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This ‘Drive’ Now Heading into Reverse

By Peter S. Kahrmann

At long last, my sex drive has become not only a highly reasonable companion, it’s become my friend!

But first, before I tell you what’s behind this most lovely of transformations, a few words about aging. Perhaps I should first say that while I’m not speaking for others, I’d hazard a guess that my aging process -- I am 61 -- is by no means light-years different from the next man’s.

Clearly, there are aspects to aging that are not, w e l l , fun: the changes in body shape, the hints and more than hints of wrinkles, sagging and so on. However, having said that, aging has, for me, provided some rather delightful surprises, such as a deeply felt appreciation for the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years. Some of it is admittedly of no great import, such as the fact that Helen Hayes began acting to manage her stuttering. Nevertheless, knowledge, I’ve come to realize, is, more than power, a gift to be treasured -- and grown.

Needless to say, aging brings an increased awareness that this life experience does not go on forever. Directly linked to this truth is my increased appreciation and love for the smaller moments: the sound of crows shouting hello to each other in the morning; chickadees on the birdfeeder in the morning, feasting on sunflower seeds; the sound of the neighbor’s children laughing in their back yard -- and for me, of course, the gloriously peaceful early morning hours, and the day’s first coffee. I am an early riser. After walking my dog, Charley, I’m at my writing table by 4 a.m.

Aging has another downside. It has confirmed what many men have feared: From puberty on, the nether regions will become problematic. Never did I think I’d grow to despise the walnut-size male-only prostate gland with such vehemence. This little being creates the fluid that carries the sperm. Apparently, it takes the aging process as a personal insult. At least in my case, it likes to get itself all puffed up and inflamed with indignation, as if aging were a process I, personally, inflicted on it.

Unless you go to the doctor like you’re supposed to, this little creep will have you racing to the bathroom so frequently that you begin to wonder if the bathroom is a room you should ever leave.

Back to my now user-friendly sex drive. From puberty until not so long ago, my sex drive was an overbearing, rude, distracting, disrespectful, intrusive, dictatorial, unruly, blaring, glaring, loud, self-absorbed, attention-whore of a companion. Trust me, this is not an overstatement.

Recently, however, it has grown up, matured, developed manners -- become, shall we say, reasonable in its demands. No longer do I run the risk of wrenching my neck when a kneebuckler (my word for a breathtakingly beautiful woman) walks by. I glance, smile and return to my thoughts. At long last, my sex drive’s got class!

Now, there may be some truth to the notion that aging brings wisdom and insight. That may be true sometimes, but not always. Trust me. Not long ago, I was in my local YMCA one morning getting dressed after a workout. A man in his late seventies was off to my left getting ready for his morning workout. As I bent over to pick my towel up off the floor, I quipped, “Is it me or does the floor get farther away as you get older?”

He laughed. “Other way around, kid. Floor’s getting closer ‘cause you’re getting shorter.”

Clearly, I still have a lot to learn.

Peter S. Kahrmann is a writer and an advocate for people with disabilities

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