HIM: Earlier this year I received an intriguing note from AJ, a regular reader of our blog: “I enjoyed your most recent post, and am familiar with the performance anxiety issue. Erectile dysfunction is never a problem when alone with my wife, but can rear its head in ‘lifestyle’ encounters. Traditional oral medications are not sure-fire methods to address it, so I have been using Caverject, an injectable kit with a very fine gauge needle. The injection is quick, feels only like a momentary pinch, and creates a virtually automatic erection. If you have not tried it, I thought I would mention it in case you may be interested.“
HER: That sounded like the magic bullet you’d been looking for for so long. But I couldn’t even imagine you putting a needle in your penis! Could you?
HIM: Yes, I actually tried it once a long time ago.
HIM: Well, to be more accurate, someone tried it on me. When I went to a men’s health clinic for my first Viagra prescription back before I met you, they gave me an injection as part of the assessment. They wanted to see if my basic hydraulics were working properly.
HER: And how did that go?
HIM: It was a disaster. Extremely painful, and no erection. To put it bluntly, it felt like I’d been shot in the dick with a BB gun — only worse. So, while I later read that Caverject was the gold standard treatment for erectile dysfunction, I was not willing to go through that agony again. But this note had me rethinking my position, for a couple of reasons. First of all, AJ’s mention of the “momentary pinch” made me wonder if I had simply been the victim of an unskilled nurse all those years ago. Maybe the searing pain I had felt was the result of bad technique. Or perhaps syringe technology had changed over the years, making a once agonizing procedure virtually pain-free.
Secondly, and more importantly, I was tired of struggling with erections after a decade in the lifestyle. On one hand, I felt like the luckiest guy in the universe: I had no shortage of attractive women who were enthusiastic about having sex with me. On the other hand, I was so uncertain about my ability to perform that I spent most of my time in group sex situations maneuvering to avoid engagement. I had tried everything: psychotherapy, a sensual touch practitioner, self-hypnosis, kegel exercises, testosterone gel, and every combination of herbal and pharmacological chemistry imaginable. Nothing worked dependably. By the way, most people think Viagra and Cialis produce guaranteed erections, but they don’t. They really help, to be sure, but they are still dependent on the psychological state of the individual. I would actually layer a 100 mg Viagra on top of a 20 mg Cialis before getting alone with a new couple, and still the results were mixed. I might have one great experience, think I had made a breakthrough, only to follow up with two complete failures. The uncertainty sapped me of my confidence.
HER: It’s always been my deep belief that your problem wasn’t physical at all, but entirely psychological. You fought me on it and continued to layer on more drugs, as if the problem was strictly physical. I was always a little worried about the cumulative effect of all these medications. And the fact that you always got erections with me was a clear indicator that the equipment was fully functional. It was your mind that was thwarting you.
HIM: By this stage, I didn’t care what the reason was. I actually agree with you now that the issue was psychological, but after 10 years of trying every work-around imaginable, I was willing to concede defeat. Not about the lifestyle overall — I was still enjoying what it did for us as a couple — but about my ability to ever show what I was capable of sexually with anyone besides you. That’s why I started getting excited about finding a guaranteed fix.
HER: But baby, remember what happened to Jay from Average Swingers?! This stuff can be dangerous. And a needle in your cock? That freaks me out on your behalf!
HIM: You know if I had to inject the head of my penis, or my testicles, it would have been a non-starter. But the shaft is not a particularly sensitive part of my equipment. That’s why you can slap me there during sex and it just feels good. As I did my research, I saw a diagram showing where the needle is to be inserted, which is on the side of the penis halfway along its length, and I thought: maybe this was the problem with my earlier experience! As I remember it, the nurse inserted the needle into the base of my shaft, near to where it joins the body. Perhaps it was his first day on the job and his training had been rushed. Oh, and there was one other thing I learned in my research that kind of sealed the deal for me.
HER: What was that?
HIM: As part of the initial laboratory research, the drug had produced instant erections in coma-induced cats.
