Is there a male menopause? As a man in his mid-50s, I have recently become aware of getting older. Increasing age has had a curious effect on my psyche. I am noticing, on an almost daily basis, that I am thinking, feeling and behaving in ways that are starkly different from my youth and earlier adulthood. I will share these experiences on this blog and hope others will join me in describing their own age-related quirks and oddities. I can't be the only one at this "funny age", can I??
“I know this is kind of awkward, but I’ve yearned for you
since the moment we first met” she said.
Melissa had followed me into my office and shut the door. We
had been working late and there was no one else in the department. She stroked
her lower lip with her forefinger, as if checking it was still there. I
expected her to laugh and tell me it was all a prank. But she didn’t.
Motionless, I gaped at her.
“I’m f-f-flattered, but I’m a married …” My voice trailed
off. I was stunned. Melissa was in her early thirties, at least twenty years my
junior, and the most appealing girl in the department, oozing sexuality from
Her hazel-brown eyes locked onto mine. “I need you” she
whispered. Her breathing quickened. “I need you now.”
Her hand moved from her mouth to her neck. I could see her swollen
nipples through the flimsy fabric of her white top; she was not wearing a bra. Without
taking her eyes from mine, she slowly undid the buttons of her blouse, slipped
it from her shoulders and dropped it on the floor, releasing her firm, pendulous
breasts. She approached me and slipped her hands around my waist, backing me
against the office desk. She nuzzled her head into my neck and I felt the moistness
of her lips. Her ebony hair caressed my cheek and her fragrance stirred me. Her
hands slipped into the back of my pants and she held my buttocks, pulling me
against her hips. Her grip tightened and her finger-nails burrowed into my butt-cheeks.
I moaned with pleasure. Her grip tightened further; I gasped in astonishment at
the urgency of her need. Her talons sliced through my skin causing me
excruciating pain. I could feel rivulets of blood trickling down the back of my
thighs. I screamed.
“Bryan, Bryan; can you here me?”
I opened my eyes. An Asian fellow in a blue tunic, with a
moustache and hairy arms, was gently tapping my face. As I regained
consciousness, I registered a stinging pain from the cavernous depths of my
hemorrhoid removed” continued the junior surgeon “and two successfully
“Right,” I mumbled, “Thanks.”
Prostrated on a bed clad only in a surgical gown, I recalled
the events of the day. My arrival at the hospital after six-hours of prescribed
starvation. Suffering the indignity of an enema delivered by a student nurse young
enough to be my daughter (“hold it in for 10 minutes” she’d said – yeah, dream
on!). And removing my chic pink underpants and Velcro-slippers and placing them
under the surgical trolley prior to being transported to the operating theatre.
phallin, CC-BY, via flickr
Later, while recuperating in the recovery ward, nibbling my
corn-beef sandwich and sipping tea, I reflected on events in the operating
theatre. What contortions did they put my body through so as to get me in a
position to assault my
hemorrhoids? I was lying on my back on a trolley when they injected the
general anaesthetic so they must have moved me while I was in a coma. Did they
turn and splay me over a bench, in a position not dissimilar to one, I imagine,
commonly encountered by inmates in a Turkish prison? Or did they leave me on my
back and place my legs in straps (as per gynaecological examination) before
hoisting my butt into the air; if so, they would have required a mechanical winch
to get my sagging bollocks out of the way of the operation site.
about Melissa? Throughout the surgical procedure I would have been
surrounded by a clutch of theatre staff. Were there any clues as to my
fantastical muses while under the anesthetic? Did I get up close and personal with the dude with
hairy arms? Were there any obvious signs of arousal? Come to think of it, the
theatre nurse did smirk as she pushed my trolley all the way back to the
recovery ward … …
I’m tormented. An orchestrated
campaign is underway to cause me misery and embarrassment. As I descend into
middle-age (and beyond) a group of living entities, all with a similar form, is
waging systematic assaults upon my body.
And who is responsible for this
crusade of terror? An inner-city gang of hoodlums? A plague of norovirus? A
pack of rabid dogs? No, none of these, it’s something much more terrifying
that’s collectively known as smooth muscle.
Smooth muscle is found in various
parts of the body including the gut, windpipe, bladder and blood vessels.
Unlike most of our muscles which are under voluntary control (those in our arms
and legs for example) smooth muscle does its work automatically. While we can
choose when to move our limbs, smooth muscle operates outside of our conscious
It’s as if smooth muscle has a
mind of its own. It can also be sensitive to our focus of attention;
concentrate on a bodily function that is mediated by smooth muscle and that
function can change, often in ways we wouldn’t have wished for. This
combination, involuntary activation and sensitivity to attention, can be an
incendiary mix. Let me illustrate:
get older I worry more about my health. My hypochondriacal mind occasionally
senses that my gullet might be narrowing and that a blockage is imminent, thereby
putting me at risk of an agonizing death. Striving to reassure myself that
the tube is open, I focus on my throat and repeatedly attempt to swallow
saliva. By third or fourth gulp paralysis sets in – try it if you doubt me
– thus confirming my initial fear.
formal meeting at work and a lag in the discussion. The silence is
shattered when my stomach and intestine spring into action sounding like
the brass section of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the elongated
growl of a tuba along with the staccato of the trumpet section. Colleagues
eye me suspiciously; I pat my stomach to reassure them about the source of
the culprit resides further along the alimentary canal. Last week, while
in the frozen food section of the local supermarket, I bent over to pick
up some battered fish when my anal sphincter released a blast that sounded
like a container-ship’s fog-horn; I give the old lady next to me an
accusing stare, and ambled away.
muscle is involved in the expansion (and constriction) of blood vessels, a
process that is responsible for the most vital of all male functions: the
development and maintenance of an erection. And this is where smooth
muscle’s behaviour is at its most fiendish. Home alone watching old episodes of Baywatch,
titanium-plated steel; throes of passion with Mrs Jones, molten putty.
public toilet, standing at the urinal and about to pee. Another bloke
enters and immediately starts to pound the porcelain with a powerful
stream of urine. My hose has yet to start squirting. I begin to mind-read;
standing here in a public place with my todger exposed, but not peeing,
what will he be thinking? Will he conclude I’m a homosexual, seeking
sexual favours? Or will he label me as a pathetic flasher, exposing my
genitals for thrills? I urge myself to pee, but nothing happens. The more
self-conscious I become, the longer it takes to pee.
Smooth muscle is a menace, an
ever-present threat to the well-being of an aging man. You have been warned.