Erectile Dysfunction, Sunday Football…and, “are you healthy enough for sexual activity?”

Subject brewing all football season, but has come to a head — har har — only last Sunday. Even then, I chewed on it for a few days. I’m not always sure I want to jump into a post that’s sure to make some flinch. …But first, a little background. I’m a fair weather friend. It must be said. In fact, it’s since about 1985 that I’ve loved to quote the famous saying:

A friend in need is…a pest.

Well, almost a quote. It’s just that in terms of football, the 49ers were just amazing around 15-20 years ago and thereabouts, and I paid a lot of attention. And when they went dark, I had little to no interest except for the occasional game here and there, so long as there were apps & alcohol in reach. This year, I’ve watched every single game and many others of other teams. Sunday has become football, for me. Oh, well. I’ll get over it.

I can’t remember a single TV commercial back in the day, or before, sporting a buffed, rugged looking guy in his 40s, sailing a boat in restless seas, experiencing a sail malfunction, fixing it and after all that:

He can’t get it up.

He’s gotta check with his doctor to see if he’s “healthy enough for sexual activity.” Then he gets a prescription and the principle warning is not that you can’t get it up in your 40s and ought to take serious note of that, but of having “an erection lasting over 4 hours.” As a dear relative said — who passed away earlier this year after a long bout with cancer — in one of her life-of-the-party-to-the-very-end moments, “Call your doctor? Hell, call me!” Well if you couldn’t get it up before, and now the risk is an uncontrolled, runaway erection…I mean, is this comic? Is it comic? I’m laughing.

Does any of this make sense?

What planet do I live on? How did the society in which I’m a part of since 1961 — a microsecond in evolutionary time — become so pathetic as to not only put up with, but buy into that sort of pathos, and act like it’s just business as usual? Well, that’s really the kicker in all of this for me, and sends me into raging laughter over the drug-dependent impotent state for which society seems to be clamoring and reaching.

I’m not altogether sure, because I still hold out for evidence of Immaculate Conceptions & all, but I’m pretty sure that every single person alive is the result of “sexal activity.”

Are you healthy enough? Seriously?

You know what? If you’ve got such dietary or psychological issues that you can’t perform except in those rarest of inexplicable times that are probably alcohol related, perhaps you might consider just hanging it up, sparing the world your progeny, for now. Alternatively, how about get up off your football-watching ass, toss the burgers, pizza, wings and Bud Light, get yourself some decent nutrition — look into paleo while it’s still cool — and push, pull and lift a heavy thing or two, now and then.

This isn’t rocket science. Male impotence ought to be a rare condition, not something so common that it can command the most expensive TV advertising space that exists.

Stop being so pathetic, men.

Update: Someone reminded me of this great Bill Maher rant on the pharmaceutical industry.


  1. McGrok on November 16, 2011 at 13:47

    Bravo! That’s right. I can’t imagine feeling that way. I tell you I do some squats or deadlifts and I am ready, as I’ve said before, in the words of AC/DC, to give a 21 gun salute! or, to quote another one of their songs “let’s get it up!”

    heavy lifts, healthy food. The ladies love it!

    • Richard Nikoley on November 16, 2011 at 13:53

      And don’t forget the teenage natural morning alarm clock!

      • Montie on November 19, 2011 at 19:01

        I dunno Richard, I have discovered at 56 that a year of healthy food, heavy lifts and occasional sprints (well, combined with a truly hot 36 year old girlfriend, which may be a major factor) have restored my “natural teenage morning alarm clock” .

        Oh, and I love that comment by your relative about who to call with an erection lasting over 4 hours. Everytime I hear one of those commercials, I think “Call my doctor? Hell, I’m calling everybody I know to do some bragging!”

  2. Dave Fish on November 16, 2011 at 14:04

    Art DeVaney wrote an editorial published by The Daily Beast on Superbowl Sunday about the fact that the food and alcohol products advertised during football games actually make men less manly. In addition to all their other negative health effects, they lower testosterone and increase estrogen. It all combines to create a perfect storm and big pharma can be the hero by providing a pill to let you ignore how your body is being destroyed and lets you get it up. Mindless sheeple are easier to control and to sell to.

  3. rob on November 16, 2011 at 14:42

    I got prescribed a medication once that made it not work. And by “not work” I mean zero, zilch, nada, a vast emptiness … it was the worst feeling in the world so of course I stopped taking it, told the doc “this just isn’t going to work.”

    It was a disassociated feeling, like I was floating through the cosmos with no orientation, direction or bearing.