HIM: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. I hope to never encounter the words ‘cats’ and ‘erections’ in the same sentence again. But the idea of a hard-on that is completely involuntary, that is totally independent of conscious or sub-conscious control, was compelling. If this truly worked as claimed, and wasn’t prohibitively painful, it would be a game-changer for me.
HER: I definitely wanted that for you. I know you’re a pleaser and a very good lover. It would be a thrill for you to satisfy your partners the way you’re able to satisfy me. But I had a more selfish motivation too. I’ve always felt a little held back by your erection troubles. I know we’ve addressed it by letting me play separately, and that’s great, but we had never had a four-way experience where I didn’t have to worry about you. I know you tell me not to, but there’s always a part of my mind that’s aware of you not being able to get hard or withdrawing from a play session. I can’t be fully in the moment if I’m concerned that you’re in a bad place. I just want us both to be able to be unhindered in the enjoyment of our partners.
HIM: That sealed it for me. With your blessing and my optimism, I decided to try it. Unfortunately, the decision to move forward was not uncomplicated. First, I had to see my family doctor and explain the situation to him, complete with the truth about our lifestyle. Then, he had to set up an appointment with a urologist, which took six weeks to get. After that, I had to wait for the specialist to relay his recommendation back to my family doctor, who would ultimately produce the prescription. The problem was, we had a date coming up with a very attractive couple we had only met once before who were coming in from out-of-town. The level of connection was off-the-charts, reinforced by a few video chats in between, and it was expected (without needing to be said) that we would have sex when we saw them in the flesh again. It was a situation custom-formulated to go horribly for me.
HER: But part of what made these friends so amazing was that they would completely understand. You certainly wouldn’t feel any pressure from them.
HIM: You’re right, but the pressure comes from me. When I’m with someone, I want to provide the total experience. I love connecting on an emotional or intellectual level, and I’m happy to spend lots of time on kissing or oral or massage or whatever, but I don’t want to feel any uncertainty at that moment when a woman says, “I want you in me now!”
HER: I get it. So, you got the prescription. How did the first injection go?
HIM: My first task on the day I got the kit was to do a rehearsal with you. My research had shown that preparing the syringe correctly was a bit of a job and I didn’t want to try it for the first time in the heat of action. So I studied the information that came with the medication and, before we went to bed that evening, I went to the bathroom down the hall to get ready. Once I had the dosage measured out, I hesitated with the syringe in one hand and my cock in the other. I had never given myself or anyone else an injection before. I was nervous but also excited. Holding my breath — or maybe just forgetting to breathe — I stuck the needle in as far as it would go, pushed down on the plunger, and then pulled it back out. There was a bit of pinch, as AJ had said, but no searing pain. Just the tiniest drop of blood that I dabbed away with an alcohol swab. Once the medication was in, I was supposed to massage my penis to help it disperse. Within a minute or two, I started to feel myself getting harder. By the time I got back down the hall to you, I had a full-on erection.
HER: How did you feel?
HIM: Physically, I was a little sore, but in that fantastic way that every man recognizes when he’s almost too hard. Emotionally, however, I felt quietly euphoric. This was it! I had transcended whatever subconscious force had been standing in my way for so long. Non-monogamous sex would no longer be this anxiety-fraught ordeal of strategy and luck. I could focus on building connections, on being a sensitive and creative lover. From now on, I would fuck whoever I wanted, and whoever wanted me.
HER: It seems sad that you’re just starting to experience, ten years in, what I’ve always been able to enjoy in the lifestyle: carefree spontaneity. But better late than never. So, when our friends came to visit, you got to do a true field test. How was that?
HIM: The biggest challenge was logistical — finding the right moment to slip away to do the injection. You have to time it right, since Alprostadil gives you 90 minutes of efficacy. Maybe more, but you can’t count on it. What if you do the injection and then your guests decide that they are actually feeling hungry, and would prefer to order in some food first? Totally reasonable, of course, but it would be a ruined evening for me. Fortunately, I nailed the timing on this night. I figured that someone excusing themselves to do a bit of freshening up before playing would not raise any eyebrows, and I was right.
