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 Ernest Hemingway Message Boards : General Questions
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Daughter
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Posted: 10 November 2005 at 4:07pm | IP Logged Quote Daughter

Was EH impotent? Can you father children if you are?

Just wondering,

Daughter

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Mike Galvin
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Posted: 10 November 2005 at 8:35pm | IP Logged Quote Mike Galvin

He wasn't. And I don't know if you can. Is there a doctor in the house?

Mike
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HemingwayCenter
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Posted: 10 November 2005 at 8:42pm | IP Logged Quote HemingwayCenter

I would think it would be physically difficult to have intercourse if you were really impotent.  You would still have the ability to produce sperm cells, but the delivery mechanism would be the issue.




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Papa Cosa
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Posted: 11 November 2005 at 9:06am | IP Logged Quote Papa Cosa

 

  Wasn't Hem having difficulty in Key West?  He went and prayed on it then returned home revitalized.  

  Cosa



Edited by Papa Cosa on 13 November 2005 at 11:27am
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hijo
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Posted: 11 November 2005 at 10:19pm | IP Logged Quote hijo

This discussion is getting really weird, but at least it's still on EH.

Depression can cause temporary "impotence," along with a variety of things including too much alcohol (but not absinthe).

EH suffered from bipolar disorder, a form of severe depression, not just at the end of his life - it doesn't work that way.

As for praying, who knows what restored his function as well as faith? Only him, and what he told biographers or his friends. It might have been just a vision, and it might not have been in church...

Had Viagra been around at the time, he likely would have tried it. But it's intended as well for people with a blood-flow (circulation) problem, not other problems affecting their "ability to perform."

Best,
hijo
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RobbieJor
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Posted: 13 November 2005 at 2:49pm | IP Logged Quote RobbieJor

Dear Daughter,

Impotence: all of us boys have been down that road one way or another during our lives.  Temporarily, anyway.  Thank gawd.  And Ernest is no exception.  A well documented episode of Ernie’s temporary impotence can be found in Hemingway A Biography by Jeffrey Meyers – See page 403.  This bout from August to November 1944 is attributable to an accident – a physical cause rather than psychological factors.

Further, Ernie also suffered temporary bouts of impotence attributable to “psychological” factors in 1927 just after his marriage to Pauline and in 1936 during a crisis with Jane Mason.

Ernie recovered from them all. 

I think Ernie’s sexual life was quite active: four wives and a lot of girlfriends (Marlene Dietrich, Jane Mason, Duff Twysden) and all the characters that went into The Garden of Eden.  In one documented episode with Mary in 1944, Ernie bragged that he and Mary had stayed in bed all day and had sex five times.  Mary was there and did not deny it.  Some of Ernie’s adventures could well be a factor of his imagination like his relationship with Adriana.  Too bad that we’ll never know because I believe Ernest was discreet in many of his sexual adventures.

Quoting from Myers: “His sexual boasting was directly related to his fear of impotence and his declining sexual powers in middle age.”  This can apply to most of us boys but I’m afraid to boast because I don’t want to be called on to prove…



Edited by RobbieJor on 14 November 2005 at 2:15pm


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Woodie
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Posted: 16 November 2005 at 1:34pm | IP Logged Quote Woodie

"Impotence: all of us boys have been down that road one way or another during our lives."

Speak for yourself.
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donmadge
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Posted: 16 November 2005 at 9:29pm | IP Logged Quote donmadge

My understanding was that impotence was the straw that broke the camel's back.  It was the final blow to his ego and may have been a big factor in triggering his suicide.  Bipolar disorder and chronic alcoholism were also contributing factors throughout his life, but the impotence was just too much, combined with 17th symptom mania problems and depression.
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RobbieJor
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Posted: 16 November 2005 at 9:57pm | IP Logged Quote RobbieJor

The main definition of impotence is: "not potent lacking in power, strength, or vigor" so yes, in this sense, Hemingway was impotent in his final years finding himself unable to write, hunt  and carry on with the things he loved due to the shock treatments he received.  He was very frustrated in finding that words would not come to him when he sat down to write.

Let's not get this main definition confused with the second definition of impotence which is: "unable to have sexual intercourse because of erectile dysfunction."
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dnmadge
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Posted: 17 November 2005 at 5:46pm | IP Logged Quote dnmadge

Hem just couldn't get it up toward the last.  We need to go back to the storyline of The Sun Also Rises.  This is where we first see his preoccupation with impotence.  The hero disabled by war injury is pained by the sexual foibles of others.  Although he retains his dignity, his self-respect seemed to me to be suffering.
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