Erectile Dysfunction: A Bridge Too Far…


Erectile Dysfunction: A Bridge Too Far…I have been swinging for almost a year now. From very humble beginnings, I have tried to preserve my thoughts and actions in this corner of the internet. There have been many smiles, a couple of laughs and a few tears. But throughout, my adventures there has been an overarching theme… what have I learned? (I am stealing a page out of Dylan’s book). Even from my earliest writing I have identified a simmering issue, a leitmotif beneath and throughout the theme, with my challenges to get and keep an erection while playing.

Non-monogamy has been very good for me. I do not think I could have quit drinking without it. Before the lifestyle, I was not-so-slowly drinking my way to an early grave, with diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression going untreated and even ignored. My own actions aggravated existing conditions, and ignoring the symptoms only made things worse. Non-monogamy gave me the impetus to pull myself out of the death spiral, to choose life, and then health, and then engagement with the rest of the world. But some of the damage done is not easily undone. From my early nights swinging at the club as a single, I had issues with erections. At first I thought it was group related, caused by performance pressure from too many observers. Then it manifested in my single play with partners, and then again in single play with my love. The Cialis that my doctor prescribed did what I needed to about half the time, and then over time even less.

I adopted strategies suggested by Dylan and Cooper. I didn’t let it make me crazy, I tried to relax, then I actually relaxed instead of merely trying, and I used my other tools. My hands and tongue and toys became new allies in the effort, but for some things you need a stiff cock. During play with my young partner Hope, we tried her first DP, and the piece of the story I didn’t share is that I simply couldn’t get hard enough to penetrate her. We moved up to airtight when I put my cock in her mouth in a semi-flaccid state. It was at this point I realized there was a legitimate problem. There is no way on God’s green Earth than I can NOT have a hard-on with this gorgeous young lady sucking on me.

I already had an appointment scheduled with a Urologist (more than a month in advance, you try getting an appointment in less time). I told him about my medical history, my partners, and the decreasing effectiveness of Cialis. He educated me about blood pressure, the hydraulics needed for the male erection, and the damage diabetes does to the body. It turns out most of the noticeable effects of diabetes relate to the very small blood vessels becoming damaged. Loss of eyesight, foot problems, and impotence all stem from this root cause.

The dosage I was taking of Cialis should have had an effect on a man twenty years older than me. If I was having issues, and I am, then a higher dose will not fix the problem. The next step is a little more intrusive.

If any of my readers get icked out by medical stuff., I truly advise you to stop now. What comes next isn’t fun, or sexy, but is genuine and real.

The treatment involves a cocktail of drugs. These drugs are then manually injected, by a very fine needle directly into to the shaft of the penis. OK… that’s enough I’M NOT LISTENING…I’M NOT LISTENING!!!

I did not actually shut down the good doctor while he was explaining all this to me. Nor did I run screaming from the medical building. I knew going into to this appointment, that it would be a day of hard truths. Blaming myself, or the gods, or anyone else, would not make my body respond more easily. Neither would embarrassment nor self-pity help me toward a solution.

So again, a very fine needle (Doc says it feels like a mosquito bite…I have had those on my penis and they are NOT comfortable…but I suppose that is a story for another time) injects a custom three drug cocktail. The Doc would give me the first few injections, and then I would be responsible from that point on. The dosage would start small, and then be gently raised each time until an erection would last for about an hour. If you have an erection for more than four hours, you really do need to go to the emergency room…great. Doc said some men just cannot do it, and my fears told me I might be one of them. I have had an unnatural fear of needles for almost all of my conscious life. The primary reason I started addressing my health in general and diabetes in particular, was to avoid needing injections of insulin. I HATE needles! How on Earth am I going to do this?

I had been in a state of fairly constant anxiety for a week in between appointments. I tried not to lose it on the drive up, my love patiently supporting me by my side. She knows this is not easy for me. It seemed like forever waiting in the exam room, my head popping up at any noise outside the door, and then down again. Doc came in and reviewed what we would be doing. After the injection, he said to go home and not expect miracles. He asked me to journal the time and intensity of my erections while on the dose: 1 being totally limp, 3 being semi erect, maybe enough to penetrate, and 5 being the rock hardest boner I have ever experienced. He told me we were shooting for about a 4.

