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A Phoenix5 First-Person Story


"Impotency and Viagra"

by Aubrey Pilgrim

photo of aubrey pilgrim During W.W.II, I was stationed on a small island in the South Pacific. Almost every one got a fungus we called Jungle Rot on their hands and feet. One poor guy got it on his penis. The medic said, jokingly, "If we can't clear this up, we may have to amputate it." The guy said, "Doc, if you have to cut that off, you may as well cut here," and drew his finger across his throat.

I felt about the same way when I was told in 1992 that I had prostate cancer. I love sex, and being a doctor, I knew that a prostatectomy leaves a majority of men impotent. The reason is that the nerves that cause an erection lie alongside the prostate and they are usually severed or damaged during the operation.

I panicked and had the prostatectomy. Of course it left me impotent and with an incontinent problem. I enjoy sex immensely, so I have tried all the various options. I got a vacuum erection device which works very well. I also tried the injections which also work well. I recently got a prescription for Viagra and had the first normal erection I have had in the last six years. It was fantastic! I was ecstatic, so you can imagine the disappointment that I felt when it did not work the next time I tried it.

Why It May Not Work

I soon found out that there are several things that might prevent the drug from working. First, it is very important that you take it on an empty stomach. If you have several other things in your stomach, it may be diluted and not be absorbed as quickly into the blood stream. Once you take the drug, you should wait at least an hour for it to do its magic.

Another important factor is that the pill must be of the proper potency. I tried the 50 mg first, which had no effect. I then tried two of them and it worked. The 100 mg pills cost the same as the 50 mg. So if you can get by with 50 mg, buy the 100 mg and cut them in half. If you have no vascular or heart problems, you may not have to worry about taking a larger dose. During the trials, some men were given as much as 300 mg with no side effects. You should be aware that Viagra acts on the blood vessels much like the blood pressure lowering drugs. Millions of men have taken the pill, a few have died from it. So if you have a vascular or heart problem, by all means check with your doctor.

Another very important factor is that you must be in the mood. You cannot expect it to work if your mind is at the office, you are worrying about the rent or maybe you are pissed off at your mate. There are times when I feel very horny during the day. There are other times when even the Bay Watch babes on TV would not get a second glance. Unfortunately, I don't have too much control over when I feel horny.


Stimulation is very important. A bit of stimulation can help me even if I am not feeling particularly horny. By stimulation, I mean manual manipulation. Note that I did not say masturbation. That is a terrible sinful practice. Many young people today openly admit to this shameful practice, but we of the older generation would never openly admit it. What we do to ourselves is nobody's business. If you can get someone else to do the manipulation, then it is not considered masturbation and you won't feel guilty.

People of our generation don't usually talk about oral sex. But since the Clinton sexational disclosures, it is something that everyone is talking about. Oral sex is a great way to stimulate a partner, both male and female. The younger people have no qualms about doing this. But many of the older generation finds it distasteful. (Pun intended). Many people of our generation think that it is dirty and shameful. These same people think nothing of French kissing and perhaps trying suck the partner's tonsils out. They may not realize that, bacteriologically speaking, the mouth is one of the dirtiest parts of the body. Every time we put something in our mouth, it usually has lots of germs on it. The mouth always has lots of germs in it.

The penis can be washed and be very clean. If a woman takes care of herself the vagina of most women can be very clean. A friendly bacteria lives in the vagina of most women. It takes the sugars that are in the normal vaginal fluids and converts the sugars to a weak acid. This acidic environment is usually enough to discourage most harmful bacteria. Women are cautioned not to use a harsh douche so as not to kill the friendly bacteria.

Helping Viagra

Sometimes I take the Viagra pill and for some reason, am not able to have a full erection. I then drag out my trusty vacuum erection device (VED) and help it. I can pump it up, then use the constriction rings to hold the erection. There have been other times when the pill not only worked at night, but I was able to have a normal erection the next morning without any help. The pill was still doing its magic.

The pill should work on most men, even those who have had an orchiectomy or those on combined hormone therapy (CHT). Of course it may be more difficult and more stimulation may be needed. Without testosterone, these men will have little or no libido. It may take a bit of effort in this case. But the effort will be well worth it. You have no doubt heard the old saying, use it or lose it. It is so very true. Even if you don't expect to use an erection for fun, you should do every thing possible to cause an erection quite often. An erection causes an influx of blood into the penis which nourishes the tissues. Without this nourishment, the tissues will atrophy and shrink and die. Men who are on CHT for long periods will suffer from shrinkage of both the testicles and penis. Using a vacuum erection device to bring in nourishing blood can help prevent this insult. It is bad enough to have cancer. Many of us don't enough in the penis department to begin with and can ill afford to lose any.

Libido and Orgasms

You probably already know that Viagra will not increase your libido. It also will not help you to have an orgasm. There is almost no literature about the physiology and mechanism of an orgasm. Lots of study has been done on what causes an erection, but none that I can find on orgasms. Before my prostatectomy, I could understand why I had to wait awhile between ejaculations because the body had to make more of the good stuff. Now that I don't have to wait for more to be made I should be able to have an orgasm every five minutes or so. Alas, no such luck.

I have heard Dr. Pat Walsh say that sex and orgasms after a radical prostatectomy would be the same. Dr. Walsh has done lots of prostatectomies, but has never had one done on himself. So he does not know the difference. And there is a vast difference. The prostate is a musculo-glandular organ. During ejaculation, the prostate squeezes down and forces the semen out. This contraction is a large part of the pleasure of an orgasm.

I enjoy sex immensely, even when I cannot have an orgasm. I agree whole heartedly with a statement made by Woody Allen. He said that the worst sex he ever had was terrific.

Neglected Wives

There are several good sites on the Internet that have discussions about prostate cancer. One such site has a lot discussions by wives of men who have prostate cancer. I am amazed at the number of wives who decry the loss of sex because of the hormone treatments that their husbands must undergo. They miss the closeness, the hugs, the kisses and all the rest that goes with sex.

Most men get almost as much pleasure in bringing a woman to orgasm as they do in having one. But according to these messages, many of the men who have no libido or desire are neglecting their wives. They may be embarrassed and feel inadequate. That is a shame. Besides oral sex, there are many other ways to cause a woman to have an orgasm. There are many sex toys that can help. Most adult bookstores carry them. But you may not be near one, and it may be embarrassing to be seen going into one of those places. There are several mail order companies who will send you a catalog and then send products in a plain brown wrapper. Here are a couple of numbers that you can call: Adam and Eve at 1-800-765-2326 and Leisure Time at 1-800-874-8960.

I have heard women say that a vibrator is not as good as the real thing, but anything is better than nothing.

My Book

After my prostatectomy, I began working on a book A Revolutionary Approach to Prostate Cancer. It has chapters and articles from over 20 medical doctors and several survivors. It covers all of the treatment options.


Aubrey was a Doctor of Chiropractic in the 1950s but gave it up for electronics. After retiring from Lockheed in 1987, he began writing a series of computer books for McGraw-Hill. Over 500,000 copies have been sold. His book on and experience with prostate cancer can be read at

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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.