The paradox of who I am today and the functioning of my body at fifty-eight years old is not what I once expected of growing older. I began to come out in my early fifties after years of hiding who I was and trying to tamp down my attraction to men. Finally when I come out, full force, my body no longer works the way it once did.
Around the time I turned fifty, I began to experience difficulty achieving orgasm combined with a decrease in sensation when I finally did orgasm. This issue has only gotten worse as I have gotten older. I have been to multiple doctors about this issue, but have gotten no useful help or understanding. While premature ejaculation is easily treated, difficulty ejaculating is not. For a period of time, I went to a doctor that specialized in sexual functioning and he had me try various techniques and off label medications, all without much help.
Combined with the challenge around orgasms, I began to have difficulty urinating starting in my early forties, which has only continued to get worse over time. Diagnosed with either BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), a benign enlargement of the prostate, or a bladder problem, I have been on medication that helps relax the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck, making it easier to urinate, for a few years. Some medications help, others do not, but all have side effects.
Not widely discussed by the pharmaceutical manufactures, but clearly discussed on patient blogs, is that fact that some BPH medicine can decrease the ability to achieve orgasm and can eliminate any feelings at the time of orgasm, along with causing a ‘dry orgasm’, otherwise known as retrograde ejaculation, the more technical term. I have just switched from a BPH medication that was not effective but made it possible to have an orgasm to another BPH medication that is very effective in helping me urinate but completely kills my orgasm. Unfortunately, being able to pee wins over orgasm every time, but I am not happy about it.
I was diagnosed with diabetes in my mid-thirties during a period of time where I had put on a lot of weight and had stopped exercising. The diagnosis was a wake-up call and I lost the weight and began to exercise regularly and read everything I could about diabetes. I finally found a wonderful diabetes doctor and have followed his program since the Fall of 1999. His program consists of a very low carbohydrate diet combined with diabetes medication that keeps my blood sugars in the normal range. My A1c, a test that measures average blood sugar over a thirty day period, is consistently around 5.2—an unbelievably good number any non-diabetic would be very happy with.
When I have gone to doctors for difficulty achieving orgasm and the decline in sensation at the point of orgasm, they often point to my diabetes as a possible cause, a diagnosis I have never fully agreed with. Given how controlled my diabetes has been for the past sixteen years I have always suspected something else was at play, but I do not know what.
But orgasm is not everything. One of the things I love about my relationship with my partner is that we have long, erotic, sexy lovemaking that is just delicious. Achieving an organism is not necessarily our destination. Our sexual journey is more important and pleasurable than any goal of reaching the destination of orgasm. Last night we lay together kissing, touching, exploring each other’s body. It was tremendously pleasurable, lovely, intimate, and sexy. We did not even try to have an orgasm. It was just not our goal.
What I longed for when I was eighteen years old was an intimate, physical, loving experience with a man. The men I was with in college had one goal: to achieve orgasm. So the idea of just touching and kissing for long periods of time was not often part of my lovemaking back then. I longed for a certain kind of intimacy with a man. In my fucked up eighteen-year-old mind, influenced by the psychology of the day, I thought that I was really longing for my father’s embrace that I never got. From my vantage point today, I see that this had very little to do with my father and was all about intimacy with a man. The sex back then was great but love and intimacy were absent. I do not think it was even in the cultural consciousness at the time that two men could have a deeply intimate loving relationship. As a culture, we were so screwed up about what it meant to be gay in the late 1970s and 1980s. Certain kinds of thoughts just did not occur to many of us.
As I wrote, I came out of the closet full force. When I decided I needed to come out, I knew my biological clock was ticking and I did not have time to waste. In so many important ways I have the life that I hoped for in coming out. The powerful orgasms I had as a younger man would simply be the icing on the cake, but the cake itself is wonderful.