Usually it is impossible to delineate, without reservation, untoward maternal influence as a primary etiological factor in primary impotence. However, there have been three specific instances of overt mother-son sexual encounters in the histories of the 32 primarily impotent males.
In all three instances the father was either permanently removed from or rarely encountered in the home. In two of the three instances the young male was the only child in the home and in the third, he was the youngest of three children by 11 years.
In all three instances the young man slept in the mother’s bedroom routinely before, during, and after puberty. Two slept in their mothers’ beds until they were well into their teenage years. Attempted incestuous coition has not been reported in this series of primarily impotent men but there is a positive history from one of the three males of awakening on several occasions to maternally manipulated ejaculatory experiences during the early teenage years.
The second man, though reporting no instance of overt sexual advance from his mother, described his mother’s sleeping nude with him.
In the third instance the mother insisted upon washing the boy’s genitals when he was bathing. The practice, apparently continued from the diaper stage, was established so early that the man cannot remember otherwise. Maternal demands for adherence to such a behavioural pattern continued into the teenage years with occasions of violent scrubbing until ejaculatory episodes interposed in the bath.
The maternal reactions varied initially from presumed anger and administration of physical punishment to specifically conducted manipulative episodes when the young man was in his mid teens. There was obvious maternal pleasure in her son’s ejaculatory response to her manipulation. Ultimately she assured her son that “no other girl will be able to please you as Mother can.”
There are six histories among the 32 primarily impotent men relating the tribulations of virginal men restricted from any form of overt sexual activity during the teenage courting years by family adherence to demanding forms of religious orthodoxy. The six men grew up in households (two Jewish and four Catholic) where strict religious orthodoxy was a way of life.
These men, struggling with the repressive weight of an incredible number of behavioural “thou-shalt-nots,” were supported by a negligible number of “thou-shalts.” They uniformly approached their wedding nights tragically handicapped by misinformation, misconception, and unresolved sexual taboos.
To prejudice further any opportunity for developing an immediately successful sexual relationship, the new wife in five of the six marriages was equally physically and mentally virginal, as would be expected of a product of similarly strict religious orthodoxy.
The wives’ inadequacies of sexual knowledge, their misconceptions, and their inevitable post-marital psychosocial adherence to premarital theological sexual taboos only contributed additional performance tensions to those placed by our culture upon the anxious, frightened, virginal males during their first attempts to consummate their marriages.
Impotent and Premarital Sex
When premarital sexual expression has been restricted to handholding, the first fumbling, bumbling, theologically and legally acceptable attempts at sexual connection are often unsuccessful. This psychosocial diversion of the natural biophysical process may evolve into the disastrous combination of a severely shredded male ego further traumatized by the unreasonable, but so understandable, female partner’s virginally blind insistence that he “do something.”
This semi hysterical supplication first whispered, then suggested, eventually demanded, and finally, screamed, “Do something,” renders the equally virginal and equally traumatized male incapable not only of effective sexual function but also of situational comprehension.
His wife’s emotional importuning creates such a concept of frustration, failure, and loss of masculine stature that the husband and wife are frequently repeated, obviously frantic attempts at sexual connection usually are doomed to failure.
Severe religious orthodoxy may indoctrinate the teenager with the concept that any form of overt sexual activity prior to marriage not only is totally unacceptable but is personally destructive, demoralizing, degrading, dehumanizing, and injurious to one’s physical and/or mental health.
Perhaps even more unfortunate, the psychosocial expectations, if any, for the sexual relationship in marriage are given no honourable factual support. Varying combinations of these precepts have become an integral part of the sexual value systems of the six men for whom religious orthodoxy was defined as a major etiological factor in their primary impotence and have been recited in parrot like style to the cotherapists during intake, interviews.
It is fortunate that more virginal males of similar background, failing in their tension-filled initial exposures to the physical verities of marital sexual functioning, do not succumb to the pressures of these frightening initial episodes of failure by developing the relevant symptoms of primary impotence.
Each of the five virginal wives with orthodox religious backgrounds similar to those of their new husbands also had to be treated for vaginismus at the same time their husbands were faced with therapeutic concerns for clinical reversal of their primary impotence. There was no positive concept of effective sexual functioning or confidence in sexual performance expressed by any of the 10 individuals involved in these traumatized marriages.
One of the wives did not have a background of religious orthodoxy paralleling that of her husband, although she was of similar faith. Reflecting more freedom of sexual expression, which included four instances of coital experience with an earlier fiance, she accepted her future husband’s orthodox religious concepts during their engagement period.
At marriage she was as psychologically virginal as any of the other five wives. Although she could have helped immeasurably during her husband’s first fumbling attempts at coital connection, she dared not suggest alternatives to his unbelievably untutored sexual approaches for fear she would evidence a suspicious degree of sexual knowledge.
She thought that she had to protect his concept of her physically virginal state at all costs. In this case the cost was high. It amounted to 11 years of unconsummated marriage.