Just Can't Get It Up?

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Like many other men suffering from impotence, Jake was reluctant to discuss the problem with his doctor -- it's still a taboo (especially for young men, who don't necessarily identify with Viagra pitchman, Bob Dole) and a source of shame. Had Jake mentioned his condition to his doctor, he most likely would've been referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist with experience in treating sexual problems, where they'd be able to examine the underlying sources of his impotence.

How Does Woody Work?
Sporting serious wood is not the simple process one might assume that it is. In fact, it's about as complex as a NASA rocket launch. Kaminetsky explains the inner workings: "Within the penis are two spongy cylinders that run parallel to the urethra. When a man becomes sexually aroused, his nervous system communicates the arousal to his penis. Blood vessels that supply the penis relax, allowing more blood to fill the spongy cylinders. That produces an erection." In other words, for an erection to work, it has to be all systems go, from your head to your toes.

Outside stress can also negatively affect your performance. Kaminetsky notes that "when the stock market is low the rate of impotence rises." (Urologists must have made a killing in the early "90s.)

Rising to the Occasion
In this boom economy, some young men are coming to Kaminetsky's private practice in New York City under false pretenses. "I see a lot of young guys in my office who tell me they're impotent, and I know they're not," he says, "They just want a Viagra prescription." Have we entered a brave new world in which healthy young men wish to transform themselves into biologically engineered marathon lovers? Actor Ben Affleck recently told Playboy that he uses Viagra. It was unclear, of course, as to whether his usage was out of necessity or a desire to copulate like Dionysus.

I'm happy to report that Jake is doing the right thing. He has begun to see a therapist, and although the impotence hasn't completely gone away, he reports that he and his girlfriend are making a lot of, um, headway.

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