I am a failure. I’m a failure of a husband and a man. No, I didn’t cheat on my wife; I feel like I’ve done the opposite of it, actually.
I’ve been wearing this feeling for awhile. A long time, really. Ever since we got married.
When my life turned around many, many years ago, I found new victory in sexual purity. I had never achieved such life-giving victory after experiencing a sexual outing with a man I didn’t even know.
When Lisa and I started dating, this purity was vital for me to maintain. I wanted to honor my wife-to-be as much as possible — including physically.
Lisa and I kept our physical relationship overly conservative for my sake. I wanted to be sure not to make the mistake of having sex before marriage again — and I wanted her to keep from making this mistake altogether.
We didn’t have sex, sleep together, or even make out before marriage. Our wedding night would open new doors in our relationship.
But our wedding night turned out to be quite the opposite experience. Thus started my failure as a husband and the continuation of my failure as a man.
During our honeymoon, it came to our attention that I could not achieve a full erection. No matter what we did, I could not get erect enough to penetrate my wife.
This tumultuous experience brought on arguments, tears, and untold amounts of hurt for each of us.
As soon as we returned home, I saw my doctors. Yes, doctors — plural. I was scared. Lisa was scared. And we were both clueless.
The doctors all agreed: early onset erectile dysfunction. You know those awkward pharmaceutical commercials about old people trying to have sex? That was me.
It turns out that I can only get an erection for an average of 5 seconds before going flaccid — orgasm or not. And, most often, this erection is only what’s called a stage 2 erection, meaning the penis is engorged but not stiff. Erections must reach stage 3 before intercourse is possible, and even on medication, I am barely able to achieve a stage 3 erection. I haven’t had a stage 4 erection in countless years.
I’ve felt like a failure, unable to be a normally sexually active male. It is difficult for me to have sex, both physically and now also mentally and emotionally.
Those expensive medications have come and gone with little assistance; the leftovers sit in my nightstand as a testament to my failure in our sex life.
Excuse me, former sex life.
With the busyness of a family, a move, a job change, and life in general, my wife and I have not had sex in an embarrassing amount of time. What’s more: we have both let this happen because we are both destroyed by my failure.
Lisa has said it’s not my fault. We both know better.
But I can’t help and wonder: would my wife be better off without me? Why couldn’t God give her a husband who could satisfy her sexually the way she desires? Why couldn’t God have provided a way for us to have a healthy sex life in our marriage?
After all, didn’t we honor Him by keeping pure before marriage? Is this really fair?
Each day, I wake up reminded that I am a failure to my wife. I fail as a husband, and I fail as a man, unable to do the one thing every other man can do — achieve a normal erection.
Have you experienced failure as a man, physically or otherwise, in marriage or in singlehood? How do you move beyond your failures?
* Photo courtesy slynkycat, Creative Commons.