tagReviews & EssaysThe Myth of the Four-Hour Erection

The Myth of the Four-Hour Erection

byGaucho©

Here's a pop quiz. Recognize any of the following slogans?

"Get back to mischief."
"If a relaxing moment turns into the right moment, will you be ready?"
"Quality counts."

If you've watched any televised sporting events in the last year, chances are you've seen ads for one or more of the products these slogans represent. That's right, I'm talking about Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. Ever since last January's Super Bowl, these products have been blanketing the sporting world with a full-court press of promotion and if you're old enough to understand that erectile dysfunction is not a revival tour of 80's heavy metal bands, you've probably been wondering why.

Let's go back to the Super Bowl for a moment. Here's another pop quiz: What was the most popular water-cooler topic the day after the game?

A) The flatulent horse
B) The crotch-biting dog
C) The four-hour erection
D) The naked breast

Luckily for Cialis, the four-hour erection posted a solid bronze finish behind the brief glimpse of Janet Jackson's sagging titty. All of which led to some interesting family conversations:

Son: Wow, dad! Did you see that?
Father: Forget it, son. Any time a woman does that in public, it's just a shameless cry for attention.
Son: Okay, dad. You know, I'm kinda bored with the game. I think I'll go on the Internet and download some, um, music.
Father: I'll come with you.

Or

Daughter: Mommy, what's a four-hour erection?
Mother: Your father's pipe dream, honey.

Now, erectile dysfunction is no laughing matter (unless you don't have it) and products like Cialis provide a valuable service for the men who suffer from it. But judging from the sheer volume of advertising I've seen in the last year, I'm tempted to wonder if ED has suddenly surpassed heart disease as the number one threat to men's health. Has the average hard-on become an endangered species? And if so, why isn't Congress doing something about it? Isn't this something both Republicans and Democrats can get behind?
The truth is, the 'average' hard-on is in danger – of being replaced – by the 'new and improved' hard-on. In a recent episode of "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on HBO, the men who advertise these products admitted that the real market is young, healthy, sexually active men and the goal is for one or all of these products to become available as a non-prescriptive, recreational drug in the very near future. The reason, of course, is money. The annual market for these drugs is estimated to be in the $50 billion dollar range and why settle for a slice when you can have the whole pie?

And what better way to garner attention – to titillate, if you will – then to casually disclaim, as a potential side-effect of using the drug, a condition that most men would probably kill for:

"Although a rare occurrence, men who experience an erection for more than 4 hours should seek immediate medical attention."

Wow. It almost boggles the mind, doesn't it? I know I laughed out loud the first time I heard it and perhaps you did, too. But I suspect for many males the response was more like bull snot on a red flag. I'm not sure any phrase could penetrate the sexual psyche of the average American male more effectively than the words "four-hour erection". In that moment, Cialis became the Holy Grail of sexuality, as men suddenly realized what was missing in their sex lives: an energizer hard-on.

Just think of it, ladies, no more minuteman sex. With the four-hour erection, you can enjoy the extended bliss of humping and pumping, relishing the thrill of being fucked over and over again, switching positions, inventing new ones, luxuriating in the pure joy of getting all the cock you've ever wanted and then some. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Well, maybe.

In theory, a lot of things sound great. In actual practice, things often turn out much less than great. Let's start with the somewhat dubious proposition that men know what to do with an erection when they get one. Let's follow that with the notion that for most men foreplay consists of a sticky finger and a couple of nipple twists. (Sounds like something you'd order at Dunkin' Donuts, doesn't it?) Finish it off with the thought that a trip 'down there' usually lasts about as long as a Lance Armstrong sprint and covers less ground than his one remaining nut and what are you left with?

It's not a pretty picture, is it?

