Some of the events you’re about to read are gruesome, terrifying and shocking. Most of them are pretty innocuous, at least at first blush. The problem with the innocuous changes one makes to increase sperm count, is that they target the soft, furry creature of comfort that lives within each one of us. These are the most insidious changes, shaking the very foundation of ones being. Take the change from briefs to boxers.
This transition is easiest made before you go through puberty. Doing it at 38 years old can deliver not only pain and discomfort, but a blow to the core of ones identity. I’m a “snug guy”. I don’t know if I like the feeling of everything swaying around down there. Being a snug guy means being able to move quickly – leaping to the rescue at a moments notice! Try that with boxers and “SLAM,” the testicles clash, shooting little electric jolts through your stomach. Do you know of any superheroes who wear boxers? No! Every single one of them wears tighty-whities.
Not to mention the strange feeling of gravitas. There is a new weight to every move you make, as if world history is dependent upon the swaying of your package. Lets face it, its not a package any more, its a collection of pre-historic aquatic creatures lost in your pants. They seem very serious, not the light-hearted friends of my youth.
The reason for shifting from briefs to boxers is two fold: blood flow and temperature. The constriction of the testicles weakens the flow of blood -that’s pretty straight forward. Temperature has consequences that reach far beyond boxers and briefs. Testicles have a natural heat regulation feature. When you’re hot, the sack that holds the testicles relaxes, enabling the testicles to swing freely in the breeze. If they’re not used to swinging freely you may pull a very delicate bit of tissue that holds testicles and blood vessels in place. I report this based on experience. Conversely when you’re cold the sack constricts, allowing the testicles to draw on the warmth of your blood to sustain your sperm producing ability. This is the cause of the “shrinkage” factor made famous by an embarrassed George of Seinfeld fame.
The Battalion commander took quite an interest in my testicular temperature. The first sign was a gift of a thermometer for my daily baths. We lacked a shower at our apartment, so for the next several months (turned into several years) my baths would be temped at best. This is another one of those soft furry inner-creature moments. Many Central California homes lack central heating or even adequate insulation. Turns out I warm myself throughout the winter partly by taking blazing hot baths. The coldest bath I’ve ever taken was at least a 100 degrees, and that was during a heat wave. I fought for every degree of temperature my sack could take.
Next came the assessment of how I sit.
“Don’t cross your legs. Men don’t sit that way anyways.”
“But I like crossing my legs.”
“You’re crushing your testicles and making them too warm.”
“Believe me, I’d know if I was crushing my testicles.”
“They’re still too hot.”
“They’re not hot, get the thermometer and I’ll stick it down my pants.”
“Its a meat thermometer, you could impale yourself. And don’t put your laptop on your lap, its too hot.”
“Its on my thighs, not my crotch.”
“It doesn’t matter, I read an article that says the wireless signal causes a drop in sperm count.”
“No it doesn’t, it said it was probably the temperature. Here, hand me the ice pack and I’ll put it on my crotch.”
I had gotten to the point where sitting in a cafe having this argument with an ice-pack on my crotch didn’t even phase me. I then of course proceeded to count the number of “real men” in the cafe who had their legs crossed. I did discover it can hurt to cross your legs if you wear boxers. Goodbye Captain Tighty Whitey, hello Cowboy Tim!
Diet continued to be assessed throughout this process. Alcohol, sugar and caffeine were greatly reduced. My vote would have been to increase my alcohol intake at this time. Orgasms were more frequent, but still tightly regulated. The decision to regulate at this phase in boot camp was a consensus reached by Terry, my fertility acupuncturist and her assistant. Its a strange feeling, watching three women casually decide the number of orgasms you can have a week without consulting you.
“Yeah, I think three is about right.”
“OK, and how many days of no orgasms before fertility?”
“Two but not more than two before fertility. We don’t want old sperm.”
“No, of course not, no old sperm.”
Now for the gruesome part. Sadly the acupuncture points associated with male fertility are not located far away from the actual fertility equipment. The acupuncturist has a variety of points to choose from when addressing male infertility. I was spared the most painful point, the one on the head of the penis. I was not spared the most humiliating and invasive point, located at the perineum – thats the tender place located between your sex organ and anus. The acupuncturist is also afforded a variety of choices in terms of the width or “guage” of their needles. These range from the width of human hair to something resembling a standard syringe. They can also be short or long. Depending upon the length, the “healer”, or “inflicter of torture” may choose to first insert the needle in only 1/4 an inch, and then spin the needle easing it gently in deeper and deeper.
Both fortunately and ironically, the optimal patient position for reaching the fabled perineum point is the fetal position. Once a month, for a year, you could find me on an acupuncture table in the fetal position with a dozen needles poking out of me, whimpering and counting the seconds as they ticked by. “Try to relax and breath,” they would say as they left the room. I would squeak in response. Terry took pity on me during this stage, realizing that I would go into shock hours before my treatment, she understood when I ultimately declined to continue with my Chinese needle torture.
There was one session though, that I believe really turned a corner for my fertility. The acupuncturists must have sensed the potential to transform that day, she went especially deep. I could feel her spinning and spinning and spinning. And then something started to open up. It was like someone turned on a breaker hidden in the darkest resources of my soft, furry primal self. Now I know what it feels like to have an energy gateway just open up. It felt pretty damned good.
Did it make a difference? We started scheduling IUI’s with Terrys physician. These are a kind of high tech turkey baster sessions. Not as invasive or expensive as invetro, the sperm is “spun down” to get the most highly concentrated selection of viable sperm and then inserted in to the woman’s uterus. Somewhat uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as say lancing your perineum for example. Before spinning down, a sample of my sperm was taken and analyzed. 20 million, with quite a few good swimmers. A twenty fold increase. Turns out the Battalion commander and her advisers knew what they were doing. Out of my way old dead guy, Cowboy Tim has ambled into town!
20 million is not great, but with the IUI it might just be enough. We continued my austerity practices, with a little less whining on my part, and Terry started taking weird pharmaceuticals to boost her ovulation. Several years had passed since the initial Oprah-Walters-Fertility-Misery indoctrination, and Terry was painfully aware she was not getting any younger. Her mother had gotten pregnant with her at 42 – a good sign. But Terry had already left 42 behind, she didn’t know what childbirth would be like in her mid-forties. We kept going back for the IUI’s, racking up quite a bill for even the relatively inexpensive procedure.