Do you have an erection problem?

DID you know 150 million men worldwide suffer erection problems?

Did you want to know? Neither did I, but the internet gives me no choice. Since last week, every time I log on the message is there. It’s unsettling.

You could be Brad Pitt and it would still be unsettling.

I want you to know before we go any further that I refuse to discuss my physiological condition with you, except to say I am happy with it.

Was happy with it.

I’m afraid to log on to my computer now. This uninvited little advert slides in from the bottom of the screen: Did you know 150 million men worldwide suffer erection problems?

Go away! You’ve got the wrong person! Bother someone else!

But maybe I do have a problem. How would I know? Maybe the rest of the male population is at it like knives (most of them with members of the female population, one assumes) and I am a mere also-ran.

I checked on the internet. There are three billion men on the planet, but only two billion are in the age range (15-64) where they should be thinking about it.

Actually that’s not true. From the age of about 12 most boys think about nothing else. I know this because I was 12 once, and I haven’t forgotten.

And believe me, that’s a time of your life when everyone has erection problems, but I don’t think that’s what the message on my computer screen means.

But ignoring the 12-year-olds, there are two billion of the rest of us, covering an age range of 50 years. It’s a fair bet that at the young end the only problem 15-year-olds have with erections, like 12-year-olds, is that they won’t go away.

By the time they get to be 20-year-olds, however, things have changed and they have learned that they will go away.

Under certain conditions.

Often involving members (pardon the pun) of the opposite sex.

Presumably this state of affairs can be expected to last a few years…

Until you get to my age.

Extrapolating the world figures roughly we can assume there are about 200,000 in the five‑year age range into which I fit, and no, what exactly that is, is none of your business.

Oh my God!

If 150 million of us have erection problems — that’s three out of every four!

That insidious message on my screen must know something I don’t!

And the trouble is… there’s no way of checking. What did you think – I’d ask them down the pub? I’d be a laughing stock.

Women, I believe, can discuss this stuff. Of course it’s not quite so personal for them. Their erection problems are more… indirect, let’s say.

Talking of women, I can’t even ask my wife! What if she says: “No dear… you have no problems.”

I mean… how does she know? Compared with what? Compared with who!

I was happy until last week. My performance was a personal matter. It was nothing to do with competition.

This is probably why 150 million men worldwide have erection problems: the seed of doubt is sown, and they just worry themselves rigid.

Actually… not rigid, is probably nearer the mark.