  4. Richard Nikoley on November 16, 2011 at 15:04

    “It was a disassociated feeling, like I was floating through the cosmos with no orientation, direction or bearing.”

    Unless you risk death otherwise, this is death by other means.

    I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not to be able to go wood.

    No interest i a self experiment, either.

  5. Koanic on November 16, 2011 at 15:07

    As much as I enjoy your writing, I have to call BS on that “holding out for evidence” pose.

    The evidence has been out there, in plain game-set-match format, for a looong time.

    I read Josh McDowell’s “A Ready Defense” and “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” at age 9 when I challenged the rationality of believing whatever my parents believed.

    That’s about the time most atheists decide there’s something fishy, but then they never do their homework.

    If you want to get into Genesis and science (not that it’s relevant to the central question), Schroeder’s “The Science of God”, “The Hidden Face of God” and “God According to God” will make you wish you listened in physics class.

    There’s no shortage of evidence. And there’s no shortage of lazy or irrational atheists who criticize, based on social interactions with morons, an intellectual body of which they have zero understanding.

    Most people are idiots.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 16, 2011 at 15:20


      Here’s a task for you, for tomorrow.

      Google “tongue in cheek.” The next task would be to Google “wasting time.”

      • Koanic on November 16, 2011 at 17:56

        I assure you that I regularly seize upon far flimsier pretexts to inject a topic I’m currently working on into an Internet discussion. It’s a useful way to organize nascent thoughts, regardless of the receptivity of the audience.

      • Rick Lucas on November 17, 2011 at 06:31

        That’s a very clever way to say you’re just a troll.

  6. Noah on November 16, 2011 at 15:11

    Ken Wilber once said that male of our species was only a hundred thousand years removed from our most overriding instincts being fuck it or kill it
    Now we sit in fluffy chairs, watching other males symbolically doing the latter while we’re sold chemicals to be able to (hopefully) help us do the former.

    Wow, time flies,

  7. Alex Good on November 16, 2011 at 15:28

    Maybe they were talking about erectile dysfunction that occurs after the 15th fuck session of the day?

  8. Chris Tamme on November 17, 2011 at 06:44

    Might as well tell people they have a problem that can be fixed with a little pill. I don’t understand why doctors are so ready to start injecting people with drugs when 80% of the time they have no clue what the underlying problem is and are simply treating a symptom. My MIL is on a dozen different drugs and I asked her what conditions would make it possible to stop taking the drugs. She told me she didn’t know and just assumed she would be on them for the rest of her life. That is scary to me considereing one of the drugs requires monthly liver tests. Docs scare the crap out of me.

  9. Brett Legree on November 16, 2011 at 18:00

    The day I can’t get it up, will be the day I shoot myself in the fucking head.

  10. Doug McGuff, MD on November 16, 2011 at 18:24

    Guess what…..if you can’t get it up, you’re not healthy enough for sexual activity. This is what your limp pecker is trying to tell you. Natural selection in action baby!

  11. Daniel Kirsner on November 16, 2011 at 22:02

    Angry Dick–why you dun bein’ so angry about this? The biggest market for Pecker PEDs is no more the impotent than the biggest market for anabolic steroids is burn victims, the biggest market for amphetamines is those with true ADHD, the biggest market for EPO is the severely anemic and the biggest market for cannabis is those with MS or cancer. PEDs are fun, K? I still recall the first time I popped a Viagra tab a friend gave me, some 10 or 12 years ago…and got hard staring at a vacuum cleaner. Hell, I could have done Janet Reno or (f0r today’s audience) the newly seated SCOTUS whack-job . Which brings up a very important point, O Angry Dick. Who do you think the average 55-year old football fan dude is married to? Have you seen some of these women? I suspect even your diamond-carving Little Richard might fail you under such conditions, and you’d be more than welcoming of a little chemical assistance–in addition to the SSRIs and benzos you’d need later to cope with the memories…

    • Richard Nikoley on November 16, 2011 at 22:10

      Yea I know all that, Daniel.

      Recreational use wasn’t the point, though your last point is certainly prescient.

  12. Daniel Kirsner on November 16, 2011 at 22:22

    Yeah, but drug companies can’t LEGALLY market these drugs for recreational use. They can imply, nudge-nudge wink-wink, and do all sorts of things to promote recreational or other off-label use, but they have to maintain “plausible deniability”…

  13. Sean on November 17, 2011 at 04:35

    My 86-year-old grandfather-in-law asked my SIL (who is a doctor) to score him some Viagra. She laughed it off, though, the heartless bitch. The dude was a farmer and had ropy muscles and 5 percent body fat up until the day he died but I guess that shit catches up with everyone. They were the old generation that had a garden and chickens and ate black bread with lard and kept bottles of Becherovka under their pillows (separate bottles of course). I’m sure it was those heart-healthy whole grains that kept him lean and mean.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 17, 2011 at 07:32

      Yea, the 80-somethings get a pass and a high five.

