The City of Pearls & Nerds

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IT boom bangs libido

Posted by Reddy on April 2, 2006

Mr M is barely 32 and married for less than two years. Act-ually, before his wedding, he was among the most eligible bachelors in his upper caste circles, a fact his parents proudly flaunted every now and then, particularly when M’s would-be-in-laws first came home with their daughter’s horoscope. With a big salary packet and expensive perks life seemed a permanent honeymoon for the newly weds. Until the bosses started hiking M’s targets.

“His wife initially thought it was just a temporary phase and would pass once the year-end statements went to his company’s headquarters in Boston and good news flowed back regarding a hefty upward revision of pay and perks. Yes, he got more money and a bigger car but at the end of the day, literally, it meant nothing to the woman. And the family was getting impatient with his excuse that the child must wait till he settled down better. The frustrated wife learnt about me from a friend and brought M after much persuasion,” says Dr D. Narayan Reddy, noted sexologist, discussing the latest phenomenon amid the high-voltage IT/MNC execs scoring high at the workplace but shocking their young bedmates with severe erectile dysfunction problems.

To cut a long story short, Dr Reddy counselled the young IT professional that he must restructure his professional life and slow down a bit on his tough targets at office if he is interested in a happy marriage. Some serious introspection, backed by a short course of Viagra, helped Mrs and Mr M get back to a normal sex life. “But not many cases have been that simple,” says Dr Reddy.

Take for instance the case of 34-year-old Mr D, a marketing executive working for a well-known MNC. Though he was supposed to work for 51/2 days a week, this ambitious man was actually slogging almost all seven days, barring perhaps a few hours of post-lunch nap on Sundays. But with his body exhausted and mind crowded already with the next morning’s breakfast meet with a new client, he was finding it tough to “rise to the occasion”, and often left the wife frustrated and angry. “Worse still, he would enter her with his semi-erection and go off to sleep like that. Viagra was of no use because it helps only when a person has the desire and the body is active and alert,” recalls Dr Reddy.

When the wonder drug failed and his counselling too had no impact, Dr Reddy suggested that the couple take off for a holiday to the little-known Yelagiri Hills, about 200 km from Chennai, where there weren’t many mobile phone towers. “The first couple of days the chap rested well and recouped himself, almost rediscovering the zestful youth. What Viagra and my counselling could not achieve, this period of personal restructuring did. Those ten days were a second honeymoon,” says the sex therapist.

After returning to office, Mr D had a chat with his boss and got some realistic goals set up. It is said that most MNCs set stiff targets with the notion that even if the employee falls short a bit, they would still be able to meet the client deadlines.
While Dr Reddy and his peers in the medical fraternity are increasingly facing patients of young years, thanks to the stressful life gifted by the high-paying IT/ BPO jobs, the yet another disturbing trend noticed of late is that a significant number of those complaining of erectile dysfunction have undetected cardiac ailments.

“Three to five of the nearly 30 patients I see every day show positive on the treadmill test. I am surprised by this,” says Dr Reddy, who usually checks his patients for cardiac problems on a treadmill before starting them on Viagra and other treatments. That is because penis is the barometer of endothelial health and erectile dysfunction is the earliest warning signal for forerunning major end-organ diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, retinal haemorrhage, renal failure, and so on. Every blood vessel has three layers of blood vessel wall. The inner most layer is endothelium.

An erection happens when blood flows into the penis of the aroused male. When a man develops an erection problem it could mean that the endothelium in his blood vessels in the penis is damaged. Chances are high then that the endothelium in the blood vessels in heart, eye, etc., is also damaged. The damage in the endothelium in the penis shows up sooner since the blood vessels there are much thinner as compared to other organs.

“Therefore, we say that if a patient comes with an erection problem, do not stop checking below the belt but also look above for signs of cardiac problems,” says Dr Reddy, insisting that there were a number of cases where a young man with erectile dysfunction tested positive on the treadmill and got better in bed after the cardiologist treated his heart ailment.

