Coping With Impotence

Clearly, coping with impotence is not on anyone's top ten list of new things to learn in their years after 50.

OK. Understood, but here it is. What are you going to do now?

A good next step after you've explored all the options with your doctor is to examine your thinking, your beliefs, your assumptions relating to the problem.

Whether you are the one with the physical problem or you are the partner of a guy with it, recognize that you are coping with impotence in one way or another.

Whether what you are doing is getting you more or less of what you want is for you to decide.

If the situation is not moving in a good direction for you, it is worth the effort to delve into your own thoughts and feelings first. This is the time to dig in and bring your worst fears, judgements, and beliefs out into the light of day where you can deal with them. For some discussion of the rationale and ways of doing this, you might like to take a look at this page on cognitive behavioral psychology.

Deep down what to you think/believe/assume about

  • coping with impotence at all?  Is it even possible?

  • being a real man? 

  • what good sex is?

  • guys who are impotent?
  • what it takes for a guy to be lovable?

  • guys who say they like cuddling as much as intercourse?

  • women who say they like cuddling as much as intercourse?

  • life with no sex?

  • talking about your condition with your present partner?

  • talking about your condition with a new partner?

  • the possibility of taking on a new sexual role?

  • exploring fantasies with a partner?

  • trying new things?

Catch whatever crosses your mind.  This is no time to be "politically correct" or deny thoughts that you know you "shouldn't have" or are inaccurate.  It's time to dig deep and come up with what's really in there.  After all,  this is the store of information that your conscious mind consults when evaluating a situation and deciding what to do.

Applying some of tools available from cognitive behavioral psychology,  you can build your own mental/emotional plan for coping with impotence.  Use some version of the following:

  • Get a nice quiet place with some privacy and enough time to think and go through the list above and anything else that comes up without judgement.

  • Jot down the first thing that comes into your head for each. It's ok to just use abbreviations or your own code to jog your memory later if you're concerned about someone else seeing what you write.
  • If you do find yourself judging a belief or thought, just say to yourself "isn't that interesting?"  or  "I'm sure I feel that way, believe that, think that, for good reason" . . . and move on.
  • Then set it aside overnight.

  • In the meantime, keep a pad nearby and be ready to jot down whatever else comes to you when you're not thinking about it. (These are often the most useful ones.) Don't judge the thoughts at this point, just write them down.

  • When you've got a good list, it's time to apply the cognitive techniques that seem to apply including: listing alternative explanations/descriptions, predicting how others will react, predicting how it will feel to do particular things, recognizing cognitive distortions, and determining what actions you want to take in the future.
  • If you find yourself knowing that there are some important ones there, but that either you just can't get at them or you can't figure out how to work with them to install more effective ones, it may be time to get help from a therapist or coach.  The mechanics of doing it are simple, but sometimes it's more the art of how you go about it that gets you where you want to go.

P.S.   This is one of those areas of life in which the often mis-quoted line from the Chicago sportswriter of the 1930's, Grantland Rice is a guiding light.  He wrote

"When you meet that great scorekeeper in the sky, he will ask you not if you won or lost, but how you played the game."

Who knows why any one of us draws the cards we do?  Once they are in our hand though, the whole questions becomes how we are going to play them.

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