In this, the era of gender equality and metro-sexuality, traditional notions of ’what it means to be a real man’ have been remade, revamped, moisturized, waxed and put in a sarong. This ‘new male’ may be comfortable with pedicures and being pampered but how comfortable is he with the subject of sexual dysfunction.
Even though we now know that Real men do dance. They do cry. They do ask for directions when they’re lost, we’re still not quite sure whether or not ‘real’ men suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED). A real man, a potent man will be able to perform on command, continually ready, alert, and functioning. Adhering to this rigid and inflexible masculine ideal means that regardless of how much product is in the bathroom, there is still only fear, desperation and shame associated with problems in the bedroom.
Impotence is recognised as a common medical condition. In fact, over a third of all British men will suffer from some sort of erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. Understandably this may be difficult to discuss with a partner or doctor. A survey by the Sexual Dysfunction Association found that almost half of sufferers took 2 years to summon the courage to seek treatment for erectile dysfunction.
Traditional male values are heavily oriented against seeking help, so manliness and its links to sexual performance is, in this way one of the last bastions of the traditional ’alpha’ male and has halted the evolution of the male species just short of the belly button.
What can be done then to remove the stigma surrounding ED? For starters, language goes a long way towards shaping reality. Note the increased use of the politically correct acronym for erectile dysfunction. No physician or therapist would think of using the word impotence because its literal meaning -- lack of power -- is precisely the possibility their clients fear the most.
Pharmaceutical companies have also spent enormous amounts of money advertising for treatments that tackle this condition, even pulling in celebrities to be spokespersons for those drugs, with the message being, ‘You don’t have to be ashamed’. The nature of that advertising has removed much of the stigma surrounding erectile dysfunction by removing the notion that it is strictly an ‘old man’ problem.
What is accepted as "masculine" has shifted considerably throughout the times, so the modern concept of how a man "should be" differs from the ideal man of previous eras. So if we are reconstructing manliness and questioning a culture that expects men to be able to perform on command, maybe its time to reconstruct manly heroes. The new James Bond may always get the girl but what if he got a bout of ED from time to time as well.
This information has been brought to you by Firstmed, UK’s leading online impotence clinic. If you wish to discuss any of the above issues in more detail, do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)870 199 5287http://www.firstmed.co.uk
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Last updated on: 27/08/2010
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