      I’ve just noticed over time that the men in those commercials are younger and younger.

      • Sean on November 17, 2011 at 08:34

        I’m not criticizing your mocking of these idiotic commercials, and I was honestly surprised by the quantity of such pharma ads I saw last time I was in the States.

  14. Bill Strahan on November 17, 2011 at 06:04

    Viagra is old news. The two new drugs, Mycoxafailin and Dadixafloppin will put it to shame. ;)

    Seriously, I once I had a conversation with a guy in has late forties who was lamenting that he couldn’t get an erection with the new blood pressure meds he was on. He wasn’t overweight, so I immediately suggested he could reduce his BP the same way I had. Within a few minutes, he was saying “No way I could give up bread, besides everyone knows whole wheat bread is good for you.”

    I told him to suit himself, but regardless of what he knew to be true and what I thought that contradicted him, my dick still got hard. I also pointed out that giving up bread for pussy seemed a quite reasonable exchange. Of course, to Daniel’s point, my wife is hot and we both stay in good shape. Some of my similarly aged friends, while no prize themselves, are married to troglodytes.

    My wife’s contact name in my iPhone comes up as “Hot Milf” Got quite the laugh when one of my kids was holding my phone when she called. Heh.

    • Sean on November 17, 2011 at 07:02

      Yeah, my problem at 46 is that I still walk in the door, drop my shorts and say, “You wanna?” I think a little anti-Viagra is what she’s often envisioning…

      My wife has kept herself quite the hardbody all these years (unlike my own voyage into the fatso wilderness) , despite the kid and the stressful job and crazy hours. When it comes to having hot spouses over 35 we are the 1%.

      • Bill Strahan on November 17, 2011 at 18:14

        Yeah. Happy to be the 1% at as many things as I value. :)

        Today I walked in and looked out the window and saw my older daughter’s jeep wasn’t parked outside. About that time my wife asked what was on my schedule. I said “An afternoon quickie. I’ll be happy to mark that off both our lists.”

        My daughter’s head shot up above the level of the couch with a loud “I’m right here!”

        Well, that’s what she gets for parking in front of the neighbor’s house. :)

        I’m blessed and lucky and fortunate, all wrapped up in one. Life is good.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 17, 2011 at 19:39

        Did she say “daaaaaad.”

      • g on November 18, 2011 at 00:28

        God that is soooo funny. Traumatizing kids with love and affection!!!

      • Bill Strahan on November 18, 2011 at 07:01

        Heck no, that would be whining, which is strictly forbidden! :)

        Besides, contrary to what you might think, its clear from what her friends say that she actually brags about how hot her parents are for each other.

        Why does no one embrace this idea? Do we want our kids thinking they were conceived in the absence of passion? Do we want them to witness, and therefore expect for their own experience, a decline in passion during marriage?

        I’ve made it very clear to all the kids how it is, and think they’re better for knowing. I intend to keep my food intake and exercise output chugging along sufficiently that I’ll be able to set the same example for my kids’ kids as well. Looking forward to it. Hmmm. I’ll change my wifes contact name to GMILF at that point. :O

      • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2011 at 07:05

        “Ewwwwww; grampa!” :)

      • g on November 19, 2011 at 04:15

        Strahan, I am in agreement… kids should be ‘traumatized’ by reeal, honest affection and displays of attachment!!! Excellent response!

      • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2011 at 07:26

        Hey Bill, the book arrived yesterday.

        Thank you, sir. I’ll be digging in soon.

      • Bill Strahan on November 20, 2011 at 19:22

        Fantastic! Been swamped with the new house purchase. My awesome wife has helped me realize every pilot’s dream and now we own a home and hanger on an airport. Oh boy!

      • Richard Nikoley on November 21, 2011 at 08:32


        That sounds great. On one of my XC jaunts, we landed at Pine Mountain Lake Airport, which is houses and hangers along the runway and tarmac. Very cool.,-120.173178&spn=0.037879,0.038366&hnear=2340+Carlton+Ave,+San+Jose,+California+95124&t=m&z=15&vpsrc=6

  15. Grant on November 17, 2011 at 06:59

    Anyone care to wager on how long before the first woman leaves a comment here?

    • ChrissyV on November 17, 2011 at 07:06

      Hah, I think we posted right at the same time!

