Rod: 'It was important the therapist was male so I could express my fears about masculinity
Rod has milder hyposadias.'
I've been running a website talking about hypospadias since 1999. Over the years I've talked to about 100-150 men with the disease online and a dozen or more face to face. I think the first thing to say it that not everyone is affected by it. Some don't know they have it or aren't bothered so I think it's important to look at why it affects some more than others.
Obviously the degree of severity is part of it but I also think it can become a focus for wider sexual problems. For me, it has been a lifelong journey to come to terms with my sense of abnormality.
When I was a boy, there was no privacy in the school changing rooms. The reactions of the other boys went beyond embarrassment. It was extremely shaming.
Boys attack difference and when that concerns your cock, it can be very traumatic.
I was in my 40s before I undressed in public again. Throughout my life there was a sense of a fundamental need unmet.
Now, thanks to therapy and relationships with some good women, I think I've come to terms with it.
Men assume that women will find hypospadias unattractive but frankly most of them aren't bothered. It's like penis size - they couldn't care one way or the other. Having said that, just having women say it was OK didn't make any difference to me for a long time. I felt inadequate. I had a sense of inferiority to other men.
This leads to low expectations. many people with hypospadias I've spoken to are in jobs way below their capacity and in unsatisfactory relationship because they don't think they can do better.
I was 33 when I first had sex with a woman. I'd been having sex with men as I think I thought they'd be more sympathetic. But I was fed up with it. I think some men with hypospadias are very confused about their sexual orientation.
Because you're obsessed with penises and with seeing and comparing with other men, you assume you're gay.
But that's not it. Really you just want to know what's normal. Anyway, for me, I realised I wasn't gay. I put an ad in the local paper and met a woman.
I started therapy at 36. I'd had sex - the first hurdle - but I still couldn't form relationships. I found a man who practised transitional analysis and, most importantly, who was experienced in sexual issues. Afraid that I'd eventually be rejected in the end, I wasn't giving relationships a chance. We worked on this for a couple of years in therapy. I managed to lose the shame I felt about myself. For me, it was important the therapist was male - I could express my fears about masculinity to him. I've since trained as a psychotherapist myself and have run groups for men with sexual issues.
If hypospadias is screwing you up the best thing is to meet other men with the condition. This is only healing that works - being heard without shame or judgement. For me, it was very important to meet men with hypospadias who had successfully fathered children.
Rod's website is hypospadias-emotions.
Page created on January 29th, 2008
Page updated on January 14th, 2010