Am I being too critical? Perhaps, but for my money, it sounds like just another example of the narcissism of our patriarchal society. Understand something. There is nothing – I repeat, nothing – in the universe that a man loves more than his Johnson. The closest most of us ever come to feeling like a God is during those moments when our cocks are harder than Barry Bonds' deltoids and smoother than a sip of Black Bush. And all too soon those moments are gone, our ardor spent, and we are back to being mere mortals again. W.B. Yeats once wrote a poem that said, "Man is in love and loves what vanishes. What more is there to say?"

When it comes to the average hard-on, that pretty much sums it up, all right.

So what, you may ask, is wrong with a four-hour erection? Or even a one-hour erection for that matter? Again, in theory, nothing. But it seems to me that, as with many things in our society, we are focusing our attention in the wrong direction. Certainly, a drug that helps a man incapable of attaining an erection to achieve one is a good thing. The same drug used recreationally to 'enhance' the experience is also almost certainly a good thing – for men (Although it will be interesting to see just how many heart attacks this kind of drug usage leads to).

However, is it a good thing for women? And if the energizer hard-on is seen as the answer, are we perhaps asking the wrong question? I don't really have an answer but I do have a theory, and my theory is, leaving the legitimate medical use of such drugs out of the mix for a moment, that this is just the latest in a long line of poor responses by men to a problem that they helped create in the first place. What is the problem, you ask?

Well, for our purposes, let's call it "The Problem of the Quick Fuck".

Call me crazy, but I believe that once upon a time, back when nature started this whole thing and man smelled his first pussy and pronounced it "JFSJSFSJ!" (That's GOOD in prehistoric male-speak), both men and women gained pleasure from a quick fuck. My reasoning goes like this: back in the old-old days, when ugly men and women first populated the planet (before botox, liposuction and breast implants) and got the urges to have little ugly girl and boy babies, they were, for want of a better word, prey. All of which meant that they had to be careful when fucking because back then getting eaten during sex had a whole different connotation. So, just as with animals that survive in the wild today, fucking had to be done quickly (and repeatedly, while the woman was fertile) in order to perpetuate the species.

So it only makes sense to me that as originally drawn up in the playbook, fucking was quick and fun for both parties. When the caveman came home after a hard day of killing mastodons and discovered that cavewoman was 'in the family way', he whipped out his prehistoric schlong and fucked her. It probably took anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, tops. And it was good for both of them. It had to be. Why else would a woman subject herself to it, especially after she'd already had one cavekid and knew what was coming 9 months later? Cavewomen weren't stupid. They could do the math. "If I let him stick me with that slimy thing of his, pretty soon I'll get fat and ugly and he won't want anything to do with me; then, after months of misery and hours of excruciating pain, a little him or me will pop out. Yeah, that sounds like fun. Let's do it."

And when the caveman whipped out his sabre-cock, the cavewoman didn't go, "Wait a minute. Do you have a condom?" Nor was there any such thing as foreplay, (or, as it's known today, two-hours of begging) or any of those long, leisurely, let's see what happens when we stand on our heads kind of fucks. No, the original plan was simple, basic and it worked.

So what happened?

For several million years or so, things went along pretty well. Man discovered fire, women learned how to cook, blah, blah, and then, somewhere along the line, man got to thinking. Now, I don't have to tell anyone that this is a bad sign and usually leads to a bad outcome. In pondering the mysteries of life and death, man somehow stumbled upon the idea of a higher being (or beings) and thus, the first religions were born. Now this, in and of itself, wasn't a bad thing. Early men could see that women held at least part of the mystery in their sweet loins – the ability to give life - (Then, as now, men were a little vague about their own part in the proceedings) and because of this ability, many of the early religions worshipped the female, or Earth Goddess, especially those among the agricultural peoples.

So, for a long time, things were good. Men and women worshipped the Goddess, there were fertility rites and men would hold contests to see that only the best and the strongest would get to participate in the ritual, at which time his blood, along with his semen, would be shed in order to ensure a good harvest and the survival of the village. These rituals still exist today in some cultures but now we refer to them as meeting the in-laws.

