Life

Six Tips for Thinking Beyond Your Dick, from the Guy with the Three-Week Erection

Last summer, I nearly lost my penis after injecting a drug directly into it. Here's what I know now.
30 January 2020, 1:59pm
three week erection
The author in hospital. Photo: @Wonderland.tif

Last summer I was mere hours away from having my dick amputated. My experience in hospital would grace a horror movie, and is one I'm not eager to revisit again. But I'll explain quickly how I got into such a mess in the first place.

It was a baking hot August night in Berlin. During a night out, I met a "doctor". Was he actually a doctor? Looking back, I'm not so sure. But crucially, he was tall, blonde and handsome, and my crush was instant. I asked him if he'd like to come home with me. Hours of sex later, I needed a rest, but he wasn't having any of it. I'd already taken two Viagra, pushing me dangerously over the limit, yet the blonde doctor had a solution. He insisted on giving me an erection-enhancing injection, right in the dick. He assured me that chemically it was different to the Viagra, and that taking the two together would be fine. I put my trust in him and consented.

Unsurprisingly, it was one of the worst decisions of my life.


WATCH: High Society – Viagra


I should have gone to hospital after four hours of my erection not going down. I really should have gone to hospital after eight hours of my erection not going down (a condition I later learned was called "priapism"). Instead, I waited over 30 hours, due to a mixture of bad advice and not wanting to miss Berlin's Pride celebrations. I had no idea how serious it was.

Not being able to use my dick for the next three months certainly made me look at myself as a human being. I think it's made me kinder, more patient and more resilient, too. So here are six tips for living a life beyond the tip of your dick – life lessons that can apply to anyone, but especially to GBTQ+ men.

You Are Not (Just) a Piece of Meat

Gay culture puts a heavy emphasis on sex. The more sex you have, with the more guys, the better. I used to feel a sense of accomplishment if I'd had sex with multiple guys in one night, at a sex club or afterwards at a "chillout". Each sexual encounter gave me a bit more of the validation I was desperately seeking. But after a few days, the memories would fade and I'd go back to feeling empty.

My ordeal with the blonde doctor made it easier to work out why. He was not a man who had my best interests at heart – he wanted to make me as hard as possible only so he could get fucked as hard as possible. And most of the time, that's just fine – as long as you don't rely on beautiful strangers you meet in the night to provide a long-term emotional fix.

Forget About FOMO

If every weekend you think, 'OMG, it's this party, or that party, I can't possibly miss it,' take it from me when I say: you can. Being stuck in a hospital bed for the hottest three weeks of the summer meant I missed a lot of parties. It took about ten days before I realised that, actually, my health was far more important than some club night. There will always be another party. But you only ever get one dick. I'm happy I've finally learnt this life lesson, even if it was the hard way.

Don't Let Your Dick Define You

Not being able to use my dick for three months made me feel depressed and kind of lost. I realised that the identity I'd built for myself as a gay/queer man was largely based on my expertise as a Top. When, suddenly, I could no longer fuck, I felt as though I'd lost a chunk of me. But due to the effects of my injury, I started meeting guys who'd say, "I don’t care if we fuck or not; I like you anyway."

Meeting a different type of guy in a different context opened up a different side of myself that I wasn't used to seeing. Anyone who's ever been blocked on Grindr after sending a dick pic should realise it says more about them than it ever could about you.

Other People Have Bigger Problems

In hospital, I had to make the hardest phone call of my life. I'd been told I had multiple blood clots and the chances of them spreading to my heart, lungs or brain was about 50/50. There was a strong possibility I was going to die. I needed to call my parents to tell them to renew their passports and come visit me in Berlin, because they might not see me again otherwise. To think I put them through such hell because of a stupid decision with a hook-up still haunts me.

For their benefit, I started putting a rosier tint on things – I told them I was in a great hospital, where I was well fed, being looked after by a fantastic surgeon and making a good recovery from my surgery. It made me realise that my problems were nothing compared to other people's. I started to look around and feel gratitude for all the good things I had. I had a beautiful view of the park. I had friends visiting me each day. I had phone calls 24-7 from people around the world who loved me and were worried about me. In that context, not being able to have sex for a while didn't seem so bad.

There were people in the same hospital as me, dying, in agony, with nobody at their side. I was lucky to be alive, and to this day I am thankful for all the small things that we take for granted – a hot bath, a comfortable bed, even supermarkets. If you're going through a tough time, focus on the things you have, not on those you're missing. Your situation will seem a lot better, and you'll feel more resilient as you get on with life and work out your problems.

Prioritise Your Friends

While recuperating, the masses of time I'd usually spend looking for sex was suddenly freed up. So instead, I focused on building closer relationships with my friends. "Bros before hoes" is a sexist phrase used by dickheads, but in a basic sense it's a mantra I've been living since my injury. Before, I'd often cancel time with friends in favour of a hook-up. The chance to get laid is often seen as a higher priority, but that's obviously fucked up. I’m no saint and never will be, but now things are at least a bit more balanced.

Never Give Up

However bleak things look, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. You've heard about my time in hospital. I got through it. Then, the day I was discharged, I got fired. Two weeks later, my boyfriend dumped me via email. I sunk into a deep depression that lasted three months. But then I pulled myself out of it, by focusing on what I have, not what I'm missing.

After six months without work, I'm in debt – but I'm thinking of 100 ways to pay it off. I can't spontaneously have sex anymore – ironically, I need to take Viagra first – but I'm getting stronger each day and there's even a new treatment available involving electric shocks. It's not going to be fun, and at the moment I can't afford it, at £160 per go, but I'm not giving up. I’ll find a way to get the electric shock treatment I need. If you stay positive, there's always a path out of the darkness.

To quote Falkor, the luck dragon from The Neverending Story: "Never give up, and good luck will find you."