    • Sean on November 17, 2011 at 07:10

      Fucking awesome, now you’ve contaminated the results with this meta-observation.

      • g on November 18, 2011 at 00:33


  16. ChrissyV on November 17, 2011 at 07:06

    I’ve been paleo-ish for awhile now, getting stricter because I’m feeling good. Boyfriend is not onboard, still putting down those six packs and wanting his mac & cheese. Frankly, I wouldn’t want him to be taking Viagra at this point because he’s not looking so awesome these days. But I’m working on it.

    • Sean on November 17, 2011 at 07:24

      Isn’t this idea of changing one’s lover (or working on them) doomed from the start? It cuts both ways but I think it more of a feminine ideal or windmill to cant at.

      • ChrissyV on November 17, 2011 at 07:36

        Yeah, I’ll agree with the feminine ideal for the most part. There are plenty of unique things about him that make me crazy, but I accept those. He’s almost 10 years younger than me and he should be rarin’ to go and he ain’t. I’m just trying to get him to read the SCIENCE behind paleo. You would think he’d be open to it as he’s a medical researcher in rheumatoid arthritis, and he’s actually developing symptoms of RA at this point. That has me worried.

      • Sean on November 17, 2011 at 08:13

        I can sense your frustration, the best one can do is lead by example, and you are already doing that. I’ve been blogging about this stuff for two years, or so, and most family members think it’s a joke. Cancer, CHD, diabetes, don’t pay attention to the guy behind the curtain.

      • Contemplationist on November 17, 2011 at 10:36

        Make him read it. Especially the posts about one spouse working to improve him/her self and the other not.

      • rob on November 17, 2011 at 12:17

        He should get his testosterone level checked.

      • ChrissyV on November 17, 2011 at 12:21

        He wouldn’t go to the doc unless his arm was cut off. And sorry to fuck up the results! Where are the wimmen commenters!?!

  17. Paul Verizzo on November 17, 2011 at 07:54

    I got put on Prilosec some years ago for depression. Lost most of my libido. I found that more depressing than being depressed! Took myself off and felt better.

    My general observations lead me to say that men who are not overweight and have either a long term loving partner or maybe even a “date” are good to go well into their eighties. I base this on my own family, my parents and grandparent known track record, from women who’ve been with much older men, and general anecdotal stuff.

    Richard, you did a great piece on soy once, as I recall a young guy who couldn’t afford enough blue pills and a woman who diddled herself many times per day. Linky? Stuff messes up all our hormones.

    “Viva Viagra!” Remember that ad series? Manly men around the campfire strumming a guitar and……what? Admitting to limp dick? Looking longingly into each other’s eyes? Weird, weird, weird.

  18. Swede on November 17, 2011 at 08:17

    Prilosec for depression? I don’t think that would work very well!

    *You probably meant Prozac. Prilosec is for heartburn. I only know this from seeing thousands of TV commercials for it while watching my sports!

    • Paul Verizzo on November 17, 2011 at 12:47

      Ha ha, great catch! My ancient mother uses Prilosec, so it was on my brain.

      I meant Paxil.

  19. palo on November 17, 2011 at 08:37

    What about guys that undergo prostate cancer surgery (removal of the prostrate)?

    They need all the help they can get, up to and including a penile pump.

    Folks, this is no laughing matter. Sometimes you need help!

    • Richard Nikoley on November 17, 2011 at 09:07


      Yes, exceptions such as that abound and on that score I celebrate the existence of such help.

      This is a diet and fitness blog on a Paleo theme and a huge part of that theme ia as Angelo Copola says on his Paleo podcast on the 5by5 network: “Humans are not broken by default.”

      I am fighting the increasing trend in attitude that virtually everyone ought to be on some pharmaceutical or another as a matter of course. Fix the diet first — tons of info here on this blog — and then see where’re you’re at.

    • Sean on November 17, 2011 at 09:31

      Isn’t it obvious from the context, palo, that Richard’s not referring to such special cases? Are these companies advertising during prime time American football pandering to people who’ve had their prostrates removed? Not bloody likely.

  20. palo on November 17, 2011 at 11:21

    Richard Nikoley sais, “I am fighting the increasing trend in attitude that virtually everyone ought to be on some pharmaceutical or another as a matter of course. Fix the diet first — tons of info here on this blog — and then see where’re you’re at.”

    Richard, you are singing to the chorus. I would add to your statement “and engage in an active style aiming to burn as many calories from activity as our paleo ancestors.

    There are always exceptions to the rules. For example, the legendary well endowed Ron Jeremy, who has performed in over 1,000 adult films, evidently always “functional,” is a fat slob, drugger drunkard.

