Men. They really are different. They are psycho-socially different; this has provided for generations of standup comedy material about their inability to ask for directions when they are driving and lost, as well as their inability to move toward a restroom in groups. They got issues.

I learned a lot about this when studying and teaching psychotherapy. It seems you can’t get men into psychotherapy unless they are adolescents, post-andropause, or gay.

Men have issues with their fathers. The Oedipal complex, named after the famous king of Greek mythology who killed his dad and married his mom, is something that is supposed to get resolved in the human. Freud seemed to think a young man is in good shape if Momma loves him. He has to feel somehow, symbolically, he has somehow progressed beyond dad.

They got mythology and symbols; yes, even the heterosexual ones. Robert Bly, in his book “Iron John,” treats this subject lavishly. He’s got a current website and more recent work, as well.

Men are not what they used to be, physiologically. The people who wrote this study make it sound like this is an isolated study and you cannot infer anything from it. I have learned that this is not an unusual state of affairs for people whose research is picked up by a major news service. I am not denying that modern lifestyle changes may be contributing, in part at least, to the fact that men have less sperm and less viable sperm than ever. I am saying that these are far from the first people who have wondered about this.

It only takes a little bit of searching to find the true state of the art of assessment of men’s sperm counts. Leave it to those frisky Brits to write a really good review! Men just don’t have that much good, viable sperm. Seems like the percentage of viable sperm is somewhere between 15% and 40% most of the time. This is very different from 90% or so in bulls and other farmyard type animals. Of course, farmyard animals are not generally equipped with televisions so they are forced to roam their green spaces to keep from getting bored. I am not saying that women are without infertility problems. They may be harder to measure. Sperm counts are things you can, well, count.

I rarely hear women complain to me about infertility lowering their sense of self-esteem. I have many male patients who have “crowed” to me — that reminds me, roosters seem to do pretty well — about their number of “baby mamas” and dependent children. Enough to somehow secure them a reliable income. Actually, it seems that male infertility problems are more affected by what a mommy is exposed to while dear son is in the womb. I think many men will take pleasure in being able to blame their mothers for their infertility.

And yet, this is not as definitive as a vasectomy. I mean, I once had a patient who had a few little copies of his post vasectomy confirmation of a sperm count of zero or so, and used them to pick up women. Fifteen to forty percent viability is simply not low enough to do this. Sorry, guys. There are a couple of things that I am a little sure men do on their own that will likely lower their sperm counts. Although this is not necessarily a definite 100% true finding from the scientific literature, anything that is estrogen or estrogen-like that gets into a male body might do this. I mean, most of male to female transgendered patients report a diminished interest in male role sexual activity. I remember vividly at least one who fathered a child while on estrogens, but that was admittedly the exception rather than the rule.

There are an awful lot of “estrogen-like” compounds out there. A lot of them are in plant materials, thus known as “phytoestrogens“ – “phyte” means “plant” in Greek. As luck would have it, perhaps the two substances which I believe are most sought after by adolescent males are rich in phytoestrogens. Marijuana and beer. This could be the start of the extinction of the species.

Author's Bio: 

Estelle Toby Goldstein, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice in San Diego, CA.

Practicing Medicine Since 1981

In her medical career, she has studied in Europe and Canada as well as the USA. She has attended specialty training beyond medical school in the fields of general surgery, neurology and neurosurgery and psychiatry (specializing in psychopharmacology).

Experienced In Many Situations

She has worked in a variety of positions, including:
■Medical school professor
■General and Orthopedic surgeon
■Brain surgeon
■Army Medical Corps psychiatrist
■Prison psychiatrist
■Community Mental Health Center staff
■Consultant to a major transplant hospital
■Drug researcher

“Whatever It Takes!”

She currently has her own indepenent clinic in San Diego where she is concentrating on what she calls Mind/Body medicine — or Integrative Medicine. Her practice is cash-only, doesn’t accept insurance or government payments, and she operates on the concierge, or “private doctor” practice model to give her patients the absolute best quality of care and the highest level of confidentiality.

Dr. Goldstein’s philosophy is “Whatever It Takes!” Her goal is to do everything possible to solve whatever problem she is presented. This includes seeing patients as quickly as possible — not making them wait weeks for an appointment. This includes making appointments days, nights, weekends or holidays. This includes making house-calls. And it includes using the best, most innovative treatments available — most of which are unknown to standard, mainstream doctors.

Her focus is on transitioning patients away from prescription drugs and onto natural substances. She is also a master practitioner of Emotional Freedom Technique, a powerful and dynamic form of energy psychology that usually brings quicker results than traditional psychotherapy.