Five months ago I completed a very personal piece for my Swingset readers. Unlike my sexy times, or internal emotional issues that I had to overcome, in A Bridge Too Far I wrote about Erectile Dysfunction. As a diabetic and a recovering alcoholic I had demons to battle long before I attempted to lock horns with this one, and my readers have been very kind and supportive since publication. Call me superficial, but I was afraid that coming forward with such a difficult subject, and with an even more difficult solution, would put people off, and make me appear less desirable to would be partners. I am pleased to say that has not been my experience, and has encouraged me to follow up with a state of the state as it were.
Rereading the original, I can feel the anxiety in whether or not I could actually carry through the treatment. The good news is I could. There is still a little angst, a small spike in blood pressure, a habit from lifelong needle-phobia, but I now know that it is all in my head. I also know that it is my body that is simply not able to move the blood, and that is it a problem of physics, not of sensation or desire. Knowing all these things makes each individual injection into the penis possible, and what follows after can be amazing.
Within 10 minutes I can feel the blood flowing into the shaft. I get hard, and an irony is even though it will last for an hour or more, orgasm is still not always possible, or even frequent. I can go go go until my female partners are quite tired, because as Wisdom once told me, “It’s hard to tell when to stop if the guy doesn’t come.” But even if I don’t orgasm, don’t think for a moment that I am not enjoying myself. Part of my revised elevator speech covers a bit about my symptoms and treatment, which does ick a few people out. I have a brief speech with more details if they are okay. Most say something like, “As long as I don’t have to see it, then it’s fine.” The elevator speech is just the beginning though. There is also a timing issue.
I have found that it is better to wait until a little later once I am sure I am heading for playtime. I have gotten impatient in the past, slipped out to the men’s room stall, injected, and then sat at the bar talking for another hour with a raging erection. Not great. I have also waited a bit too late, where my partners are in the room ready to go and… oh by the way… I just need a few minutes…also not great. My poly partners have been totally accepting of this, and Wisdom even gets a little aroused at the process- something akin to “She is so desirable to me that this is what I do to get hard for her.” And she is and I do.
The primary drawback to this treatment is I cannot use it more frequently than every three days. So if I have a Friday date with Gwen and a Saturday date with Wisdom, someone gets left out. (We have a situation like this coming up next month, and Wisdom says I will just have to focus entirely on her pleasure that night. The exact phrase she used was “Put my mouth where my money was,” which made me laugh out loud.) I also need time with my Love (remember her? I do, and she has been affected by this also) to be spaced out in between club nights and dates with my poly partners. It requires much more rigorous planning in my calendar, and does remove some spontaneity during the off days.
I don’t like the fact I need the needle to be confident in what comes next, but liking is not required. Acceptance of who I am and gratitude that a solution is to be found at all was the beginning of the journey. I have spoken to a few doctors, and they have told me I am the only man they know that has carried through on this treatment. I think this is because what comes after has been so worth crossing the gap. And, once a bridge too far, now reaches to the other side (most of the time) and another worry is soothed and relieved.
I did say most of the time. One thing I have been learning in these past five months is the number of ways one can fuck this up. Sadly Wisdom has been on the receiving end of a majority of these, mostly because of situations where I am still learning. For one, the compound is custom made and is only good for about a month. I am of the opinion that it loses a little effectiveness towards the end of that month. I found this out the first time by wondering “Where did my boner go?” after an injection, only to see the drug was expired… The compound also needs to be refrigerated. And I mean all the time, including transport to and from a lover’s home or the club, or (even more difficult) at the club. I have solved this with an insulated lunchbox and freezer blocks. I learned this after taking my dose at the clubs men’s room and putting it back in my pocket for the rest of the night, rendering the rest of the dosage useless (I really am a dumbass sometimes). Again Wisdom got to pick up the pieces on this (for which I ask her forgiveness and understanding). And finally, disposal of the needle safely is very important. I cannot in good conscience leave the needle in the trash at the club, for fear an employee might get stuck and risk blood borne pathogens or the fear of them. Fortunately my employer has a needle disposal bucket at work, and as I am a diabetic, I feel no shame in using it. I usually mark the needles as used by bending the tip (something I am not supposed to do) but might carry a small sharpie in my kit to do the same.
I know this treatment is not for everyone, and frankly the hurdles are formidable. For any man considering this treatment I can promise the head space is much harder to solve than the physical act. Without this treatment, I might not be able to continue in the lifestyle, and the benefits of nonmonogamy are so valuable to me now, I can’t imagine my life otherwise. If you do suffer from ED, please talk to your doctor. Tell her (or him) who you are with, whether or not you use protection, and be honest with them in all things. There are workable solutions out there, not easy solutions, but workable, and I am grateful for this gift given to me.