    Hopefully the paleo lifestyle will bring us mere mortals to the “promised ladn.”

  21. Dave, RN on November 17, 2011 at 13:41

    Besides the usual diseases of civilization robbing men of their sexual function (diabetes etc) we also now have a huge amount of estrogen being dumped in our water supply via the urine of women who are on the pill. And then there’s the estrogenic effects of all the soy in processed foods.

    I just had my T checked and it was fairly decent at 670 (I’m 51). Tim Ferris’s book “the 4 hour body” has some hints on how to increase it. What surprised me was that for a young person, he started with a T level of the 200’s before he increased it the 800’s. I’m going to give his hints a try to see if I can get mine to the 800’s. Every little bit helps!

    Side note: saw a T-shirt. It read: “Ask your doctor if getting off your ass is right for you”!!

    • Richard Nikoley on November 17, 2011 at 13:47


      That t-shirt probably came from this:

    • grace on November 17, 2011 at 15:42

      Richard, every non-paleo man should read this…!!! (sex education 101)

      Dave, RN — good points!! I was wondering why Ferris T was so low and I believe he attributed to the ‘low fat diet’ (e.g. high carb and deficient of cholesterol and saturated fats, necessary for building T). He wasn’t even on drugs yet– many drugs lower libido and cause ED — BP lowering drugs, anti-arrhythmics, STATINS, hair loss, diuretics, SSRIs, antidepressants. One is already depressed then takes Prozac and can’t get it ‘up’… now THAT is depressing. Or… one has a heart attack, then takes a statin, beta blocker and ACE-inhibitor and eats more physician advised high carbs/gluten USDA healthykillyawholegrains and yada yada. If he didn’t have ED before the heart attack, gradually he w o o d . . . not (sorry pun intended).

      The environmental XENO-ESTROGENS are EXTREMELY problematic. You made EXCELLENT POINTS. This may be why the XY chromosomes are slowly going extinct. Already has in some animal (frog) species…

      • Richard Nikoley on November 17, 2011 at 15:49


        Judging by your hotness at AHS, combined with your pharmacological knowledge, you’re an expert on making sure men get it up.

        …As a side note, I have found over time that a clean diet combined with alcohol actually enhances performance, though that’s probably individual. Back as a 20-something, 2-much alcohol would ruin the evening. Now it’s not only of little concern, but can be enhancing.

        Diet is SOOOO important.

      • Todd on November 17, 2011 at 17:40

        No problems with the flagpole here, but my girlfriend always says I’m a little harder after I had some booze.

        Chalk it up for alcohol!

      • g on November 18, 2011 at 00:10

        *ha ahhha* Why thank u for the kind words! UR hotness was undeniable and as naked as ur bareskinned feet!! You might be on to something… confess, too many male patients have tried to ask me out for dinner. Alcohol actually increases the estrogen to testosterone ratio in studies … HOWEVER resveratrol in red wine and HOPS in beer BOTH inhibit aromatase which is the primary enzyme interchanging estrogens from testosterone. Personally the social lubricant effects of alcohol appeal the most besides the *cough cough* performance enhancing effects… even long lived paleo ish Okinawan women had 1-2 shots of sake most evenings!! AND FREQ S*XXX!

  22. Matthew on November 17, 2011 at 13:47

    Diet is obviously a huge part.

    But I think another fall of man is going to be internet porn. Richard I’ve linked before, but I implore you (and the rest of you men) to look into this site:

    often times ED is caused by dopamine depletion and not nutrition. Don’t get me wrong i have absolutely nothing against porn. It’s actually more the addiction forming way you can go through video after video on highspeed T1 lines these days. That messes up the brain and eventually you can only get hard (let alone get off) to some really sick shit.

    Even if your not having ED problems, if your a man who watches streaming porn, I’d look into this.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 17, 2011 at 14:08

      Hey Matthew:

      Hmm. Of course, the large confounder that argues that this is highly individual is the fact of and endless stream of porn stars that seems to perform just fine.

      Personally, I find porn pretty boring — kinda like cooking shows, I guess. Rarely watch either. I prefer to be a participant.

      But I suppose it’s plausible.

      Another possibility that occurs to me is a cause/effect reversal. Does excessive porn cause limp dick, or does a limp dick motivate one to gravitate to porn?

  23. Maureen on November 18, 2011 at 14:35

    I enjoyed reading about your life-of-the-party friend’s response to the warning on the ED commercial.
    Years ago when those commercials first aired, whenever the announcer would intone “an erection lasting four or more hours….”, my then 13-year-old son would interrupt “….would be TOTALLY AWESOME!”

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