Dear John: Should Viagra Make Her Feel Hurt, Happy, or Neither?
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for about 3 years—I'm in my mid 40s and he is young 50s. At the risk of sounding crass, ever since our first time together, the sex has been the most amazing sex of my entire life! It is not only great, but he almost always can go for quite a while, sometimes hours. I have felt like the sexiest woman alive because I'm thinking he's so attracted to me that he just wants me a LOT. We don't live together but about a month ago he left some clothes at my house so I threw his jeans in the laundry but, out of habit, I checked the pockets before putting them in the washer. I wasn't trying to pry—it's just a habit after losing a cell phone in the laundry a couple years back. Well, I found an empty pill pack for Viagra in the pocket. I guess I shouldn't be upset about it but it was a bit of a shock ... and then I started getting those doubts that maybe he's not as attracted to me as I thought, and maybe it's the Viagra that makes him so enthusiastic.
My main reason for writing is to get a man's perspective on this. You always say at the end of your column that you are a middle-aged man, and I didn't know who else to ask about this. Instead of feeling hurt, should I be flattered that he wants to perform his very best for me? Part of me thinks "if he thinks I'm sexy & I turn him on, why would he need Viagra?" but the other part of me thinks that he's doing it because he knows how much I enjoy our love-making and he wants to please me. Honestly, I'm not at all bothered that he didn't tell me, just trying to figure out if I'm hurt that I'm not enough for him or if I'm flattered that he wants me to be satisfied. So, I'd really like to get a man's perspective. What do you think?
To V Or Not To V, That Is The Question
Dear To V Or Not To V,
Should you be hurt? Should you be flattered? Neither. Your boyfriend doesn’t use Viagra because of or for you, at least not in the way that you mean. He uses it for him. He uses it primarily to avoid being embarrassed or humiliated by sexual failure or perceived inadequacy and secondarily because sex is fun and sex that lasts longer is more fun than sex that doesn’t. He uses Viagra either because he needs it to maintain an erection or he wants the freedom from worry it offers him. It really doesn’t have anything to do with you. In other words, you could be (insert favorite supermodel’s name here) and he would still be using Viagra.
So it certainly has nothing to do with your not being sexy enough. The fact that you’ve been in a satisfying relationship for three years indicates he thinks you’re plenty sexy. It’s not necessarily something to be flattered by, either. Yes, he wants you to enjoy sex with him, but that’s as much about how your enjoyment makes him feel as it is about how it makes you feel.
But you have nothing whatsoever to worry about, at least as far as this is concerned. You’ve enjoyed the best sex of your life for the past three years? That’s great. Keep right on enjoying it.
Completely accidentally, I think I hurt someone that I work with’s feelings. What happened is this: I think a lot of people get too easily offended by certain words and in trying to come up with inoffensive words to replace the allegedly offensive ones, the language gets more and more ridiculous. So I will admit I use words that are sometimes seen as provocative and when called out on them, I am happy to engage in a lively discussion about why I use the words I do and what you can and can’t conclude about me from them. One of these words is retarded. I will frequently describe something that makes no sense as retarded. Well, I did that at work recently in front of a co-worker I’m really fond of, only to find out later she has a son who was born with a mental disability, which I didn’t know. Since that time, I feel like I have noticed a distinct coolness toward me (but it could just be my imagination). I am really bothered by the thought I might have made her feel bad, though. So do I bring this up with her and apologize or just let it slide since I’m not even sure I caused the offense I think I caused?
Did Something…You Know
Dear Did Something,
In a situation like this, I think you should err on the safe side and talk with your friend about your concern. What you did was insensitive and an apology may be in order, but even if you’re imagining this coolness between the two of you, it might be helpful for you to hear how she feels when someone describes something as “retarded.” I agree that some “evolved” descriptors are an affront to the language, but on the whole, they’re an attempt to move beyond decades of (often inadvertent) cruelty. To embrace or to reject them all out of hand strikes me as unwise.
What do you do when you feel like friends are taking advantage of your friendship to pressure you into buying things? I’ve just been invited to my third home selling event in a little over a month. I don’t want to seem rude, nor do I want to appear unwilling to help a friend out, but I’m just not interested in these kinds of things and I resent being put on the spot. Not to mention the fact that I abhor a sales tactic masquerading as a social event. Seriously, why don’t they just invite my checkbook?
Not Very Inviting
Dear Not Very Inviting,
Maybe they’re subjecting you to a high-pressure sales pitch. Or maybe they’re just offering you the opportunity to shop while catching up with friends and drinking a little wine. It sounds like you’ve decided it’s the former, so you seethe every time one of these invitations arrives in your inbox.
Whatever spirit they’re sent in, try to view it a little more dispassionately. Take your friendship (and its possible abuse) out of the picture. Look at what’s being sold, decide if it’s something you’re interested in, and respond accordingly. Even if you accept the invitation, you’re under no obligation to make a purchase. You don’t feel like you have to buy something just because you walked into a store, right? If you see something you like, buy it. If you don’t, don’t. (And if your hostess is inviting you expecting you to feel obliged to buy something, then problem solved: you probably won’t be invited back again.) Just remember, no one can take advantage of you without your consent.
John is a middle-aged family man from Providence, Rhode Island. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at email@example.com.
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