Then, a little over 2000 years ago, something happened that would affect the sexual activity of men and women to this day. A little known God by the name of Jehovah challenged the Earth Goddess to a match to decide who would be the one, true God of all the peoples of the earth. The world's first Super Bowl was a tightly played contest and could have gone either way but late in the match, Jehovah decided to play dirty and he brought in the snake. By the time it was over, the Earth Goddess had been ass-fucked into submission and it's been downhill for women ever since.

It's difficult, if not impossible, to overestimate the damage done to sexual relations by our patriarchal systems of religion and government. Women have been taught, at different times and places in the last two millennia, that sex is bad, that's it's dirty, that it exists only to perpetuate the species and that under no circumstances should they derive any pleasure from it. To that end, women have been tortured and murdered for the crime of being 'active' in bed, and to this day in certain cultures they have to endure surgical alteration of their bodies in order to ensure that the 'joy' of sex remains solely in the domain of the dominant male.

This amounts to over 2000 years of brutal conditioning and even in an enlightened country like the US (heh) its effects are still felt today. An example of which is the US Government's insistence that birth control is not a basic right of the American female while at the same time they are willing to subsidize the American male's ability to achieve an erection. What we're saying, in essence, is that women have the right to cross their legs and say no while grandpa has the right to get hard and fuck anything that's moist. Sometimes I think it's a wonder men get any sex at all that they don't have to pay for. Of course, the truth is that men are paying for the sex they get, in ways both subtle and gross, and will continue to pay for it until they get a clue.

The first step in that process is the realization that there is a problem, which, to their credit, some men seem to get. Of course, their solution to the problem (i.e. the four-hour erection – you knew I'd get back to that eventually, didn't you?) is wildly off the mark. But at least they are trying. Most of us, as long as we've got 30 seconds to spare and a wet, willing hole at our disposal, adopt a "What, me worry?" philosophy towards sex.

The second step is owning up; an acknowledgment that the problem not only exists but that we (men) are the cause of it. The third and most important step is to work with women to find a solution to the problem. This some of us find impossible to do. It's sort of like the whole stopping and asking for directions thing. What men have to understand is that, despite the 2000 years of subjugation women have had to endure (or who knows, maybe because of it), they have evolved, and we haven't. When it comes to matters of sex, men are still at the poke and grunt stage of their ancestors. Women have moved eons beyond that.

Today, women know what they want. And yes, as horrible as it sounds, some conversation is involved. Also, flowers and chocolate. And a little romance never hurt. Look guys, it's time to get with the program. Women have been faking orgasms for centuries. All we've ever had to fake is our sincerity.

Women also know that the idea of the four-hour erection, while initially enticing, is really just a myth at best and at worst is the equivalent of replacing a squirt gun with an Uzi. The potential for damage far outweighs the possibility of added pleasure. They know this for one simple reason.

Leave aside for the moment how the drugs are being marketed – this is men talking to men at its finest. Yes, I know that (for the moment, at least) they are talking about men with medical conditions but take a few moments and watch the ads sometime. Forget the ones with celebrity spokespersons (except Bob Dole. Now there's truth in advertising) and concentrate on the ones that feature 'everyday' people in them.

Look closely. Do any of these people look sick to you - or even slightly unwell? Of course they don't. These 'middle-aged' people are all pictured doing healthy things – throwing a football through a tire, dancing, driving a car – and each and every one of them looks positively brimming with health. Except, we are told (by implication, at least) that none of them can achieve or maintain an erection without help from one of these wonder drugs. Isn't that amazing? If you are a man, the message is simple: This could be you. It's like the commercial for one of those drugs that help with depression that starts out by asking the question, "Do you ever feel sad?" and by the end of the commercial you're so sick of watching it you want to put a gun in your mouth.

