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Home / Articles / Health / Sophisticated Sex /  The Viagra chronicles
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Give Through iGivefirst
Thursday, October 13,2011

The Viagra chronicles

By Dr. Jenni Skyler

Dear Dr. Jenni,

I’m 37 and married for seven years.

We recently had our first child. We had to wait to return to sex, but now I seem to be losing my erections right before intercourse. This has never happened before, except for a handful of times in college. Why is this happening? If I have to do Viagra I will, but I prefer naturopathic remedies to pharmaceutical options. Ideas?

—Naturopathic Viagra?

Dear Naturopathic,

It sounds like you are questioning whether your recent erectile struggles are psychological or neurological. For young men in good health, erectile issues flaring up after a stressful situation or in an environment of anxiety tend to be more psychological —especially if erections are strong and easy to maintain during masturbation.

Casual college sex can often be anxiety-producing, thus leaving young men struggling to obtain an erection. Same can be true if you are worried about hurting your wife after delivery. Perhaps extend foreplay, and if you lose the erection before intercourse, go back to foreplay. The idea is not to make intercourse a goal, but rather enjoy the journey, whether or not your penis decides to join the party. It’s his loss if he doesn’t join, and it also alleviates the pressure of performance.

If you want naturopathic ideas, some men have tried acupuncture, L-arginine, DHEA hormone, Korean red ginseng and horny goat weed. Keep in mind, results are mixed and long-term safety is often unknown. Consult with a naturopathic doctor. Viagra certainly works too, but remember the efficacy is for neurological erectile dysfunction, not psychological or emotional.

Dear Dr. Jenni,

I am a 25-year-old virgin man. I had opportunities with women in the past, but these have gone nowhere due to anxiety and an inability to get an erection with another person. I am very anxious about having sexual intercourse because I feel quite inexperienced and doubt my abilities to satisfy a potential partner. My doctor prescribed Viagra, but I am hesitant to use it. How do I reveal to a potential partner these difficulties such that they would still value me as a potential romantic partner and, let’s face it, want to have sex with me?

—Viagra for Virgins

Dear Viagra,

Having sexual intercourse is a huge step for any new relationship, even if you’ve had sex 1,000 times. It makes sense to feel nervous. I suggest going slow to develop friendship first. When emotional intimacy is deep and meaningful, sexual intimacy becomes far easier. There is more safety to talk about sex. While it’s often easier to pop a Viagra, turn off lights, strip off clothes, and hope for the best, keeping lights on and having a conversation about your fears will help your new partner to meet you where you are. It’s a journey of getting to know your potential partner and asking what makes her tick.

You may be in the passenger seat in the beginning, but our sexual bodies were designed for giving and receiving pleasure — as long as we are open to learning.

As for Viagra, I always advise men struggling with erectile issues that you are far more than just your penis. If erections are solid and strong when alone, then the issue has more to do with the situation and relationship. Ask yourself what you can do to relax when faced with high stress and anxiety. Practice this before going on dates. Take your time. Again, the more you establish friendship and emotional connection, the easier it will be to talk about sex, and have it.

Send questions for Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., to drjenni@theintimacyinstitute. org. Skyler is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.theintimacyinstitute.org.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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