Men have a dangerous tendency to put off medical care, especially when it comes to their “below-the-belt” health.
“Damn, my car’s check engine light is on.
Guess I’ll just ignore it and hope it gets better.”
– NoGuy Ever
Jason, a mid-40s dad of three and manager of a San Diego large truck mechanic shop noticed that one of his testicles had become gradually more sore and swollen. He’d taken a few hits to his junk during his youth playing hockey, including a painful shot to the groin that left him with a “sore sack” for several days.
So when he started to notice soreness in his groin while showering and jogging, he thought it was probably just a passing thing and went on about his daily life. He went to regular annual physicals, went to the dentist as needed, and worked out regularly with his friends to keep in shape. His pain progressed and he was a “briefs guy,” so during the day the compression helped keep the pain at bay and out of mind.
He started to avoid sex, and it was only after a bottle of wine and his wife’s persistence that they ended up in bed. It was then that she noticed him grimacing and seemingly feeling uncomfortable so she started asking questions. Much as Jason tried to downplay it, after an “informal inspection,” his wife insisted that he go get checked out. This was nearly three years after Jason first noticed any of his testicular cancer symptoms. “I’m pretty sure she saved my life – no joke.”
Joaquin, a single engineer in his early 30’s who was going full-steam with dating apps had begun to have difficulty with achieving orgasm and maintaining as firm an erection as he’d usually had. He was having the same experience when masturbating as well as when with he was having sex with a partner and had no idea why. He’d become more and more concerned and was struggling with the shame and anxiety of having to explain it when sex didn’t go as planned.
“I basically started to have crazy anxiety about whether or not I’d be able to get it up and found all kinds of ways to avoid having to have ‘the talk.’” Like many men, he turned to “Dr. Google” rather than his internist and found that sites like Ro.co (www.ro.co) and Hims (www.forhims.com) had a quick and easy means to get some help in the form of medication.
While taking Cialis did provide help with his erection and orgasm, Joaquin was still left feeling self-conscious, ashamed, and anxious – “I mean, I’m 32 – why do I need to take pills to get a hard-on?”
Shame is Deadly When it Comes to Men’s Health
These two men’s experiences highlight a different type of pandemic – one in men’s “below the belt” health which is ultimately related to men suffering silently and even dying 5-6 years younger than women. This article kicks off a series addressing how disease (colorectal cancer, prostatitis, testicular, penile, and prostate cancer) and sexual health are common issues that men will go to great lengths to avoid talking about or even facing for themselves.
The TLDR for this series is for men and boys to get regular annual physicals and to be honest about “crotcheral region” issues – and for the people who care about them to balance being direct and sensitive to the shame that often accompanies these issues.
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