It's all about manipulation. And even now, while the drug manufacturers staunchly maintain that their concern is only that 10% of the public with erectile dysfunction (and their noses grow in ways they only wish their dicks would), the salesmen are already reaching for your wallet. This not only could be you, they tell us, it will be you. You need us, they say, because your poor, pitiful penises aren't doing the job. If only you could keep it up for more than 30 seconds, you miserable bastard, you could give your woman the fucking she deserves. And so, what we have is an old argument dressed up in new clothes. No longer is it size that counts; it's who can last the longest. The criteria may have changed but Madison Avenue is still measuring us by our dicks.

So, why is this a problem for women? Isn't there some truth to the complaint that men come too quickly? Of course there is. Wouldn't the ability to maintain an erection longer help to alleviate this problem? Of course it would. So what, for heaven's sake, is the big deal? As I mentioned above, it's simple. So simple, in fact, that, if you're a woman, all you have to do is ask yourself a question. Imagine yourself in bed and there in front of you is your man with his brand new diamond-hard, drug-enhanced erection. No doubt it must seem like Christmas as you, trying not to drool, ready yourself to devour this plumb bob of a present. Okay, now. Hold that thought. Here's the question:

Whose job is it to make that thing soft again?

You pause for a moment as you consider the question. You realize that you've never thought about it in those terms. A penis gets hard, a penis gets soft (often too quickly); sometimes it gets hard again (more often it doesn't). These things you understand. The idea of making a penis go soft runs counter to everything you've experienced up till now. The problem has always been the opposite: Getting it hard and keeping it that way long enough to do you some good. Still, you're a woman, right? A modern woman. A modern, sexually emancipated woman who is about to give this man the fuck of his life. He'll never know what hit him.

And for the first hour or so, that's exactly what it feels like. It's wonderful. No, it's better than wonderful. It's fucktastic. You haven't had this much sustained love muscle at your beck and call since that night with the two Guatemalans and their pet Pekingese and you're taking full advantage of it, using his cock as a prop in your own private game of Sexual Twister.

Somewhere between the first and second hour you begin to get sore, and, since you've been going at it like a double-jointed gymnast for almost 90 minutes now, a little tired. But you can't quit because, well, it's still there, like Everest calling to you: Climb Me! Mount Me! Fuck Me into Submission! It doesn't help matters that your lover has been sitting back and letting you do most of the work. After all, he created this Franken-cock for you, didn't he? And sure, it's been fun. You've enjoyed yourself but enough is enough. It's time to make with the grand finale, the big fire hose act.

Your partner, sensing your distress, decides that its time to take a more active role in the proceedings. He makes you comfortable, propping you up on pillows, and then begins to thrust and hump and pump and fuck and pound like you're a beefsteak he's softening up for dinner. When your pussy can't take any more, he switches to your asshole and what was once fun becomes excruciating. Finally – we're into the third hour here – something triggers him to orgasm and he explodes. Boy, does he explode, filling and covering you with enough clam sauce to serve with linguini. He collapses on top of you, exhausted but proud of himself for the manly effort he's produced for your pleasure.

As all the heavy breathing subsides, your voice speaks up softly, "Honey, that was wonderful. Thank you. It was great, really. It's just that, do you think you could lick me a little, you know, to finish me off?"

But he's already snoring.

And therein lies our tale. Make no mistake. The myth of the four-hour erection is not about helping men to have better sex, or any sex at all for that matter. Nor does it have anything to do with a woman's pleasure. It's about ego and fear and continued male dominance, both in the bedroom and the boardroom. It's about narcissism and the prevailing notion in our society that bigger (and therefore longer) is better.

Except bigger isn't better. Not really. Even McDonald's figured that one out.

Now when someone invents a drug that gives men the willingness and ability to use their tongue on a woman for four hours, then we'll have achieved a breakthrough. In the meantime, we can all look forward to commercials featuring the likes of Pamela Anderson cooing:

"Cialis (or Levitra or Viagra). It's what you need if you want to satisfy me."

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