small commission and you will be supporting our Mission while still getting the quality products you would have purchased, anyway! Thank you for your continued support!
Photo Credit: Getty Images