Sex and other complications

Joey Garcia

I had prostate cancer and need a penis pump and Viagra to maintain an erection. The side effects of Viagra concern me, but the penis pump alone doesn’t do the trick. My girlfriend broke up with me after my doctor released me to go back to work. She denies it, but I know it was because of her fears about intimacy. I didn’t expect to ever be on the market again, but here I am. When do I tell a woman I am interested in about my post-cancer problem? Is the first date too soon? I don’t want to wait too long, but I don’t want to overshare, either.

For most people, sexual intimacy is one benefit of being in a relationship, but not the only reason they desire a partner. Some people are seeking affection, not sex. Or they want a companion for outings and travel. Others are driven by the fear of being alone as they age, and want a partner who can help. Human beings are complicated, so there are a multitude of explanations behind why we date. If you accept this reality, the urgency you feel to tell all will subside. When it does, your story can unfold naturally over the course of getting to know a woman. Wouldn’t that be sweeter?

Let’s look at rejection. Your girlfriend broke up with you while you wrestled with erectile dysfunction. Were there relationship problems prior to that time? When we talked by phone, you said yes. The two of you worked a lot, were each other’s arm candy at social functions, but didn’t enjoy an emotional connection. You argued a lot, too. But your mind tied the breakup to sexual intercourse (after all, there are other pleasurable sexual activities). Is it possible the breakup would have happened anyway? Or—take a breath— should the breakup have occurred earlier? Opening your mind to new perspectives frees you to love yourself fully. And that makes it easier to open your heart to a new woman. Remember this: A woman who ends a relationship with you because of sexual intimacy concerns is not rejecting you. She’s admitting that she can’t handle the situation. Don’t be offended by her honesty, be grateful for it.

I’m worried about my girlfriend because her father loses his temper a lot and calls her a whore, or worse. She’s not. We’ve never even had sex. Her mother doesn’t stop him. She tells my girlfriend not to take it personally. My girlfriend can’t move out. We’re in high school. I feel like our relationship consists of her telling me about her dad yelling at her, and me trying to get her to stop crying. What can I say to help her?

Your girlfriend’s father is abusing her, and he requires immediate psychological help. Some adults don’t understand the concept of projection. It’s a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously assigns his own ugly attitudes, fears or behaviors onto someone else. A father who calls his daughter “a whore” is signaling his own immaturity around sexuality. His daughter’s ease in accepting her femaleness may frighten him. It’s likely that his sexuality has never been integrated into his mind in a healthy, life-giving way. You must notify a counselor or another trusted adult at your school, and insist they intervene. Don’t let fear that this man will be angry with you get in the way of taking action to protect your girlfriend.

Meditation of the week
“An exciting and inspiring future awaits you beyond the noise in your mind, beyond the guilt, doubt, fear, shame, insecurity and heaviness of the past you carry around,” wrote Debbie Ford. What still needs to happen to make this the best year of your life?

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