When I interviewed Johann about his penile prosthesis, he was just back from work, and on his way out to dinner with his wife and children to celebrate his 70th birthday. I was blown away by his positive energy and love of life. Here’s a bit more about his story:

Timeline: early onset ED, penile prosthesis aged 68

1979 – 1991: Happily married with normal sex life.

1992-2009: Serious erectile dysfunction problems, first treated with surgery for a venous leak, also with testosterone injections. OK for some periods but each time the ED returned.

2010: Diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 57, treated with Robotic Assisted Radical Prostatectomy. Result: Cancer no longer detectable, but no erectile function at all. Asked doctor for penile prosthesis but medical aid (insurance) would not pay.

2021: Medical aid (medical insurance) agreed to pay for penile prosthesis, implanted at age 68.

Experience of having a penile prosthesis (implant) – the interview

Mish: What is it like for you now with the penile prosthesis (implant)?

Johann: I can get erections on demand. I feel no pressure during lovemaking. My erections are thicker, but my penis is the same length as before.  During intercourse my penis is much more sensitive and my climaxes are much better than before.

Mish: How does it work?

Johann: There’s a pump in my scrotum, filled with fluid, positioned between my balls. It is a little bulb about the size of a third testicle. When I squeeze the bulb, it pumps the fluid up into the artificial chambers implanted in my shaft. As they fill up, so I get hard, and it stays hard as long as I want. Afterwards, there is a release button on top of the bulb in my scrotum. I press the button, and squeeze my penis until it is back to flaccid.

[Editor’s note: Here is a quick summary of penile prostheses (implants) including different types of device.]

Mish: What is it like during lovemaking?

Johann: The good thing is that you can operate it with one hand, while continuing to make love. You don’t have to stop everything else to bring up the erection.

Mish: What has the prosthesis done for your marriage?

Johann: My wife is happy for me. We have got our intimacy back. I am so grateful to have a marriage where we can still explore and enjoy each other.

Mish: What is it like with the prosthesis during your normal daily life, i.e. when you are not having sex?

Johann: It’s fine, not uncomfortable. I really don’t feel the prosthesis. My penis does stay “inflated” to about 70% of full size most of the time, but you can really squeeze the tubes and get it completely soft if you want to. Only when I am peeing, it feels different.

ED and penile prosthesis: The bigger picture

Mish: What did you learn from those long periods of ED back in your 40s, before the cancer diagnosis?

Johann: I learned to satisfy my wife without penetration. But I still felt debilitated and humiliated a lot of the time.

Mish: What has the prosthesis done for you psychologically? How are you feeling now?

Johann: I just feel as if I am more able to do what I was designed to do, as a husband and a lover. I think a lot of people get mixed up by porn, get the wrong picture of what sex is about. It is not all about “bigger better longer” – it is about making love, making intimate connection. Also, quite simply, for myself: it feels really nice to have an erection again.

Johann: If anybody would like more details or questions on a one-to-one basis, you can contact me through the editor.