LAST MONTH I CAUGHT a program on NPR discussing the increased usage of the 'performance enhancing' drug, Viagra. Introduced in 1998, Viagra (sildenafil nitrate) was originally prescribed for sexual dysfunction to increase the flow of blood to the penis, helping men acquire and maintain an erection. Thanks to the media's attention, Viagra has become a familiar trademark, with product recognition equal to Vaseline, Jell-o, and Nutra Sweet. Unfortunately, with the immediate cultural acceptance and ease of attainment, Viagra is now being misused in all segments of our male population. Although exact statistics are vague, one of the fastest growing blue-pill-popping groups is not the aging male, but rather younger men, mainly healthy and college aged.
Apparently, in attempts to appear strong, virile, and inexhaustibly fuckable, young men are readily using Viagra at parties and on dates to enhance their prowess. As millions of men befriend the drug and add it to their preparation ritual for sexual encounters, questions are finally arising as to the psychological implications and how its use affects sexual intimacy.
Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, author of The Viagra Myth,points out:
If men of the younger generations come through the ranks of life accepting the misinformation that the media and advertisers pump out daily, how will we ever shift the self-acceptance paradigm?
My perspective is from that of a sexually animated woman that sees cocks and the men attached to them as this: No matter the size, shape, curvature, circumcised or not, hard or flaccid, simply put, your cock is an extension of you. It is the sweet culmination of your upbringing, ideals, your perceptions of who you are and your place in the world. It speaks directly to how you are aware and whether you respect your needs. How you share that cock tells me what is in your mind and in your heart.
So, if you are about to share one of the most intimate and revealing aspects of yourself with me, I prefer it to be au naturel, like I prefer you. Forget the premise of impressing women. When one has a sense of personal awareness and dignity, it is apparent and appreciated. If you are, pardon the pun, feeling short in that area, I suggest that you work on your mind, not on your cock.
We are all familiar with the power of peer pressure. How is a young man supposed to differentiate and compete with urban legends about others who are able to sustain erections for hours or achieve multiple male ejaculations in one evening? How does he make the decision to be drug-free when his friends tout their conquests as the new super-human Viagra Man? This is not an easy thing to do. What do we tell the younger generations, "Just say 'No'," or "You'll grow out of it" ?
As I attempt to understand the need for sexually enhancing drugs in healthy men, I realize just how severely men and women judge themselves. Collectively, women go to great lengths, wasting enormous amounts of time and energy on primping, buffing, and masking their bodies to be more 'attractive'. Out of fear of rejection and the need to develop self-esteem, we too, choose to succumb to social pressures. The ideals of what is sexually acceptable or not, are often determined by our culture, not by inner wisdom. Generally, we are not pragmatists, especially in our youth when we seem to focus on having it all, including money, beauty, and popularity.
But here's what women may not be telling men…
Women often blame themselves if men don't get or stay hard during sex play. We get all wrapped up in a performance drama or, we feel we aren't attractive enough. Your flaccid cock is a mirror into our own personal insecurities. Women jump to thoughts like, "It isn't getting hard, I'm not doing it right!" or, "Maybe I don't excite him. I am not attractive enough." So, what do we do instead of owning and stating our fears? Women try to be 'better at it', which usually means being obviously overzealous in the attempt to please, to get and keep him hard, or we pretend it isn't happening. We fake it. We make sounds and gestures that are exaggerated to elicit a rigid response. There are a lot of unspoken thoughts occurring in those tricky moments with an uncooperative cock. How can we move beyond the awkwardness and shift our self-defeating expectations? How can we unplug from the negative need to perform or please?
We need to teach one another what it is really like to be in the roles we are playing.
Westernized society places men and women into categories that assure that the burden of initiation will be on the man, while women quietly, yet often seductively, wait in the wings. Women wait to be chased. When chased, we run, often complaining about being gawked at and the uncomfortable feeling of being pursued. Yet, when men don't chase, we want to know why. The game is covert and the impact is insidious when it comes to our self-esteem. We pretend we are liberated. We pretend this archaic form of courtship has been equalized between the sexes. It is not true. Women wait. Men risk humiliation by being forthright.
On the other side of the chase game, women haven't a clue as to the amount of pressure and anxiety men feel being thrust into the stereotypical role as the initiator. Men are wide open for rejection and vulnerability, yet we expect them to be confident and consistently self-assured. We think he should come equipped with a rock-hard cock alleviating any suggestion that may poke at our insecurities of not being enough. The burden is enormous, it is a wonder we ever get together at all.
My conclusion is, that little blue pill isn't going to take us anywhere but deeper inside our own minds. When I want to change my world, I change me. I unplug from the media machine that only wants one thing: my money. I see that the major reason why the pharmaceutical companies address sexual dysfunction is so they can once again tap into our fears to make a profit. What better way to make money than to exploit our insecurities, by making a man feel less manly and telling him he is not enough?
Whether the relationship is new or old, if we don't own our agendas openly, we aren't going to get beyond the superficiality that keeps us in fear. Women may not want a Marathon Man in bed. We desire a man that is genuine, but accompanied with the awareness that he is not alone in that bed. Partnered sex needs to be mutually satisfying and if the sensitivity factor is missing, 'longer, harder, faster', doesn't necessarily meet a woman's needs. There are women faking orgasms out of fear, because they cannot find their voice to tell their partners their discomforts. If she dries up, and doesn't speak about it, sex can become a painful act of endurance. Women have to take the initiative, get off their backs, and be more forthright. We need to describe our needs while being responsible for our own pleasure. If we don't, we are adding more pressure onto our partners. It is an unachievable quest to expect men to not only know themselves, but to mysteriously know our desires also.
The wait and chase game needs to be finished before anyone can win. Women can find an untapped and unlimited power resource by simply stating and acting on their own desires. The energy in the bed will shift, as we women find our paths to pleasure and the men no longer feel that it is their job to 'satisfy' us. Men can take a break from initiating and they can allow gratification without false efforts. We create a more balanced arena to play as the male discovers receptivity (not submissiveness) and the woman unearths her assertiveness (not aggression). Together, we can release the premise that sex needs to be orchestrated or staged. Sex is a form of expression, a celebration, not a chore or an act to be performed. If our sex is obligatory, we need to ask why. We need to ask ourselves why would we create and want to participate in something that was not authentic.
When a man can cut through the hype and be genuine, he in turn gives others around him permission, male and female alike, to do the same. Being real and leaving all that superficiality behind, does have an impact on the people we know. It is the same principle advertisers use. The more something is seen and recognized, the more likely others are to accept and emulate it. Although you are not responsible for anyone else's actions, you set an example by simply being who you are.
Will this get you laid on Saturday night? I don't know, but what will happen is that, with time, you will undoubtedly begin to attract those partners of similar thought, energy, and interest. The clearer we envision our desires rather than our lack, the likelihood that we will attract those wanted attributes will increase. In the moment when we can truly own what it is we desire, we may also get a glimpse at the truth that we are always enough.