Impotency means the inability to perform the sex act usually because the man finds that he cannot have an erection. A woman can never become impotent in this sense, though there may be a lack of feeling at the time; and if this is constant, she is said to be frigid. But, because of the structure of her sex’organs, she can never manifest impotency in the way that a man does.

A certain confusion often exists in the minds of young people, and even older people, between impotency and sterdity. They do not mean the same thing at all. The latter means that the man (or woman) is unable to beget children, though sexual intercourse may be carried out perfectly normally. Impo-tency means the inability to carry out the sex act itself. A man may be potent, yet sterile; on the other hand, he may be impo-tent, yet capable of producing children.

Impotency is usually noted in older men, and develops slowly with advancing years. But this is by no means always the case. Many young men find that they are impotent at times, while they are not at others, and they cannot understand why. This temporary impotence is quite different from the permanent condition, and may be due to a variety of causes. Some of these may be physical and some mental.

Physical causes are numerous, though they are now thought to play a relatively minor role, except in rare cases. The erec-tion-center in the brain, and the nerves which control the erection, may be depleted of energy due to poisons, certain diseases, etc., or to excessive masturbation, weakness of the sex organs, lack of sex hormones, etc. The normal functioning of the sex organs depends upon the secretion of these fluids, which are present in every healthy young animal. Science has discovered a new substance, called testosterone, which has been found very helpful in these conditions. It contains the ac-tive principle of the internal sex secretions in pure form. Properly administered, it insures the normal development of the sex organs. In all such cases, however, you should seek the advise of your doctor, since such conditions require expert medical knowledge and treatment.

Temporary impotence in the male may also result from mental depression or over-exertion; alcohol, too much food, general debility, or coitus interruptus too frequently practised which is suddenly withdrawing the penis just before the ejaculation of semen takes place (to avoid possible pregnancy by the female) all these may cause impotence, though excessive masturbation is a frequent cause, as we have said.

The most common cause of impotence, however, particularly in young men, is mental or psychological. Some sight orodor, or stimulus of some kind, has produced a feeling of subconscious repugnance, and this reacts on the body to such an extent that erection becomes an impossibility at least for the time being. These brakes or checks are known as inhibitions. A thought or an idea may have a strong inhibitory influence; or the sudden notion that a sin is being committed in the sexual act; or that he is giving way to an evil impulse; lack of selfconfidence; some idea that the act itself is indecent, or disillusionment as to the words or actions of the female. A sudden fear may grip the youth just before the sexual act is begun: Suppose she has syphilis! All these ideas and impressions may cause a temporary psychological impotence, and render an erection and the carrying out of the sexual act impossible.

It is interesting to note that some of these factors may be at work even when in the company of the one you love. Many a young man has been embarrassed by impotence on the night of his marriage, often due to the over’excitement. In such cases, the simplest procedure is simply to relax, to lie in the loved one’s arms, and indulge in love’play until this temporary inhibition has passed. It is of no use trying to force matters. This will only prolong the period of impotence. If the wife is understanding, she will appreciate what is taking place, particularly if the husband is frank enough to tell her that he is, for the moment, too excited, and that he will be himself again in a few minutes. She may then, by her endearing words and actions, and by her general behavior, revive in him the impulses which had been temporarily inhibited, and the sexual act may be satisfactorily completed. This, however, will only be possible if the wife herself has received some education in sex, and has over-come the foolish notion that any active demonstrations on her part are a sign of immodesty. The normal young woman should enter into the raptures of love to the same extent that a man does, and be as free in expressing her emotions. This is one of the reasons why every bride should inform herself, not only as to the physiology of sex, but also its psychology. If she did this, far greater harmony in the sex-life would be established between herself and her husband; and, inasmuch as marriage is based very largely upon sex, far greater understanding and hap-piness would result in consequence.

Of course, these psychological causes may act in the case of the wife also. If she is afraid of becoming pregnant, or for any reason is angry with her husband, these emotions will act as deterrent influences; and while they cannot make her impo-tent, in the same way that they would the man, they prevent her from enjoying the sexual act. No man should attempt intercourse who is depressed or worried about business or domes-tic problems, or if he does not feel well, or if he is not truly in love with his wife. If his wife demands cohabitation, and she is in any way repugnant to him at the time, he may become impotent not only temporarily, but permanently. If either the husband or the wife feels that intercourse is unpleasant, either to himself or to his partner, this will serve to kill sexual pleasure for the time being, and may even render the completion of the sex-act impossible, after it has actually begun. Nothing is more calculated to produce impotency in the male than this. Full enjoyment and virility can only exist where there is true love.

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