Copyright © 2002 Terry Joseph
A real stocking stuffer
By Terry Joseph
December 20, 2000
CHRISTMAS this year is likely to be the merriest in a long time for men living with the cruel combination of above-average libido and high risk of heart problems.
And it is only fair. Even with available technology for monitoring and containing such health hazards, affected men are often confined at Christmas time to mere sips of non-alcoholic beverages and even less of that other spicy stuff, while their friends gorge on the variety of vulgar excesses now common to this season.
But if we are to accept the findings of internationally respected cardiologist Dr Shah Ebrahim of the University of Bristol, England, such men will enjoy this Christmas in a whole new way. Indeed, the research also indicates they will live for many more Christmases than originally anticipated.
Dr Ebrahim must have raised much more than a few eyebrows last month, when he told the fourth World Stroke Congress in Melbourne, Australia of his finding: that regular sexual activity reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke in men. Coming as it did, so soon after another set of medical experts established the value of a good wine to daily health, the package comprises the best Christmas gift yet.
Reporting on an exhaustive epidemiological study of 2,400 healthy men in the Welsh town of Caerphilly, Dr Ebrahim said one of the crucial questions asked was whether the subjects had sex once, twice or three or more times a week.
Well boys, after assessing the results of a full ten years of continuous research, the goodly doctor discovered that, those men who had three or more orgasms a week were half as likely to have had a heart attack or a stroke.
The Reuters report, dated November 28, did not include any references to the swell of applause that must have followed Dr Ebrahim's announcement.
Mark you, scientists who define the stereotype cannot be depended upon to overtly celebrate such discoveries. In fact, it is reasonable to assume that the more assiduous among them would have immediately volunteered to fast track the process of probing, to see whether the same level of relief would apply to women.
I could just see bespectacled doctors in calf-length white coats, making their rounds quickly and totting up results, hoping to find that women share the additional health benefits now known to accrue to men, so there could be Merry Christmases for all consenting adults, instead of just us guys.
It is useful to remember, however, that outward appearances, particularly among scientists, can be quite misleading. Marketing is now a serious component of medical diagnosis and treatment. You may not have noticed, but what used to be a heart attack is now described as "a cardiovascular event"; language more frequently used to conjure up imagery of applause and confetti than pain and suffering.
Extend the euphemism now to embrace all known medical conditions and imagine resulting conversation: "Hey, bro! The doc just told me I am diabetic, but there's nothing to worry about. The wife contacted an events-management firm and they are handling the whole project, DJs, catering, everything; controlling it from start to finish."
But not even humour of the richest quality should be allowed to dilute the strength of this important discovery by Dr Ebrahim, who advised the conference that his results should force physicians to re-evaluate the type of exercise necessary to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
"In the past, we thought it had to be activity at least three times a week and lasting 20 minutes or longer, causing sweatiness or being out of breath," Dr Ebrahim later told Reuters. "We're now moving to a situation where we would say that even mild to moderate levels of physical activity are likely to have some cardiovascular protective effect."
And now that all the exercise a male prone to heart disorder or stroke needs can be had indoors and without the expense of elaborate, macho-type gym equipment, wives who wish to help alleviate the condition, can now interpret the concept of "goodwill to men" in its fullness.
Different strokes for different folks, of course, but instead of having to go abroad for the full treatment, the majority of affected men can now redirect their attention to rigidly pursuing better health, through exercise regimes mounted at home.
What the finding also means is that this Christmas, instead of carousing with peers in the effort to burn up excess energy, a lot more of the guys will be spending quality time with their wives and by the same opportunity, keeping the ol' pump in working condition.
It is against this backdrop that I wish to publicly support the Santa Claus theory, even if the portly one wishes to continue masquerading as Dr Ebrahim or, for that matter, Blackstone the Magician. What is clear, is that we finally have a real stocking-stuffer.
So, while I wish you all "Happy Holidays", special greetings are reserved for the growing number of male friends stricken with debilitating conditions who, in the effervescence of the Christmas season, often feel disadvantaged by diet and other physical constraints of a fragile existence.
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