HER: Well, I noticed. You were away for about ten minutes, but the ladies took that time to change into lingerie and start taking pictures, so we weren’t twiddling our thumbs waiting for you. And when you got back, it was obvious from the beginning that this time was different. In the past, I was always a little preoccupied by how things were going for you, but every time I looked over, you were going at it with abandon. Now I was preoccupied, but for a good reason. I was so happy to see you succeeding!
HIM: This was actually the perfect test for me. Yes, I had amazing interpersonal chemistry with this woman, but something about our sexual styles didn’t click. I guess it wasn’t helped by the fact that her oral sex technique involved fairly vigorous sucking. The vacuum effect turned the pleasant soreness of my turbo-boosted erection into a very sore hard-on. But, as I said, this was ideal. I didn’t want everything to have to be perfect in order for me to have a successful sexual experience. I had proof-of-concept, as they say, that the injection would work for me even when conditions were less than ideal.
HER: But I’m sure you didn’t go through all of this just to get through a so-so connection.
HIM: You’re right. Ultimately, I’m always chasing a transcendent experience in the lifestyle. I’ve had a few of them and I hope to have many more. And a few weeks later I had the perfect opportunity. Our good friends Dominic & Maria were holding a small party for five couples at their apartment, and there was one woman in particular I was interested in reconnecting with.
HIM: Not exactly. Maria is a rock star in my world, but fortunately I get to see her semi-regularly. Ingrid, however, is someone I see only rarely. From the first moment I set eyes on her four years ago, I thought, ‘That is my kind of woman’. It wasn’t solely because of her looks, though they were fantastic. She has a pretty face with a shy smile and a pixie haircut. Her body is wonderfully curvy. But what really gets to me is her personality, both playful and mature. I know the word ‘mature’ has a specific meaning in the world of porn, where it basically means any woman over 40, but for me it represents groundedness and self-possession. I don’t know if there are many men like me, but I happen to find those qualities extremely hot in a woman. I could tell that she liked me, but we were never able to turn that mutual interest into a meaningful sexual experience. We had talked a few times, but only played once briefly, and that had been underwhelming, mainly due to my cautious uncertainty. But this time would be different. I would be different.
HER: And were you?
HIM: Spectacularly so, from the get-go. I felt a fresh confidence as we said our hellos to everyone, and I think Ingrid picked up on that. When we were playing the ice-breaking game, she chose me when she had to select someone to remove a piece of clothing from her. As people began to pair off, I slipped into the washroom to give myself the injection. When I came out, she beckoned me over to join her where she was reclining naked on the the sectional sofa. She had clearly been waiting for me. We sat there for quite a while, comfortably entwined, chatting and touching and kissing. I was free of my usual worry about leading her on with a promise I couldn’t fulfill. Eventually, we moved into the bedroom, where her husband was already having sex with Maria. Ingrid and I settled in beside them and had an intensely focused time together. I fucked her slow and deep, then fast and shallow, with lots of kissing. She particularly liked when I would slam into her, then withdraw slowly and hover above her while still barely inside, before slamming back down again. I repeated this over and over, playing with the rhythm and her sense of anticipation. We were connecting in every way imaginable. It was all the potential I had felt when I first saw Ingrid, turned into a magical new reality.
HER: That’s great. I’m really happy for you. But do you worry about being dependent on a medication?
HIM: You know, I’ve been on this journey to live a healthier life for the last few years, and my approach has been completely natural. By changing what I eat, and when I eat it, I’ve seen some exciting changes in my body. Not only am I leaner and stronger, but I’m generally free from aches and pains, and I seem to never get sick. I honestly hope that I will someday get to the point where I can do whatever I want sexually without the help of medication. That’s a big part of what encourages me to keep on tinkering with my diet. But for now, I’m just grateful that I have the means to freely explore any sexual connection in whichever direction it happens to go. And while I’m at it, I’m grateful to AJ, who decided to share what he had learned with me, a total stranger. I don’t think it’s too grandiose to say that he has changed my life, and that’s exactly what I hope to do for other men by sharing my story here.
Liam & Kate are a married couple, very much in love, writing honestly and insightfully about their adventures in the world of non-monogamy.