Shane Drake on dealing with erectile dysfunction during sobriety
Music video director Shane Drake sat down with Giddy’s Trisha Cummings to discuss his struggles with erectile dysfunction following his battle with drug addiction.
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A Conversation with Shane Drake
In this one-on-one conversation with Giddy’s Trisha Cummings, music video director Shane Drake bares his struggles with erectile dysfunction following his battle with drug addiction.
Shane dealt with sexual arousal complications long before substance abuse— he believes those issues stem from overanalyzing sexual situations. He turned to alcohol and drugs in hopes of alleviating the problem, but those substances only made matters worse. Shane says drug addiction formed a roadblock for sex and his relationships. On multiple occasions, he could not engage in sexual activities due to his mental and physical state.
Nearly three years into his sobriety, Shane turned to over-the-counter treatment options for erectile dysfunction, but the results were unsuccessful. Shane’s partner at the time encouraged him to pursue prescribed medication for ED, but his pride and ego interfered. He eventually came to terms with his predicament and sought professional assistance— he says it worked and has improved his sex life. Shane wants his story to shine a light on how common ED is, and hopes more men in similar situations are inspired to seek treatment.
How did addiction affect your sex life? Was it better, was it worse, was it kind of a mixture of things?
I've always been in my head about sex. Before any of the addiction issues, before any of the drug issues like, I'm a heady motherfucker. That makes sexual interactions very difficult. That's what the drinking was for. To get past that shit.
So for the time when I was dri—the period where I was drinking, I was just drinking before the drugs really started playing a big role, it actually was very helpful. It was beyond helpful. It's like a social lubricant. What becomes unhelpful is when you enter drugs into the equation, right? As soon as you start doing cocaine, that you're not only adding cocaine's elements to your physiology, but now you're also drinking more which drinking, again, has its statute of limitations. And then—
Which you can't feel when you're—
Exactly. And so now you're passing that limit. You've passed the threshold of usefulness for sexual relationships with alcohol, you've entered cocaine in the mix. So now, I mean, it absolutely thwarts the process, right? So there's—I remember there's one time I was—it was a New Year's Eve, I was with a girl and we were getting naked and we were about to like have whatever we were going to have relations and she's like, hey, do you have a condom? And I laughed. I'm like, "Oh, we're not having sex."
This isn't going to happen, "I'm sorry. We're going to make out. This would be great. But no, there's no chance." She didn't find it as funny as you find it.
But honestly, that I'd love to say, that was only one occurrence, but that happened multiple times where girls like, you eventually find yourself in a bedroom, in a bed and you're like all undressing, you're making out just fine. The girl's like cool, what about—I'm like, "Oh, I should have told you. It's not working, it's closed for business tonight. I'm just going to be making out with you and kissing you. Sorry."
It was absolutely a roadblock to sex, to sexual relationship, which means it's also a roadblock to relationships, right? Because like physicality and intimacy is a big part of that. And if you can't engage in that and you can't engage with someone on a sober level at some point, there's just no—there's building blocks for anything. You know what I mean?
There's nothing deeper—
The intention is all there.
I still wanted all those things, but the building blocks to form something lasting or significant just aren't there. And the thing is like for me, I'm relational and I was really missing that. You know I mean? I long for a person, I'm that way, you know?
So then enter sobriety. And now I'm like, "OK, cool. No longer I'm going to have the whiskey problem, no longer I'm going to have the cocaine problem. That's awesome."
What happened was, I found myself knee deep back in my brain. Only now, I am acutely aware of every little eccentricity and problem and issue because I'm dealing with them. I'm facing them, I'm addressing them. I'm looking back in the past, I'm pulling things out, you know? And "Oh, it's right, oh, that's right," because you're wanting to take account for your actions.
And so now, I wasn't aware of this, but being sexually active as a sober person post all that stuff, at least for me, has been very, very, very difficult. So I started trying to find different like over-the-counter like stimulant things, like the pills that you take or whatever and they're all kind of a joke, but you're like, "Oh, and then someone swears by one," so you order a box of them and then they just give you a headache and nothing happens. You're like, when do I take this shit?
And so you're just—you're trying to do it casually to not say that you have erectile dysfunction. You know what I mean? Because, God forbid, you're one of the millions of fucking men that have that, right? In my ego, I was a champion at one point of sex. It's never a champion. Decent in the middle of a relationship at best.
But when you get to this point, in sobriety like, you've got to find a way to survive and a way to live and a way to get by. And so I found myself in my first real relationship and sobriety about two and a half years into sobriety and sex was incredibly difficult. I mean, this person was gorgeous and she loved me and we really had a real thing forming but sex was just impossible. You know what I mean?
It's like—and again, I didn't know what to ascribe it to. I felt like, maybe I'm just not attracted to her in that way but I am in this way. But none of it really made sense. You know what I mean? And then she sort of encouraged me like, just get on medication, get on these pills. And like, I just couldn't do it, my pride couldn't do it right away. You know what mean? I just felt like—I felt less of a man, I felt like, well, I've never had a problem, the problem must be you.
Again, though, that—not that there wasn't some problems within the relationship that were causing this but the bigger problem was that I was in a different physiological body than I was before all the addictive behaviors started.
And I had to account for that. And so I eventually sucked up my pride and went to my doctor, talked to her about it, she said, it's very normal. And I got put on Cialis and it changed my life. It made me feel like I'm a normal person again. And honestly, like, all the pride, all the bullshit that I had with that is gone because now I can actually just have normal sex like a regular person again. You know what I mean?
I can have normal desires, I can have a normal erection, I can have normal all the stuff you're supposed to have to feel like you're functioning in that aspect of your physicality and it's all back. And so I've come to terms with it and, honestly, like, I try to tell guys any time I can who have an issue like, "Give into it, man." Just acknowledge it's a very common problem. And then honestly, no girl I've ever met gives a shit. We're the only ones that care.
Yeah, that's true.
So that's the world I live in now.
I mean, whatever works, though.
Yeah, yeah. No, for sure. And honestly—
Yeah. It works fantastic. And so now I'm—there's just a little preplanning involved, but other than that, everything's as normal as it was in my 20s.