How I stopped erectile dysfunction ruining my sexual confidence
‘I had a lot of anger’
Matthew Burke has spent the majority of his adult life struggling with erectile dysfunction. These issues have affected Matt’s sexual development and changed or even ruined his relationships, but he doesn’t let it affect his confidence.
It’s worse when you don’t talk about it.
For a few years, Matt recalls being too ashamed to mention his condition to anyone, or even discuss it with his girlfriend at the time. “We would just lie there in silence, acting like we didn’t mind not having sex. Everyone thought we were, so we just didn’t challenge that. Eventually we’d fall asleep and then not even mention it in the morning.”
The pressure that this silence created around his condition, over time, made it more difficult for him to overcome. Keeping most details about him anonymous, he said: “It’s do to with anxiety. When I eventually saw a doctor about this, he told me I would be in my sixties before I could expect my dick to stop working for any reasons that weren’t psychological.”
Having no physical deficiency but still being unable to sexually perform lead to what Matt remembers as an “infuriating” time wherein he was just as horny as any other teenage boy but couldn’t make his penis hard enough to relieve himself. “I had a lot of anger”, he reflects.
“The fact that I was still at school when I discovered this didn’t help at all.” Describing his classmates “racing” to lose their virginities while his still remained, Matt speaks about the few times that another boy at his school hadn’t been able to get it up with a girl because of “whisky dick”.
How the rumours has spread instantly and that student had been mercilessly ridiculed everywhere they went for the next two weeks. Terrified of getting the same treatment, Matt tried not to sleep with anyone in his year: “Imagine what I would get if they had discovered that was me but, like, every time.
“This basically meant I didn’t try and have sex with anyone. I got lonely and insecure and obviously that just exacerbates the problem.”
Recovery for Matt started by talking to a doctor. “We became pretty close,” he laughs, “especially after he just started prescribing me Viagra no-questions-asked.”
Since this first conversation, Matt has realised his condition is not as big a deal as he thought. “If anyone who reads this is going through the same thing, I’d recommend just talking about it to as many people as possible. You’ll realise how easy it is to deal with if you just start talking about it. Especially with your sexual partner.
“This affects 100 per cent of guys at one point or another, it’s not that embarrassing. So if this is happening to you, you can’t be shy.You just have to own it.”
It was a combination of talking it through with his friends and doctors that eventually helped Matt do away with his virginity and embark upon what he calls “some semblance of a healthy sex life”.
“I remember, just before I finally did it, my doctor was surprised to learn that I could still get Viagra on the NHS for free. So when he asked me how many doses I wanted, I just asked ‘how many can you prescribe at once?’ I left with thirty-six pills that day, had sex for the first time a week later.”
Matthew concluded: “I’m not completely cured but then I don’t expect to be. Accepting myself for who I am and talking about my condition without being ashamed of it reduces its hold one me. I may even be ready for a one night stand soon.”