CONCORD, New Hamsphire. Ted and Gina Holcomb have been married for twenty-two years, and while the two have a good relationship now, they admit their early years were sometimes difficult. “Gina’s more sentimental than me,” her husband says. “She cries at McDonalds commercials, while I like to watch sports where guys get concussions.”
The side benefit of their early sparring was “make-up” sex, a well-known phenomenon where erotic pleasure is heightened by the passions that are unleashed, then quelled, when a couple reconciles after an argument. “Ted is stubborn and so am I,” Gina says as she snuggles up next to her husband on a sectional sofa. “It made for some awful fights, but really mattress-rattling orgasms for me.”
With their fractious early years behind them, the Holcombs realized recently that they were in a rut that troubled them both, and so they turned to Ted’s urologist, Dr. Michael Meska, for help. “Ted’s sex drive had declined, while at the same time they’d both learned to overlook the kind of petty issues that cause marital strife,” he says. “They needed to get back into the wild mood swings of their youth if they were going to avoid early deaths of boredom.”
And so Meska wrote Ted a prescription for Vitriolis, an erectile-dysfunction drug with a side effect that is usually the subject of a warning, but which can also be viewed as a benefit. “Vitriolis is designed to put a man in an irritable mood,” Meska says, “then give him an erection. It’s just what the doctor–in this case a urologist–ordered.”
Extensive clinical trials of the drug were required in order to win FDA approval, and double-blind testing produced encouraging results. “A control group was given a placebo,” says chief chemist Anthony Solis of Xize Pharmaceuticals, the drug’s manufacturer. “When the woman told the man to take out the garbage, he said ‘In a minute,’ watched television until the next commercial, then did what he was told. There were zero pregnancies.”
The test subjects who were given Vitriolis, by comparison, told their wives to “put a sock in it, touching off explosions of sarcasm, recriminations over past forgotten gift-giving occasions and comparisons to former boyfriends,” Solis says. “It was like somebody flipped a cigarette butt at a fireworks display.”
The Holcombs have graciously allowed this reporter into their living room on a Wednesday night, when they try to make time for each other on what they like many others consider “hump day,” halfway through the work week. “It’s our chance to relax and catch up, then watch a little ‘Heartbeat,’ my favorite show about the woman heart surgeon,” Gina says with a smile.
“No we’re not,” Ted says as he grabs the remote. “The NBA playoffs are on tonight.”