‘But, You’re Literally The Manliest Guy In The Group!’

17 Jun

That was the response when I told my friends I have low testosterone.

It’s not like I TRY to be uber-manly, the things I do are simply what society has deemed masculine. Now, let’s not get derailed into a discussion on gender identity and patriarchy here, I am not placing a value judgement on being manly or not, on being feminine or not, or even the definition of manly; this was the response I received from a friend. Well, ok, for this discussion we do kind of need to define ‘masculinity’. But not in a way that defines value or gender, this is about society’s perception of the masculine.

The simply fact is, our society does place a great deal of value on men being ‘manly’, and on certain behaviors defining our place in society. No matter how many women tell us ‘size does not matter’, we still judge a man by the size of his penis. Or his wallet, or truck-which, are simply analogies for his penis. My cock is average, my truck is a beat up little ’99 Tacoma, and my bills are paid and there’s money in the savings, if barely. But that’s not how my friends judge me. We aren’t a very ‘mainstream’ group when it comes to such things either, and in my case I don’t exactly fit the typical husband gender roles in that I don’t bring home the bacon, I am the primary homemaker and child care provider in our family.

Pinning down exactly what was meant by that statement has been interesting. Is it my appearance? Jeans n t-shirt, long hair, beard, tattoos. Is it the things I do? I cook over charcoal, I am a skilled carpenter, I camp and hike. Is it that I am so very sexual? I flirt mercilessly and am very open about sex and sexuality and my partners. I just don’t know. You can make a list of ‘manly’ traits, and I’ll have most of those. Make a list of ‘feminine’ traits, and I’ll have quite a few of those too. Regardless, my friends consider my very masculine.

And so I was the last one they would have thought would have low testosterone(because, you know, masculinity is purely defined by hormones).

They don’t really know how to deal with that. I tend to be very open about every aspect of my life, even this one. We all are. When my friend Tiberius starting having intestinal troubles, he talked openly about his irritable bowl, and his multiple colonoscopies. But he could not handle my openly discussing my low testosterone.

There is a line, it seems, when it comes to sharing information.

But why is this it? How is low testosterone too private, while his bowls are public? It wasn’t just Tiberius, the entire group shuffled their feet and wouldn’t make eye contact for a bit.

So why do we cherish our masculinity so much that a simple thing like low testosterone is such a threat? What if I had erectile dysfunction and shared that bit of information? Is that a threat to my masculinity? I think what it comes down to is the simple fact that this has not been something people have openly discussed. Like most sex subjects, it’s taboo. And that’s part of why I’ve been so open about discussing it, to push that veil of secrecy back just a little.

Low testosterone is surprisingly common, though I’m a tad young for it. For the longest time it was misdiagnosed as other issues, such as low blood pressure or diabetes.

Figuring out my own diagnosis was an interesting path, that’s for sure. It started when I went to work on the night shift at UPS, and after a hard shift unloading trailers I would come home looking forward to sex with my wife or girlfriend, only find have a hard time reaching orgasm. I just figured I was exhausted. Then began some weight gain, fatigue, soreness, and muscle loss. Gradually, the intimacy issues got worse, to the point where I had trouble maintaining an erection, and sometimes reaching orgasm at all was a chore. I knew something wasn’t right, but I had no idea what. I knew I could expect some intimacy issues as I got older, but I’m not even 40 yet! The problem is I have no experience with being 39 years old, I don’t know if what I am experiencing is normal or healthy or not. Then after almost three years I finally got my transfer to the day shift. I was ecstatic. Finally, not only would I have more time to spend with my kids, wife, and girlfriends, but I would not be so tired in the evenings, so sex should be a breeze!

I was wrong.

One evening with Paige, I failed. Now, I had learned that sometimes I could expect some difficulty, that an orgasm would be difficult and even maintaining an erection could prove impossible. But usually some oral sex would get me back on track, or at least a 15 rest before trying again. But this time I failed completely. I told her about my difficulties. She was happy I was open, rather than making some lame excuse. She’d been with men with issues before and they usually lied or tried to hide it. My openness was refreshing. She then asked me if I’d had my testosterone tested. Now, I had been considering talking to my doctor about some little blue pills, but this was a much better idea.

Later on I googled ‘low testosterone’, and found a list of symptoms that mirrored my own. I made an anointment, and got myself tested. Yup, it’s low. Very low. And so now I am on testosterone therapy.

I’ve spoken to several men, and ladies whose men suspect they have low testosterone, and they are all hesitant to get tested. They are afraid they might actually be low. I don’t get this attitude. I was happy to be tested! I hoped I did have low testosterone! Because that meant there was a fix. I could rub a little cream on my shoulders every morning and I would be well again. I guess this is one of things like penis size, that men get all obsessive over, as if they had some sort of control over it. But it’s not like you can just try harder to have a big cock, or more testosterone. You can’t make a change my exercising more, or masturbating less, or meditation, or diet.

It’s been a month since I started my therapy, and I feel better already. Though my friends are still a tad uncomfortable…

 

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