Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - SEX ADVICE, ROBYN SALISBURY -

Your re­cent ad­vice about erec­tile dys­func­tion was help­ful. I am a 70-year-old sin­gle wid­ower who now finds he has the same prob­lem. How do I ad­dress it if I should want to con­tem­plate en­ter­ing into an­other re­la­tion­ship in the fu­ture?

I have found that, with­out ag­gres­sive di­rect stim­u­la­tion,

I can­not get or hold an erec­tion and at best it is soft when achieved. I am not a smoker, drink only oc­ca­sion­ally, and have no health prob­lems other than arthri­tis, for which I take Voltaren. I have tried Vi­a­gra which, even at the higher dose, ap­pears to have no ef­fect. I have found, how­ever, that on oc­ca­sion I will wake in the morn­ing with an erec­tion.

This con­di­tion is in­hibit­ing me even con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of any fu­ture se­ri­ous re­la­tion­ships.

Vi­a­gra is not an aphro­disiac. You need to be in the mood for sex, so your nerves are giv­ing the mes­sage for the blood to flow into the gen­i­tals be­fore you will get any ef­fect of it. I’m not sure how long ago you were wid­owed, but grief can cer­tainly stand in the way of arousal and some find their loy­al­ties to a lost loved one in­hibit their abil­ity to re­spond to their head’s de­ci­sion that they want a new part­ner or ca­sual lover.

Be­yond those fac­tors, any time you’ve tried to get an erec­tion, not suc­ceeded then got into wor­ry­ing or feel­ing glum about what this means for a sex­less or lonely fu­ture re­sults in a load of pres­sure or anx­i­ety that penises tend not to re­spond well to. So, get­ting your head and your heart ready to be a lover again is where I’d en­cour­age you to fo­cus first. Then re­mind your­self that a new lover would bring light­ning strikes of arousal.

You have for­tu­nately taken good care of your health and your morn­ing erec­tion shows the equip­ment is still func­tional. Be gen­tle with your­self, ac­knowl­edg­ing that of course you will be anx­ious. Be hon­est with her about any fears you have at the time and you will be cre­at­ing emo­tional in­ti­macy to ac­com­pany the sex. Re­mem­ber too that you don’t need to have an erec­tion to be a glo­ri­ous lover; there are countless ways cou­ples can plea­sure each other with­out in­ter­course.

Robyn Sal­is­bury is a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist.

The mid­dle-class pi­ety of min­i­mal­ism is dead! Time for chan­de­liers, ex­otic plants and fur­ni­ture with feathers.

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