Richard Harvey - Psychotherapist, Author and Spiritual Teacher

Richard Harvey

connecting psychotherapy and spiritual growth for human awakening
Follow my work on TwitterFollow my work on LinkedInFollow my work on Facebook

Follow me on:

A Way to Opening Men's Hearts: the Gift in Erectile Dysfunction

“Of physiology from top to toe I sing... of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power.” —Walt Whitman

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and maintain a penile erection. Much has been made of ED and all of it seems to interpret the condition as negative and in need of physical and/or psychological treatment. Here I tell you what I think.

Penile impotence may come naturally to men in later years in order to open the heart. Most men are preoccupied with penile potency. It is the most obvious cause of pleasure, guilt, and shame from puberty onwards. The penis then becomes the flagship, the symbol of potent manhood, and at least partly in fantasy the magic wand that gives men power over women. Why men may want power over women is a corrupted lower chakra concern and one that may owe more to feelings of inadequacy and lack of self-worth than real sexual engagement, but let's leave that discussion for another time.

Men need, desperately need, to open their hearts. Why do you think that quite naturally the way is shown in later years when, after a prolonged adolescence which shows little sign of ending even in the forties, men's body wisdom naturally announces that the sex urge, erotic pleasure, and sensuality may now spread throughout the total organism? That pleasure does not have to be restricted to the scrotum and head of the penis is a lesson which may of course be learned much earlier. But today in this shallow and ignorant era of symbolic swordplay, gunplay, powerful cars, and fantasy light sabers men-boys are intent on clutching a stiff prick in order to feel good.

Sensuality, sexuality, orgasmic experience, and physical pleasure are not confined to the genitals and the pubic region. Women of course know this and this is the sexual-physical difference between men and women that causes such strife and lack of shared understanding and experience in the act of love making, fucking, foreplay, and orgasm/ejaculation. Erectile dysfunction actually makes the man more female. He may now make the bodily location of sexual experience, erotic pleasure, and deep sensuality anywhere at all, as it radiates from his heart into the deeper regions of his physical body... and even to his soul.

Women may have learned to make do, to compromise with penis-centered sex with their men. But it not what they want. They want a more total experience, an emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual, soulful, sensual, energetic, sexual meeting. Whether or not there is a penile erection in this highly complex, fulfilling and profound relational event is hardly central. Contrary to our male testosterone-fuelled fantasies, the penis may not, quite naturally maintain full erection the whole time during love making, even when you are younger. It's surely time for us to talk with our adolescent children and reduce the apparent significance of this silly myth that the penile erection makes everyone happy. What makes us happy is connection, communication, intimacy, caring, loving, a truthful relationship, love, and heart fulfilment. Does the penis have a place in this? Yes, but it is certainly not as overridingly important as we have been led to think it is.

Older men feel ashamed of the natural drooping of their manhood. Pubescent and adolescent boys feel penile rigidity is where it's at and fear ridicule and embarrassment. In the thirties and forties men may favor ambition, achievement, and doing in the world of action and somehow the penis sits in the middle of this ready to rise to the occasion, to be hard amid the thrusts and parries of life's ups and downs.

Our world today needs more caring, more tenderness, more mutual concern, more love and compassion. It begins with ourselves and our close relationships. Men for far too long have connected their heads with their genitals, their minds with their pelvises. The heart has been bypassed; the heart is the connecting force in the energy system, quite naturally situated between head and pelvis. Introduce the heart, reintegrate the heart into you sexual relationship, your intimate relationships, and watch them transform!

When the head-genitals relationship leaves out the heart-authenticity-emotions-energy connection, total orgasmic experience is forfeited. The body shows the way. Erectile dysfunction? How about body wisdom? Take longer with love-making, make it heart-centered, rather than genital-centered. Turn the focus toward intimacy, play, and being together. Let go of the frenetic impulse toward climax and the shortening of the intensity of pleasure.

The heart waits to be included in a man's love-making. The body has shown the way. Rather than infuse the penis artificially with Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra, swell the feelings in your heart and meet and couple with your partner in the ecstasy of true intimacy.


True intimacy, love, and sacred coupling don't figure in the way in which we look at erectile dysfunction. The term itself represents the medical model, dysfunction denotes pathology, illness, disease, something must be wrong. A cursory look into the subject submerges you in a mire of physical and psychological causes—heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, anxiety, depression, relationships problems, and stress. Men are encouraged to seek diagnosis through enduring embarrassing questioning and physical examination. The underlying causes of the disorder will predictably be tackled via Sildenafil, statins, vacuum pumps, or cognitive behavioral therapy. Sufferers are encouraged to realize that they don't have to suffer in silence.

Like the also published here article “I Give You Back Yourself” I ran this article in my social media as a post and invited feedback, comments, and criticisms. It may surprise you to hear that the most force backlash came from women who found it “utter drivel” and other pejoratives. Why do you think women came out against this explanation of ED?


Share this article

This article was published on this site in 2017.

Related information