Arguably Sexual: My Viagra Experience

Harry Goodwin 17 November 2020
Image Credit: The Guardian

At midday on Saturday, I was spat into consciousness. My head felt like an egg yolk; my mouth tasted like a urinal. I clutched the bedclothes, scrunched my eyes and then gave up and let go of life. A friend knocked on my door to get me up for brunch, and I swore at him. I felt rough.

I also had three hundred pages of Aquinas to read. As I ground my face into my pillow, I wondered why I live like this. I had stayed up till four gulping Jack Daniels and Bulgarian paint-stripper with my mates. At some point in the night, we had taken it upon ourselves to stagger over to Coe Fen to ‘just chill’ – or, as it turned out, to roll around in cowpats, chain-smoke, fall in the river and reacquaint ourselves with our Indian takeaway. I’m not sure whether this constituted a breach of lockdown regulations.

You may wonder why I’m recounting all this in the Sex and Relationships section of this magazine. Getting absolutely steamed in foul-mouthed low-minded all-male company isn’t sex. It’s the opposite of sex. And rest assured that if I knew how to land a ‘relationship’ of any kind, I wouldn’t be doing wine-lager-whisky-rakiya-chilli-pickle shots off my friend’s work-desk.

Getting absolutely steamed in foul-mouthed low-minded all-male company isn’t sex. It’s the opposite of sex.

 

As it happens, I did do something arguably sexual during the pissup. After peeling myself out of bed at three, unblocking my sink and sending various texts featuring the phrases ‘haha no worries’ and ‘sorry’, it occurred to me to ascertain whether I had done anything seriously dumb while sozzled. My housemate’s answer: check your bank account.

As is commonly known, all male lives consist of two halves: premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction

It turns out I had registered a Superdrug username (HAZZA69420) before ordering fifty-quid’s worth of Viagra. As is commonly known, all male lives consist of two halves: premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Having yet to reach the inflection point, I’m not sure why I made this purchase. In any case, shortly after discovering the order I was contacted by a Cypriot doctor on the Superdrug payroll:

Dear Mr Goodwin,

Thanks for completing an assessment for erectile dysfunction. It does seem likely that you’re experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction however, after carefully reading your answers feel it would not be safe for me to treat you this time as you have had painful erections in the past and you don’t know the cause.
As an online service we follow strict prescribing guidelines and this time I feel it would be safer for you to have a face to face consultation with your doctor/GP who can ask you more questions and if needed examine you. I’m sorry we couldn’t say yes this time.

Now, it may be true for many men that erections are like the police: they turn up when you don’t want them and are absent when you do. But I am in the prime of my life, and I have never, ever experienced erectile dysfunction. Nor have I ever had what my housemate, upon reading the missive, called ‘hurty dick’. It is most probable that when I filled in the ‘assessment’ (what assessment?) I was… drunk. Ah, yes.

 

Now, it may be true for many men that erections are like the police: they turn up when you don’t want them and are absent when you do.

It will doubtless be evident to you by now that I am wholly secure in my masculinity and impermeable to slights. But a journalist’s first duty is to the truth, so I was obliged to write back and correct the record: no floppy dick, no hurty dick. The response:

Dear Mr Goodwin,
From your answers it doesn’t sound like you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, so I wanted to know why you felt you needed treatment.
Can you please clarify the following:
1 – How often do you get a good erection (e.g. every time you want one, or never when you want one)?
2 – How long does your erection last when you do get one?
3 – How long after you start having sex do you ejaculate (or don’t you get to ejaculation at all)?
4 – Is there another reason you want ED medication?

Well, here goes. The first two answers are my own bloody business, you passive-aggressive medico-greaseball, the third is a bit embarrassing (I couldn’t bring myself to write ‘Not Applicable’) and the fourth is… Oh. Ugh. Why did I want Viagra again?

The truth is that I’ve been doubting my professional capacities recently. The other day, some Cambridge wit wrote into TCS head office (69 Sunset Boulevard) to air his suspicion that the incumbent Sex and Relationships editor ‘has never even had sex’. And one of my girl friends (yes, I have girl friends) thinks there’s a nice irony in the fact that I’m Sex and Relationships editor even though all I do is eat pot noodles and watch nonce stings on YouTube.

So here’s why, in my drunken reverie, I ordered Viagra: because there are times when a boys-will-be-boys kind of boy finds it hard being a boy for the boys. And so we act dumb. In the end, though, I cancelled my order. I don’t need an hard-on. I need a hug.