I got to know James through his sister, Lydia. Lydia had been to the sexology clinic a few months earlier complaining of painful sex.
After examination, I deduced she was suffering from premature menopause. She was only 35 years old. Hormone tests showed that as happens with menopause, her sex organs had literally weathered and sex caused bruising and pain. I prescribed hormones and in no time, the effects were reversed.
But that was history; Lydia was back with her brother James. “Please do not mistake us for man and wife, we are siblings,” she explained as soon as she sat down. “I know it is unusual to have a man accompanied by his sister to seek medical consultation for a sex problem.”
I nodded in agreement.
“I rescued my brother this morning. He was attempting suicide,” Lydia said, her eyes welling up with tears. “He had mixed the poison and was busy writing a suicide note when I walked into his room.”
James was 32 years old. He was an accountant but had lost his job due to poor performance. He had been married for three years but his wife left him, taking their only son away with her.
When Lydia found him trying to commit suicide he disclosed that he suffered from severe premature ejaculation. His wife accused him of being hopeless in bed. This devastated him and made him lose his ego and confidence.
“For many days I went to work and just sat at my desk confused, not working and not responding to emails,” he explained. “Soon my supervisor gave me a warning letter and a second and a third one.”
That is how James lost his job. This did not make things better at home. He was soon broke and could not meet his family’s daily needs. His wife walked out. “I felt I had lost everything,” he explained.
James reminded me of the many unfortunate ways people handle sexual problems. In one case a man with erectile dysfunction became an alcoholic. In another instance a man with situational erectile dysfunction started having orgies with prostitutes.
Situational erectile dysfunction is where a man fails to get erection with a regular partner but manages an erection with other partners. The man in this case was severely distressed when he failed to rise to the occasion with his wife.
He tried sex with a prostitute and it worked and he went berserk having sex left, right and centre. He ended up with an HIV infection.
NOT THE END OF THE WORLD
I have also met people who tried witchcraft. One fellow was told to get the saliva of a lion and smear it on his penis as a remedy for premature ejaculation. After trying to get the saliva in vain, he abandoned the witchcraft and sought medical care.
For many people, a sex problem is like the end of the world. Everything crumbles. Families break, jobs are lost and, yes, suicide can happen. “But doctor, what is a man who cannot have sex worth?” James interrupted my explanation. Well, seeking medical care early can avert the stresses that couples have to go through when these problems happen.
I put James on treatment for premature ejaculation. The results were noticed within just a few days of treatment. James’ challenge was to convince his wife to come back. Lydia took it upon herself to visit her in-laws to see this through.
I asked the couple to come to the clinic as soon as his wife came back home. It was important to coach them in order for them to re-establish their love. A few weeks later the couple came back to the clinic, this time without Lydia.
“I just came to apologise for being insensitive to my husband’s problem,” Monica, James’ wife said. “I now realise that I nearly made him commit suicide.” She broke down and cried uncontrollably as James held her to his chest. For me this was a sign that we had gone a full cycle and that the couple was once again caring for each other’s feelings.