IN a recent chat with Mark, a casual acquaintance for years, he accused me of portraying sex as a fun thing that people happily went into when the urge took them without a care for that dreaded sexual dampener – erectal failure. Was he a victim? I asked, expecting profuse denial. “Yes I am, and it’s no thanks to an ex-girlfriend who laughed derisively when I tried to make love to her and failed”.
Would he like to talk about it? “You bet,” he said. “I’ll do better than that. I’ll let you have my grouse about you women and your heartless ways, in black and white!” He was true to his words too as he personally brought his write-up to my office. Here is an excerpt from his heart-wrenching experience:
“Rita was a serious girlfriend I met at the university. I was not only in love with her, I was obsessed with her. After months of courting her, we finally made love. For her, I came too soon! I told her it would be better the next time around, but it wasn’t. It was obvious I had fallen short of satisfying her. Her sympathy was mixed with a suppressed derision. She implied that it was not so much that she was sexually demanding that was the problem, on the contrary, it was the fact that I was clearly less virile than most men. The tragedy is that
she might be right as two previous girlfriends had hinted at the same thing. So, once again, I suffered a broken heart on the strength of my inadequacy. It was most humiliating and frustrating. It was no surprise that I had a sort of break down – I was in love with Rita. I became tormented by the belief that I was sexually inadequate, and that all Rita’s cruel’ jibes had been true, though not based on any real evidence. If it could be that obvious to her, could it be obvious to everyone? I went over all the things that had been said to me in the past by other women, remembered all those discreet smiles and sniggers. I became obsessed with the suspicion that most men have larger penises than myself. I began to feel that this was why I could not satisfy a woman, and I started to feel that there was a cruel humour in the fact that I had spent so much time with Rita begging her to change her mind. When, all the time, she knew perfectly well that there was no hope because I was incapable anyway. I had become totally impotent.
“Oddly enough, I did not, at once, grasp the connection; I did not see that Rita’s cruel treatment of me had this result. Time after time, I made excuses, adopted the surprised ‘this is unusual for me’ defence whenever I failed a woman and confessed (truthfully, of course) that I had never got over a former girlfriend.
“A couple of years after this fiasco, I became engaged to Gloria. She was a pretty 22-year-old, virginal, spiritual and innocent, but clearly passionate woman. I felt safe with her because she was so innocent and uncritical. I hoped we could progress together and my problem would just go away. We courted chastely under her mother’s watchful eye. Eventually, outside her mother’s hawkish watch, on a weekend specially planned to meet her, hints that it would be enjoyable for us to cement our love by sleeping together, I faced the truth yet again. ‘Why isn’t it hard? can’t you make it hard?’ she asked, impatiently, as she fondled my offending and obstinately limp penis.
“One can make excuses for a single failure, but perpetual failure became impossible to explain anyway. I had no choice but to hurt her deeply by dropping her, unable to face the humiliation of having to admit being impotent rather than just tired, drunk or upset. At the time, she did not understand the reason. Some years later, I met her again. Seeing she still cared, we tried to resume where we had left off. I had to explain my deficiency and how it had been caused by the cruelty of a former girlfriend. After some time, we broke up again – she didn’t want a sexless relationship.
“I have tried to keep my problem secret from friends and acquaintances, but in my efforts to be treated, I have come across a small tribe of doctors, nurses and receptionists trying to act in a clinically detached manner, trying to suppress (in some cases) an obvious amusement or morbid curiosity at my predicament. Treatment was always to no satisfactory results. “Rita was wicked to me to the end. Long after last seeing her, I resolved to try to exorcise her effect on me. I felt that if I could get her to explain why she behaved so badly and hurt my feelings so deeply, my appreciation of this could, in some way, have a curative effect.
“I wrote her a rambling and accusing letter that touched on everything except the central reason for writing; and I could not want to touch on because I didn’ want to give her a genuine excuse for ridicule. I got no reply. I wrote again, begging for a reply. I assumed that she had not got the letters. After some research, I was able to get the number to her mobile and phoned her to her amazement. Yes, she had got my letters; no, she thought it best not to rake up old quarrels, after all, it was a long time ago. I then wrote again, begging for her explanation. Again, no reply.
“Since that time, I have been resigned to being impotent and remaining so. I realize that many of you readers will be inclined to snigger in just the same way, and for the same reasons that others have. There is no point at all denying that impotence is funny, to all but the victim himself. Many will feel this is all nonsense, that I’m just making excuses as I admit to having done with many women, some will say I am just making a convenient scapegoat of poor Rita. That my problem is that of being a sexual weakling, impotent right from the beginning, and poor Rita, through some kind of intuition, correctly diagnosed me. That I would have been impotent regardless of who I met with first.
“This is not true. All my problems stem from the first unhappy encounter at a time when I was exceptionally vulnerable. I have heard this sort of thing more than once, one girl accused me of ‘making excuses because you’ve got no balls’. “I have become philosophical, but I still get very upset at the suggestion that I’m just trying to salvage my pride from an intolerable truth. It is quite untrue and distressing to suggest this. Such an attitude stems from a desire on the part of many to protect women from consequences of their own selfishness – a form of female chauvinism.”