Conversation at a lunch yesterday in a casual group of singles shocked the hell out of me. It also humbled my self-righteous, women-are-the-vulnerable-sex-attitude. And it set my analytical mind on fire. Curious yet? Well, the subject of erectile dysfunction, initiated by a man, and discussed in an open forum, did all that and more.
We’re a meet up group of a dozen that just finished an hour-power-walk along the Mission Beach Boardwalk, and met for lunch. All but three of us are single, so dating is a hot topic. I sat back in awe of Sandy, who turned on a torch under the discussion.
She’s been ecstatically married for seven years, but her past is littered with three divorces and eighteen single-party-girl years, singles cruises, restless relationships, some ‘just fucks’, as she called them, and the fact she insists women supply the condoms. She was bold, brazen and so hilarious it broke the usually evasive barriers of ‘proper’ all to hell. I’m pretty outspoken on the topic in a group of women, but we were nearly outnumbered by men, and I was blinking big. Suddenly, one of the men boldly said, “Being intimate with someone new, especially after a long-term relationship, is scary for a man.”
Really? My mind jumped to ‘scared of what?’ Being physically vulnerable when the bedroom door closes? Of being the target of someone who wants to live out their fantasy of a multi-orifice-entry porn flick? Utterly confused, I blurted it out.
“Scared of what?” I think the emphasis on the last word left no question that I was clueless.
“You’ve been used to the person you’d been with for years,” he replied. “But don’t know what a new woman is used to or expects. Things,” he said, glancing at his lap, “might…might not work when you’re nervous, and trust me, that’s scary as hell.”
If there was a medal for social bravery, this guy would get the gold. Valiant as hell in this group, he’s the only one with a pair and a turtle willing to talk on the topic, yet is tender enough to worry about disappointing a woman he wants to satisfy. I was instantly sorry he’s in a relationship with a not-live-in girlfriend everyone said is such a nice person. I haven’t met her yet.
Evidently, men might worry they’re going to have a turtle in their pants, afraid to poke its head out when the seas part and they need to dive in. The other men listened, very possibly in disbelief, that a ‘we-don’t-speak-about-that topic’ was the topic of discussion. Like verbalizing it brings a curse upon them. I didn’t try to make eye contact with anyone but our gold metal guy. He was sitting across the table from me, and held my rapt attention. I’m not making fun of him or the situation. The absolute opposite. I’m heralding his guts to put it out there…perhaps to foster some understanding from us women. If we were hookers, the action would probably be a sure thing. It’s when we make them nervous…because they actually care, want to impress and satisfy us, that he was talking about.
I wonder if this is such a taboo topic that men don’t even talk to each other about it. Do they just shrink back and let anxiety rule their sex life? When they fake disinterest to protect the timid pal in their pants, do they realize women who want and/or love them might feel rejected, beat themselves up thinking if they were in better shape or prettier, he’d be ready and willing? That they might be pummeling her ego to defend theirs? Or do they down Viagra or Cialis and hope Little Dick doesn’t choke?
Can arousal overcome anxiety even then?
I left lunch with the impression from our gold metal guy that while dating, steaming up the car windows as he dropped a date off at her house, even something as light as the touch of her hand in his, a look in her eyes, that turtle would not only pop his head out, he’d stretch the wrinkles out of his neck. It was safe when the relationship wasn’t ready to burst through the bedroom door. But, pull back the sheets, leave their clothes in a heap, and wham. Game time. Beat the Clock. Come on buddy, wake up. Show your face. Palms sweat, anxiety reins, and sometimes turtles seek cover.
I felt like an idiot. Didn’t dare or want to say that the turtles I’d seen were head-strong and curious devils. Sure, there were a couple of moments when they just got tired. Deserved to. Affair sex can be long-intense episodes that benefit from an intermission. But they’d always perked back up for the last act. Curtain calls even. I never asked, but have secretly wished I’d bought stock in the drug company that sells Viagra.
I want to rip open the bedroom door; research and discuss these issues so important to both men and women. These topics can be delicate taboos to the most intimate of lovers. Could an aging man in an aging relationship with an aging partner be a driving force behind him having an affair? Seeking younger women? Could the desire to take porn-inspired adventures from fantasy to reality be to tempt the turtle? Talk about a dating danger zone…I hadn’t thought about it being scary for them.