Between the legs. Between the ears. Between the blankets. The total picture is always important.
We observe a swing motion in this. Nowadays the phrase ‘between the ears’ is not much appreciated. Twenty years ago this was different and within twenty years… well, who knows.
But not now. However I know – just like every man – that a normal erection starts, continues and ends between the ears. If this would only be a bodily affair, it would be rather meager.
What with a world of erotic meaning?
Whether you get an erection (or not) is very much influenced by your thoughts. Even if you do have an erection, quality is key: what it – also deeply – means to you and to your partner.
A fixation on a firm erection can obstruct the deeper meaning.
The former is rather materialistic and the latter mostly not. The term erectile dysfunction can also be connected to mental appreciation, even if physically everything runs smoothly. Thus, not only the what but also the how, like what visualizations lead up to the excitement, the level of commitment into the activity, and what ‘eros’ furthermore signifies, to what degree becoming one with your partner plays a role, the reasons one can have to want and not to want at the same time, an unconscious blocking off yourself due to guilt or shame for example, etc. This is a world of getting touched that is not solely determined by the binary issue: erection or no erection.
Men who pass up on this deeper meaning for a long time can develop erectile disorders precisely because of this neglect.
The inner fire gets extinguished, a fire that needs to be fed by erotic inspiration. The spiritus eroticus becomes impotent. And sooner or later the man himself becomes impotent. Understandably such a person could rather search for answers by switching a button than by opening up for a deep conversation with oneself. Such men are generally searching the solution least of all in places where it can be found, because not looking for the answer where it is, IS the cause of the problem. For the same reason they often want to drag down the caregiver into the condescending spiral. If the caregiver is not careful, he will become a partner in impotence.
All the more important is it to appreciate the mental aspect of the erectile disorder.
The current lack hereof is often rooted in the verbal fuss that psychotherapy often faces: a fog bank with plenty of advice but little action in effective depth. Still, the latter is possible. How could one forget? The erotic psyche is not the paint you see when looking at a building, but the entire building! A request for help can be focused on the paint but the caregiver’s first task is to put this into three dimensions.
A first meaningful move is away from ‘the problem of erectile disorder’ and to explore the real desire.
Obviously a physical disorder can be pserent. That needs to be seriously investigated. But even in such case, impotence is interwoven with perceptions, being: impotence as ‘not being able’ to reach manliness. Thus also the not being capable to fulfil one’s own desires. And for the partner: not feeling desired, not being visited by the manly eros and person, not feeling fertile, not being the foundation upon which something can be built… Not only is the man impotent, but also the couple. These are but a few thoughts. Such exploration is an important part of care.
Between the sheets
So, is the problem situated between the legs or between the ears? I suspect: everywhere. Also between human and culture, even between patient and caregiver. Equally important is the quality of questioning by the caregiver towards how in this setting and from start on, the issue is regarded, diagnosed and treated. A diagnosis is not only arrived at. It’s also ‘made’.
So what is it? Between the legs or between the ears? Eventually it’s between the sheets. And there you will find legs, ears, and also the relation to your partner in ALL aspects. This is perhaps not the most comforting insight, but does real sexuality get involved with comfort for the sake of comfort? An erection is something that is present… or not.
The total picture is always important.