A recent episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" dealt with how a five-second hug is enough to give Larry David a raging boner. That's interesting, 'cause it seems like TV and movie sex always involves guys who get hard in 20 seconds or less. In fact, if a sex scene in a movie or a TV show goes on for a full 30 seconds without a hasty insertion of the you-know-what, the guy usually rolls off and there's an exchange like this:
She: "That's okay. It happens."
He: "It doesn't happen to me!"
Look, I have what I think is a normal, healthy sex life that doesn't depend on Viagra, but all these furiously fast erections in the pop-culture realm are giving me a complex. Is it peculiar that it takes me a couple of minutes - okay, sometimes five or 10 - to get to where I'm ready to rock? Is it realistic that anyone (even a stud like Larry David) can get fully erect in just a few seconds?
Slow Poke: I'm going to infer from your reference to Viagra that you're at least in your 40s and possibly in your 50s or 60s, because let's face it, teenagers don't tend to joke about such things. They don't have to. With rare exceptions, they're trying to avoid erections at inappropriate moments rather than induce erections at appropriate moments. I'm also going to infer, for the sake of argument, that you don't suffer from heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes or, I don't know, multiple sclerosis, that you don't smoke (much) or drink (much), that you don't have high blood pressure, that you aren't under a lot of stress, that you aren't on any number of medications that I won't bother to list. In other words, I'm going to assume that the only possible explanation for your, shall we say, delayed reaction time is that your penis, like the rest of you, ain't as young as it used to be.
With a handkerchief at the ready, consider the following fact: Between the ages of 40 and 70, the average red-blooded American male loses 12 to 20 pounds of muscle, 15% of his bone mass and nearly two inches in height. He is, in short, shrinking, and so are his testicles. ("Shrinkage!") Testosterone levels drop approximately 1% a year after we turn 40, but that isn't why we have more trouble getting and keeping it up. We have more trouble getting and keeping it up because our vascular system, like our penis, ain't as young as it used to be. We're still red-blooded American males, but the blood flow loses some of its youthful vigor. Hence, Viagra, which increases the blood flow to the penis. For an erection is, at heart, a vascular event. The penis is, in effect, blushing. And if our arteries don't support such an embarrassing display of our manhood, there isn't going to be such an embarrassing display of our manhood.
Peculiar? Not at all. In fact, it's perfectly normal. On the other hand, it behooves us to do whatever we can to keep the blood flowing as vigorously as possible, which means watching our weight and getting plenty of sleep and exercise. But if after doing that we're still unable to achieve the five-second raging boner, we may just have to settle for the five-minute quite-angry boner. Unfortunately, most men aren't prepared to do that. They want their five-second raging boner back. Of course, their wives, for whom Viagra has been both a blessing and a curse, may well prefer the five-minute quite-angry boner. It's their only chance at foreplay after all these years. And if I could wish anything upon the slow pokes of the world - you included, Slow Poke - it would be that you learn to sit back and relax, take it easy, go slow, one step at a time, work your way up, keep it going, building now, building, building, okay, let 'er rip.
To play with my erector set, write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR EMAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.