When Men Start Dating Again

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: What worries men as they re-enter the dating world?

Michael Perelman, PhD, Sex and Marital Therapist
Middle aged men who are re-entering dating for the most part are afraid that they are not going to perform up to a standard that they believe that they are supposed to. And frequently unfortunately because in divorce people say some very, very mean things, so I had one gentleman who came to see me earlier in the week, and he reminded me of another fellow I'd seen a couple of years ago, and both these guys had a similar problem, which was basically their wives' parting shot to them was, and I want you to know you were the worst I've ever had in bed for my whole life. Well for both these guys that was devastating. One man had an erection problem, the other man had suffered from rapid ejaculation. So in this particular case, there was some degree of sexual dysfunction, so their concern was legitimate, their huge amount of anxiety about it was an overreaction to their fear because of what their experience had been. So in the case from a couple of years ago, with that gentleman, we did use a PDE-5, which is the class of medications, Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis, and we put him on it temporarily and had him self-stimulate when he used the medication and self stimulate with a condom. Why? Because he needed to practice safe sex. And he hadn't used a condom in 20 years, and he was nervous about that because he'd actually tried once. He told me later on, yeah, I actually went out on a date and got to see this lady a couple of times, and we tried to have sex and I started fumbling with a condom and I lost the erection, and I pretended I was too drunk, and I never called her again. Well this guy really lost out on a wonderful opportunity and he was in a panic. So for him, we had him practice masturbating, using a condom, using the medication, increased his confidence and gradually got him back dating again, and then when he settled into a relationship and felt comfortable, we started weaning him from the medication by cutting the pill in half and then in quarters, and then he took this little bit with him. And then one time, she initiated sex, he didn't have the pill with him and it all went fine and after that he stopped using it. And I reduced the frequency of the sessions, and weaned him from seeing me as well. So basically, we restored his confidence, let him get some practice, reestablish a relationship, took him off the medication and then took away the therapy.