Michael Turnbow, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Impotence is now medically referred to as erectile dysfunction. But impotence is more than just erectile dysfunction. It is lost maleness.
Impotence is a condition much more complicated than most diseases. Many diseases are single-cause conditions.
A specific virus causes the flu or hepatitis, and specific bacteria cause tuberculosis. Many other conditions are, by and large, single-symptom diseases. A broken bone, a cataract of the eye, or the shingles are easy to diagnose. There are clear symptoms that usually apply to just that health problem. Erectile dysfunction cannot be defined like this.
While “erectile dysfunction” has become the term of choice among doctors and educated patients, it’s probably less accurate a description of what’s wrong than the old word “impotence”. “Erectile dysfunction” is a technical term, and it sounds much less embarrassing than “impotence”.
But the general idea of lost maleness carried by the word “impotence” actually describes more precisely the implication of the condition discussed here. Impotence is more than just erectile dysfunction… it may or may not be a blood-vessel insufficiency. But it may also be a loss of desire regulated by a certain neurotransmitter balance. It may have hormonal or psychological causes, or it may be a problem of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve impulses. Erectile dysfunction, a lack of erection, is just a part of the condition impotence. Assuring an appropriate blood pressure in the male sexual organ does not solve the problem. That’s why erection injections and erection pumps are not satisfactory by themselves. An erection without desire is a waste of effort (and money), and desire without the capability of a definite orgasm results in frustration rather than satisfaction.