When I was 17, I shoplifted condoms from a pharmacy, not because I’m a criminal but because I was too embarrassed to make eye contact with the clerk. I’m now in my late 40s and in a similar situation. Well, sort of similar. I need Viagra to function properly, but I’m too embarrassed to ask my doctor for a prescription. My doctor is a friend of mine, but I don’t think this is the problem. Am I just pathologically shy when it comes to sex?
T.R., St. Louis, Mo.
You should not feel shame or embarrassment about your problem. For one thing, you are obviously not too pathologically shy to actually have sex, unless you stole those condoms to make balloon animals. And your dilemma is a common one, though this columnist does not have personal experience with it, suffering as he does from Extreme Erectile Function Syndrome. If this columnist manages to reach 90, however, he will avail himself of whatever medications, stimulants, prosthetic devices, or kitchen implements he deems necessary to compete in his age category. (To celebrate reaching such an advanced age, he will also consume only chili dogs, Ho Hos, and cocaine.) But you should see a doctor soon—if not your own doctor, then a stranger in another city. Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of more serious problems, including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and lingering guilt over your career as a teenage condom thief.