The needle would inject into the spongy tissue on either side of the penis shaft. I would then hold gauze over the injection site, to keep blood and other fluids from backwashing through the injection hole. “We are talking about a medication that makes blood flow easier. We don’t want it trickling out from where it went in.” It really would not hurt that badly he assured me. “Are you ok?” he asked. “You are not going to pass out on me are you?” “Not yet,” was my only reply. I hadn’t started swooning yet, but I wanted to get this over with.

The actual stick wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I barely felt it. My own anxiety and worries were far worse than the event. Within a minute or two I could feel my cock getting thicker, heavier, as blood flowed into it. Unfortunately distance and timing didn’t allow for a dash home and into bed before time ran out. Perhaps he should have a room with a couch for “field testing,” similar to what my club offers. Over the next few weeks we would be dialing up or down the dosage, and I even attempted injection once on my own. It was not as horrible as I thought, and my hands didn’t shake too much. I will get better with practice. I can’t say as I am thrilled with the treatment, and our success rate isn’t 100 percent.

…but what alternatives are there? My Doc tells me this treatment is the most likely to be successful. Other treatments are even more intrusive, and success with this one isn’t guaranteed. It turns out that people who do not have success are usually diabetics…great. So I suppose the question is…what is it worth to me? I have been exercising, and sleeping right, and not drinking, and journaling, and beginning therapy. I have fixed my teeth and my eyes, talked to my doctor, modified my diet and maintained my medications. Every switch I know how to flip before arriving here I have reached for… And none of my actions have shown any appreciative effects regarding an erection. I have no more arrows in the quiver. I need to try something else.

I would be lying if I were to say that I am all right with all of this. I find myself sad and a little bitter that at the time when my life finally allows me to play with other people, my body takes away the ability. My love has been very supportive, and we hope that this treatment will work. There are other options available if it does not, and we will address them if needed. I am told erectile problems are the most underreported maladies in men over 40. If you or your partner are having issues such as this, go talk with your doctor.

Much as I write about my swinging adventures, I am publishing on this uncomfortable (to me) subject so that others might learn from my experience.


Note: There is sometimes a significant time gap between when events occur and when I write, also from when I write and when the article is published. This has an unusual effect that I can answer questions about something I wrote weeks or even months in the past as if it just happened. I have had success with my treatment, and have a process in place for playing with established lovers. I have not yet used it at a swing party or with newly found friends. I am still working out communication and timing to make this successful. I had considered revising or even re-writing the angst and near despair I was feeling earlier, and removing some of the more unpleasant emotions. After review, those emotions were genuine enough for me to share with my Swingset community. I will not revise them away simply because I am feeling quite a bit better. But I intend to revisit this subject when I feel the time is right, and share successful strategies incorporating my treatment into play with partners and at parties. As the Bartles and James guys used to say “Thank you for your support.”


The Salmon is exploring swinging and poly as a married single. Married for over 20 years, he and his love explore non-monogamy together and in different ways.


  1. TY for writing about that. It hit so hard at home with me. I’m a diabetic, loving my alcohol a little too much, & sad that at this time of my life I have erection issues more than I’d like.

    At the stage I’m wondering if it’s effects of diabetes or stress. Viagra does nothing, Cialis works some, and over the counter and cheaper pills are illegal I guess and keep getting pulled but work GREAT (but I can’t reliably get them.

    Again. Thanks


  2. Jim, As someone who has walked this path, I cannot recommend enough that you contact you doctor or preferably a urologist with training in ED. This path was hard for me to walk because I didn’t really know how common it is. There are multiple treatments, with no guarantees, but a doctor will help determine the cause of any ED issues, and then stage treatments accordingly. The largest breakthrough I experienced from all of this is that this is not anyone’s fault. It doesn’t lessen my sexuality, it is mainly a question of hydraulics. Once a solution was found for that, my confidence improved tremendously, and I find myself enjoying sexy times much more without worry. My partners so far have been very supportive, and I will post an update including how to manage this in a club/party environment in the future.

    Thanks for posting

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