Archive for March 11th, 2009

GROWING OLD – LOSS OF INCOME

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

A retired man usually suffers a loss of income, he becomes poorer, and is less able to do the things he imagined he could do. His status is lower, and because he is no longer earning his living, he may even feel he has lost his significance as a person. His fantasies of what his retirement would be like (the country cottage, the fishing, the happy hours of doing nothing, the long lie-in in the morning, the pottering about the house or garden) are often found to be fantasies, when the reality of retirement is reached.

The retired man suffers from two psychological blows: he is classified as old – which in a youth- and work-oriented society is demeaning – and as no longer being a ‘useful’ person in society. He loses caste, he loses income, he loses a reason for living, unless he has prepared for retirement. Retirement makes a radical break in his life, and many men feel cut off from their past, and have to readjust to their new, diminished, status. Many retired people feel useless and fill their hours with trivia, which is a quick way of distancing themselves psychologically from other humans and of welcoming death.

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MIDDLE AGE – ‘THE MALE PREDICAMENT’

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Although obsessed with his new partner, he may feel guilty particularly if he retains affection for his wife, as he sees the damage the new relationship is causing. Even so, the obsession may be so strong that he is prepared to sacrifice everything – the years of marriage, his wife’s needs, his position, and his possessions, to be with his new love. It may work out well; but for many, the passion passes, the fantasy fades, and reality returns in a year or two, when it may be too late to repair the broken bridges. It is of little help for the man to be told that he is making a fool of himself – he may be, but he will not recognize it, and in his emotional instability, the charge diminishes his self-esteem even more. It may also be unhelpful if his wife reacts fiercely, as Doris Odium writes in The Male Predicament

A great deal will depend on the attitude that the wife adopts to the situation. The man is completely unreasonable and in many cases prepared to sacrifice his wife, his job and all his future security. If she is in an unstable state herself and going through the menopause, or if the marriage has previously been unsatisfactory, she is likely to react with hysterical outbursts, nagging and jealousy. She may discuss her husband with her friends or even inform his employer. In some cases she demands a separation or starts proceedings for a divorce. On the other hand if she is stable and mature she may treat the situation with understanding or forbearance and if his infatuation diminishes and he begins to see reason the marriage may even be strengthened and their mutual affection and understanding increased.

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SYPHILIS – INTRODUCTION

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease, and since most couples have genital sex, the primary lesion of syphilis, which is called a chancre, usually develops on a man’s penis or on a woman’s vulva. However, in about 25 per cent of women, the primary lesion develops on her cervix and is invisible, but highly infectious should she have sexual intercourse with an uninfected partner. Without treatment, the person who has syphilis remains infectious for about two years, after which the chance of infecting another person diminishes. The organism which causes syphilis is a tiny slender corkscrew-shaped organism which is invisible to the naked eye. It 0 measures about 2.0µ in length. А µ (pronounced mew) is one-thousandth of a millimetre in length, so that 500 organisms placed end to end would be needed to measure one centimetre, and 1250 to measure an inch. The organism is called Treponema pallidum, and it is coiled along its 20µ length. Usually there are about twelve coils. The Treponema pallidum can only live in the moist warm atmosphere of the human body, and dies within a very few hours outside it. But once inside the body it thrives.

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EJACULATORY INCOMPETENCE OR RETARDED EJACULATION – PSYCHOLOGY

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

A sternly moralistic upbringing may also lead to the man’s inability to express any emotions. He has been taught (or has learned) to control his emotions, particularly anger, which he suppresses. He also tends to avoid emotional closeness with his partner, although he feels an ‘obligation’ to please her.

A few men with the disorder fear that if they ejaculate within their partner’s vagina, she will become pregnant. The man may fear that a pregnancy – and more particularly, a baby – will lead to a conflict in the woman’s mind, and reduce her devotion to him. These men are immature in their personal relations and need help to establish better communication with their partners.

A study of case reports shows that a variety of conflicts can cause ejaculatory incompetence. These include the belief, due to a strict religious upbringing, that sex is ‘dirty’; conflicts from a real or imagined ‘power game’ with the partner; conflicts over the fear that the man will be abandoned by his partner unless he is a sexual superman; conflicts from the memory of a traumatic sexual experience; or conflicts from a fear of failure, occasioned by a transient inability to ejaculate, which, as I have mentioned, is normal.

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THE FATHER IN CHILDBIRTH

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Traditionally the business of childbirth is something done by a woman with the help of other women. During childbirth, the husband was absent, either working, or drinking with his friends, or anxiously pacing the hospital waiting-room! In most European cultures, and in nearly all Asian and African cultures, the man kept away during childbirth, although in a few the husband went to bed and ‘suffered’ from imaginary labour pains during his wife’s real labour. This custom is called ‘couvade’.

In English-speaking and Scandinavian nations a change has occurred in recent years. During this time couples have communicated more about sex, and have had a closer relationship. This has extended to the desire, felt by many expectant mothers and fathers, that both should participate in the birth process, both be able to witness the birth of their baby, and to share their mutual joy.

A man can only participate in this way if he and the expectant mother have received training during pregnancy. He can only help his partner if he understands the processes of childbirth, if he has learned how to support and encourage the woman during childbirth. A couple can do this most effectively if they have attended educational classes together, and have read books, so that they are prepared to participate in childbirth.

In the past decade, slowly at first, but now with an increasing momentum, obstetricians, nurse-midwives, and hospital administrators have accepted the change to family-centred, participatory childbirth in which a couple who have been prepared can participate jointly.

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