Such as this 34-year-old marketing executive who travelled 20 days a month and led a sedentary life when he was not. Due to his travel across the time-zones, his sleep pattern was frequently disrupted. He began to smoke and drink to kill boredom when he was alone during his trips. Ten months down the line, he developed chronic fatigue, and a demanding wife at home slept disappointed. He first blamed his wife’s looks for his failure but when the problem persisted with better-looking call girls on his business jaunts, he landed at Dr Reddy’s clinic.

As a matter of routine, the sexologist sent the busy executive to test on the treadmill and the young man reported positive. The cardiologist did an angiogram and found two of his coronary arteries blocked though the man had never suffered any chest pain till then. After a bypass surgery, he changed his job to something that did not involve travelling, gave up smoking and fatty foods. And found his wife beautiful, again.

Not just the overworked executives but their bosses too must realise that a normal sex life is an absolute necessity for optimum performance in office. Research has shown that an individual’s longevity and quality of life improved with regular sex — though a subjective term, doctors claim it was normal for couples to have it atleast once in week. It also shows that the incidence of prostrate gland enlargement is less in men with normal sex life, so is mental depression.

Chemicals called endorphins, released into the blood during ejaculation and orgasm, soothe the mind and cut down arthritic pains. Besides, a “session” could burn about 200 calories that is equal to over 15 minutes on the treadmill, with much less pleasure. Research has also shown that sex builds up the body’s immunity levels. Women with breast lumps and tumours have felt that regular sex prevented further growth of such lumps and tumours.

“People are realising that sex is no longer a mere luxury, and that there are very important physical and mental benefits attached to it,” says Dr Reddy, recalling that Sage Vatsyayana had discussed the healing qualities of good sex in Kama Sutra, a book on the science of love and romance, in 300 AD, and much before that around 4000 BC during the Harappa and Mohenjodaro civilisations sex held an important place in society.

Later, during the excavations of these townships things such as dildos and artificial penises were found. Convinced that sex soothes tempers, doctors in Europe in early 1800s tried charcoal-fired “manipulators” (modern-day vibrators) to treat female hysteria. However, that ancient wisdom seems obliterated in the greed for quick greenbacks. Young professionals these days are in great hurry to make their millions at the cost of personal life and good health.

“I am getting so many cases of young men, even in their 20s, who come with depression and lowered sexual appetite after slogging at the workplace, rushing from one deadline to another. They make their millions pretty soon in life, alright, but by the time they are 35 or so, they become senile and mentally old,” says S. Nambi, well-known psychiatrist and ex-president of the Indian Psychiatric Society.

“I also have some NRIs from the US as my patients,” says Nambi. “Interacting with inanimate objects, mostly their computers, makes these young men go into acute depressions and lose out on good life. Rich too early in life, they splash their money on booze and end up with serious cardiac and other health problems. I have come across many cases of young men suffering from sexual disorders and a low self-esteem.”

I t is a pity that business schools are yet to wake up to the truth that good sex life can greatly enhance one’s performance at the workplace,” says Dr Reddy, adding, “I was invited to give a lecture at an MBA school in Bangalore but after one session, they decided not to call me again. They thought I was a threat to their age-old good management theories because I was propounding that a good manager must take time off work and enjoy with his woman in bed.”

But then, the sexologist is not unduly concerned about the lack of interest in business schools, as he has just got an invitation from the centurion University of Madras to be an adjunct professor in the endocrinology and sexual medicine department. This, perhaps, is the first time that an Indian university has taken on a specialist to teach sexual medicine to its post-grads. With life expectancy steadily rising in India, there would be a huge population of ageing men and women in the next couple of decades.

In order to let couples enjoy matrimony till an older age, it is important to check the problem of low libido, gradually becoming prevalent, among young professionals. And so the pharma companies, say the doctors, are pumping billions of dollars in R&D for developing new products for treating sexual dysfunction. Products are multiplying not just for men but also for women, such as creams to hasten and prolong orgasms. Eros is a clitoral device that is getting increasingly popular with women having orgasm-related problems, they say.

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