A Publication of WTVP

Have you ever discussed with friends how you received your sex education?

Have you ever discussed with friends how you received your sex education? I did recently, and the consensus was that our parents tried as best they knew in an age when sex was still considered a private part of everyone’s life. They didn’t use a lot of words or give too many explanations. I was told by my mom that I would be getting a headache every month. When my headache turned out to be a little more than that, I was declared to have the CURSE and that I could get pregnant so very easily—I know people who actually believed it could be caused by kissing. Somehow we all struggled through growing up sexually and got our information however we could—good or bad.

I tried to do better with my own children, honestly answering any question they had. But then there is nothing better than a visual, as one day I looked out the kitchen window to see my fiveyear- old son and his little (female) playmate playing “doctor” on the neighbor’s front porch. This was in the late sixties, when Masters and Johnson were reporting their research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunction. Then there was The Joy of Sex, which was pretty much like a sex manual and seemed a bit intimidating to me, but I guess that even if we weren’t doing anything right, it didn’t matter, as long as it was fun trying.

Sex was being talked about publicly more than ever, soon to be followed by television advertising. The Clairol ads were the first to be somewhat suggestive. Does she or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure. It is not just about hair color. The implication is that women tell their hairdressers everything. So if you are seeking romance and/or sex—Clairol gives the best odds.

Today, television commercials are much more open about what is going on. There is so much sexual innuendo, and everyone is learning more than they ever thought they would need to know. In 1998, the “little blue pill” arrived, soon to be followed by other similar medications. Remember Bob Dole’s explanation of the medical condition erectile dysfunction? Now we have that other Bob swaggering through the office with a huge smile on his face, questioned by everyone he meets—did you get a raise?…a haircut?… is that a new suit?…etc. The answer is that he has discovered the miracle drug.

One would think there is a national epidemic of erectile dysfunction going on. Since 1998, 23 million men have been prescribed Viagra. They had to go to their doctor and ask for it— which speaks volumes about the importance of this subject. You know how difficult it is to get a man to go to the doctor for just a check-up.

I don’t mean to make light of this serious problem. The cause of ED can be from damage to nerves and arteries, most often because of diabetes or vascular disease. It can also be caused from lifestyle choices: smoking, lack of exercise and obesity. It is most common in older men, but not a natural part of aging. Only between 15 and 25% of 65-year-old men experience ED.

Here is my worry. These pills cannot be used by every man, as certain health conditions make it very dangerous. They also promote sex as more casual and recreational, because many take them just to enhance their performance. One commercial brags that their pill can last 36 hours, so you can “be ready when the moment is right,” but then cautions that an erection lasting more than four hours could be trouble. Trouble for him and his partner, too, I am sure. Can’t you visualize that trip to the ER?

Pfizer Inc. has reported that they are ending research on whether Viagra can be used to treat female sexual problems because studies on women were inconclusive. The diagnosis of sexual difficulties in women is very difficult because it involves assessing physical, emotional and relationship factors, making its development a lot more complicated than the drug for men. But here is good news—I recently received a fax for “Horny Goat Weed.” The name says it all. It is for both men and women, and best of all, no prescription is needed.

I am not a sex therapist or expert by any stretch of the imagination, but most of us would agree that men and women really do think differently about sex. That commercial with the two tubs overlooking the beautiful vista has me intrigued. I bet it was the woman’s idea for separate tubs, hoping that the “moment would never be right.” I am thinking that it is about time for women to join together in support groups to discuss the “36 hours phenomenon.” Then there is the woman in the commercial for a sleep aid who is obviously enjoying her rest and is probably married to one of those guys. Seriously, sex is good for you, and it is a fact that if you are healthy, sex can follow you far into old age—maybe that was the Curse that mom was talking about… TPW