Penis Envy & Capitalism

For some time now Erectile Dysfunction has become the butt of jokes in pop culture, and for many men between the ages of 40-65, quite an embarrassing problem.  The rise in this problem in the last couple decades could be the product of more reporting than prior, as now men may be at ease with discussing this problem with their doctor, or perhaps its just on the rise.  This problem is not terribly new, as in 17th century France a wife could be granted a divorce if her husband was not able to perform, and in fact, there was a court and a whole legal process for collecting data of said poor performance.  This odd practice was short lived in France and incidents of this were on the fringe, but nonetheless, this problem is not completely new.

In exploring some reasons why this new problem is popping up in modern culture, we should start with exploring what are the known causes of this issue:

If you look up the causes of Erectile Dysfunction you will find the following, labeled as physical causes:

  • Heart disease (stress can cause this)
  • Clogged Heart Vessels (stress can exasperate this) 
  • High cholesterol (stress can cause this)
  • High blood pressure (stress can cause this)
  • Diabetes (there are studies linking this to stress)
  • Metabolic syndrome  (stress can cause this)
  • Low testosterone (stress can cause this)
  • Tobacco use (this suppresses your ability to decrease the impact of stress)
  • Alcoholism (this suppresses your ability to decrease the impact of stress)
  • Parkinson’s disease (there are studies linking stress as a trigger for Parkinson’s) 
  • Multiple sclerosis  (they used to think there was a link to stress, but now thats being called into question)
  • Various medications, treatments, surgeries and rare disease (all rare causes) 

Additionally, you will find the following causes labeled under psychological causes:

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • And stress from stressful life events (not sure how that differs from stress)

You could look at these 15 different possible causes and see 15 different possible causes, or you could see what I see and find it rather odd that the causes of ED happens to be all the same symptoms of stress, and more so, chronic stress.  Maybe the list of causes should read simply:

  • Stress
  • And on rare occasion you can get it from some medications, surgeries and rare diseases.

In our modern mecca of Go Go Go, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to assert that we would have a rise in symptoms that are the product of stress and chronic stress.  In a closer examination of why and how our bodies deal with stress we will discover the following process.  When the body is under stress, the body goes into Fight/Flight mode and the sympathetic nervous system begins to operate, which suppresses the parasympathetic nervous system— the rest/digest system.  Our fight/flight mode was designed to allow us, in essence, to fight or flight when we are in a high stress situation.  This includes increasing blood pressure and heart rate and the release of adrenaline from our adrenal gland.  In other words, it transforms us to beasts ready to kick ass, or run like hell.

In modern day culture we may not experience beastly animals attacking us on a regular basis, but we face other daily stressors— the stress of child rearing, bills, job, traffic, school, social relationships, family, death, tragic life events and even day-to-day things like what’s for dinner.  So even though we are not under attack by predators, without adequate coping skills, self-care and a positive world view, it is possible, in fact it is very possible, to be chronically overcome by stress to the point where stress is so persistent that your body never has time to recover.  Usually exhibited symptomatically as chronic headaches, fatigue and higher likelihood of illness (from a suppressed innate immune system)—  as well as many other symptoms, like the ones listed above.

But, remember, this essay is about the penis.  So if you were being attacked by a bear and forced into fight/flight mode, I can tell you one thing for sure— that is not sexy-time!  In fact, while your sympathetic nervous system is in charge of your body, all blood flow to your penis is suppressed, because your body knows that your current situation is not the right time to be romantic and starting putting on the moves.  

So if you look at this in the context of stress in modern society and the rise of ED, you can think of it this way:  Our lifestyles are so stressful and so damaging to our bodies, that a rising problem in our society is peoples bodies are actually deciding that the external stressors are so high that the body considers the environment too hostile to bring children into and it responds with a useless and flaccid penis.   And what is essentially a byproduct of capitalism, we try to fix with capital ventures.

Welcome to America.

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4 thoughts on “Penis Envy & Capitalism

    1. Oh and your article. Exactly why I don’t have penis envy. It’s inevitable – erectile dysfunction. Nothing new, people just live longer and proliferate…

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