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Men and the Gym

    (Or as Homer once mis-pronounced it – ‘What’s a gyyymm?’)

    It’s common enough nowadays to talk about the body as a machine. Ever since the early physicians began to examine cadavers they seized on mechanical explanations for how we operate. Yes indeed – the thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone. Such mechanical explanations are very useful. Anyone visiting a doctor who dismissed such connections is best advised to move rapidly in the opposite direction.

    Gyms are themselves giant machines in which we run and pull on machines to gain rewards from machines – they’ll even reward you with a ‘You are Super-fit’ readout if you set them up right. Most gyms even offer endless music videos in which other people display ideal body types – as if they too have spent time obeying the same machines in similar palaces. So far,so good. If you’re lucky you can embrace the machines by relegating your own understanding to that of a fully-engaged mechanic.

    But most of us can’t always be that lucky. Considering the body as a machine is only half of the story as you’ll know if you’ve ever experienced a problem that the mechanics (sorry – doctors) can’t solve.

    The classic example of this mysterious mind-body dilemma is erectile dysfunction.

    Many men book an appointment and eventually confess that what they want to talk about is how they cant get it up – even after shouting at ‘it’. They go on to explain how they keep themselves fit, eat the recommended five a day, have cut down on their drinking and ‘really really’ fancy their partner but it still doesn’t work!

    There will be many reasons why erectile dysfunction occurs and while some of them will be medical the vast majority will be psychological. The gym isn’t much use here. It can even make matters worse by implying that you must be really sick if the rest of your machine body is working fine.

    It’s best to consider the whole body in a more reflective way. Rather than offering a determined focus on ‘the problem’ you can come to understand that a happy sexuality is a rooted in a feeling of ease. By coming to terms with your emotional histories you’ll be ready to relax. A variety of techniques including hypnotherapy, meditation and mindfulness can be used to help develop a deeper and more comfortable relationship with the body. The result of this is a considerably enhanced sex life and a more easeful way of being.