The Right Coast

January 05, 2004
One more reason to be married
By Tom Smith

This story in the New York Times style section a few weeks back has created a buzz. Unfortunately, it's in their lame pay only archive. He's a taste from Nexis, just a fair use of course:


CHRIS LONDON remembers the first time an impotence drug came to his emotional
rescue. A 41-year-old lawyer and executive recruiter in Manhattan, Mr. London
had been on a few dates with a lawyer who told him she couldn't judge a man
without first having sex with him. The two made plans to meet after work, and
Mr. London said he felt pretty certain about what was going to happen. He also
felt not a little anxious.

"She was very wired -- a Samantha on 'Sex and the City'-type thing," he said.
"She made it like it was this test -- like passing the bar. I'm thinking to
myself, I haven't had this sort of performance anxiety since I was 17."

Thanks to a doctor friend, Mr. London happened to have a tablet of Viagra
on hand, and he darted into the bathroom and gulped the blue pill. It worked
as billed, and later that evening, Mr. London said, he overheard his date giving
his performance a rave in a phone call to a friend.

"In this city there's a lot of pressure to look good, to make money and to
perform well," Mr. London said. "It's just one more added thing to give you more
masculine, virile attributes and to have that insurance."

Mr. London is not one of the 15 million to 30 million American men who, by
estimates of the National Institutes of Health, suffer from impotence, or what
drug makers call erectile dysfunction -- the repeated inability to maintain an
erection suitable for intercourse. Nor is he simply a thrill-seeking
recreational user, curious about impotence drugs' supposedly wondrous physical

Rather, he is one of an increasing number of sexually healthy men, many in
their 20's, 30's and 40's, who doctors and sex therapists say are using
impotence drugs -- Viagra, Levitra and the new Cialis, a k a "the weekender"
because it stays in the bloodstream for 36 hours -- as psychological palliatives
against the mighty expectations of modern romance.

Isn't that just sweet?

It does remind me of a true story a local doctor told me. This guy comes in and complains, after some hemming and hawing, that he just hasn't felt like having sex lately. The doc asks how long it has been. The patient says, 10 days. Anything happen ten days ago? Yes, the patient, a 75 year old male, had undergone major abdominal surgery. How often did he usually have sex? The patient looked at the doctor as if she were stupid, and said, "every day, of course!" With your wife? "Yes, of course!" How long have you been married? "55 years." You've had sex with your wife every day for the last 55 years? "Except for the last ten days." The doctor explained a ten day hiatus in sex after major surgery was not unusual, but he should come back if he didn't feel better in another couple of weeks. He never came back. They make 'em strong out in East County.