Not long ago I started writing a post that quickly developed into a full blown essay about men’s magazines and sexuality that I am now thinking of revising and editing for submission to magazines like Geez, or Relief. This has created a mild dilemma as I have not posted in awhile and what I was going to post I am now going to save for my attempt to become a “real writer” who is published. However, I have decided that I will grace the masses that hungers for my words with the following excerpt.


A couple of days ago I browsed the back section of the latest issue of Men’s Health. I admit that this was not the wisest move given that this section is the red light district of these magazines: an area full of sexually explicit ads about sexually related stuff. I can honestly say that I was not looking to cast my eyes upon some skin, but rather I was drawn by a morbid curiosity to see how lowbrow and twisted the circus of worldly sexuality can be. One ad I spotted was for a product called “Vahard,” which prompted a mildly amused smile, along with a feeling of superiority as I easily discerned the ad’s obvious ploy to prey upon my masculine insecurities. This ad had a picture of a couple taken from an overhead perspective that gave the reader a sense of being the mirror above their bed. The couple is embracing one another on silk sheets, obviously moving toward coitus, and we know that this man is ready because he takes “Vahard!” As I continued to ponder this ad, I couldn’t help but analyze the thinly veiled sexual allusion of this product’s name: “Va” combined with “hard”. The associations and connotations began to flow. “Va” for vagina, and “hard” for the virile and aroused male member, which evoked a subtext of, “Oh yeah baby, you are going to hit that and you are going to hit it hard!” Then I thought about the fact that this is supposedly a natural alternative to Viagra, so now, I am seeing a reference to a drug that is the “sacred grail” of male performance. Finally, I thought of Valhalla, the heaven-like destiny of heroic warriors in Norse mythology, and in my mind a connection was forged between Thor’s hammer and the male member. This was a potent connection as I remember from my youth that Thor was able to strike the ground with his hammer and create an earthquake, which is exactly the kind of impact many males would love to have upon their ladies. We imagine her under the rhythm of our embrace crying out in ecstasy and then declaring, “Oh baby, the earth moves, and the ground shakes when we make love.” As I continued to look at the other ads of this sort, stoking the embers of my supposed superiority, I realized that no matter how much I tried to neutralize it effects through analysis, on some level I am not impervious to its attacks upon my sense of masculine competency.

7 Responses to “Vahard”

  1. Roger Green  

    “erections”. “hard”. what kind of website IS this?! 😉

  2. Anthony Velez  

    Honestly, I sometimes wonder what kind of website this is. I did pause some before I posted this latest bit as I realized that given my previous post it would appear that I was becoming obsessed. I have to say that I am probably a little O/C and so maybe sexuality is my current obsession. Since one of my purposes in this blog is to share how I process the world around me, I suppose this means that sometimes I will have to process it through my preoccupations as that certainly is a part of my world.

  3. Roger Green – the list of songs I sent you.

  4. Roger Green  

    Re: your topic:

  5. Kev  

    I never understood a Christian’s fascination with the supposed ‘moral decay’ of society with regards to sexuality – just because it says in 2000 year old collection of text that it’s ‘wrong’ to behave in certain ways makes it wrong?

    Weird. Sorry, couldn’t help but comment.

  6. Anthony Velez  

    Kevin – No need to apologize for commenting. More than agreement (which can be nice) I am looking for conversation. So, a point of divergence is welcome.

    I would say that we Christians are fascinated with “moral decay” because of our own falleness. Nietzsche, in a piercing analysis of humanity, said that life is characterized by a will to power, which is expressed in two primary forms: reactive and active. In the reactive form, people establish who they are by looking around and finding examples of evil, and in response to those examples say, “because I am not that, I am good.” By contrast, the active expression begins with the self as the standard, and says “those who are not like me are bad (not evil, just inferior).” Nietzsche called the reactive form the slavish expression of life denying morality, and this was the charge he leveled against Christianity. By contrast, the active form he called the life affirming expression of noble morality that the Uberman embodies. The point is, we all seek affirmation through various means: money, status, sexual conquest, lots of friends, a sense of style, reputation for brilliance, etc. Christians are particularly prone toward grasping for affirmation through judgementalism. I don’t think that Christianity has to be this way inherently (Nietzsche would disagree), but rather it is the byproduct of an all too common spiritual immaturity in the Church. Those Xians that I have met who are infused and saturated with the Spirit of Grace are not like this. I am not saying that they don’t have the capacity to be critical, but that they don’t get a sense of who they are from being critical. Instead, like Jesus, who was confident in his identity, they are free to move in love and genuine service toward others.

    As far as the 2000 year old collection of texts is concerned, I would say a more accurate description would be that the Bible is a confederation of texts written over a the span of a few millennia by various and diverse authors, who held a range of beliefs, values and prejudices, that was brought together in its present canonical form about 2000 years ago. Of course, for us Christians, the tension we hold is that this affiliation of texts expresses the word of God, that God was somehow involved in the vagaries of history, moving through the limitations of diverse people to express with integrity who he is and what his will for humanity is. I realize that you don’t buy into this latter part, but I don’t think it should tax your imagination too much to enter into a “willing suspension of disbelief” to understand why this text and what it says would be so important to us who believe. I mean, I can occupy an atheist’s point of view, and process the world from that perspective, and I can often provide a better critique of Christianity and the Church than most atheists or agnostics I meet. I think that understanding others is primarily an act of the will and not so much a matter of innate cognitive features or disposition.

  7. Simon  

    How old is the Karma Sutra? On Kevin’s note I would say that I think Christians obsess over entirely the wrong things. They get all screwed up over sex because for 2000 years they’ve not had a proper conversation about sex!

    Now having said that, I also think that ‘moral decay’ is something of a problem. But I am not sure how I can equate that other than to say I worry about the influence certain things have on the moral growth of society. For example, while I have no objection to porn I dislike porn that brutalizes women even if that brutalization is ‘acted’. The problem with porn though is that the internet has exploded that market and in such a hotly fought marketplace straigh up fucking or naked girls are now commercially low-grade because there are billions of straight up boy fucks girl films out there. In order to gain a commercial advantage you have to have an edge, and that concerns me in porn because the edge is often stuff that I think is extreme.

    Having said that though, I wonder if maybe I am just old fashioned? Back when I was a teenager hardcore porn was unavailable so me and my school buddies would exchange magazines akin to todays Playboy and that was fine, watching a fuck film was out of the question because hardcore porno was flat out illegal here in the UK so while it might have been ‘out there’ somewhere, it wasn’t easy to get for us teenagers. We had to make do, and were happy to make do, with just the standard pictures of naked ladies 🙂

    Now, if you have the web you can watch some girl getting slam-bammed all over the place within 2 minutes of opening your web browser! My concern is that this acceleration of porn might have a seriously negative effect on the developing sexualities of the ‘internet generation’ who have not known a world without a www. But you can’t ban it. Men are always going to want to see naked ladies, and anyone who thinks banning porn will get rid of ‘moral decay’ is sadly the victim of brain decay!

    I rather think that we’ve lost our ability to understand the concept of moderation. So while I have no real objection to porn, or drugs, or wealth, or work, I think that these things should be applied to our lives in amounts that won’t destroy us. But sadly society is trying to sell us a drug to make us fuck longer, a cell phone to make us work longer, a website to make us get what we need quicker and more often, etc etc.

    If you ask me, our moral decay lies in the fact that we’ve largely lost our ability to know how and when to slow down and stop.