Impotence is not a new problem; only our willingness to discuss it more openly is new. As far as we know, the sexuality of man was first described in detail in a biblical tale involving a king, a married woman, her husband, and a virgin. This chapter traces the history of the evolution of our understanding of a man's sexuality from biblical times to the present.
David, slayer of Goliath, singer of psalms, and king of Judea, was a passionate man reputed to have ten concubines and several wives. Yet one day he grew restive and "arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon" ( II Samuel 11:2). David was so stirred by the vision of Bathsheba that he summoned her to his chambers and "lay with her" and impregnated her. In the heat of their passion, Bathsheba may have neglected to mention that she was a married woman.
Uriah, Bathsheba's husband and one of David's most loyal captains, was at the time waging war in a distant land. In an effort to disguise the paternity of Bathsheba's child, David arranged for Uriah to be summoned home on furlough. The king assumed that Uriah, weary of battle and in need of a rest, would rejoice at being reunited with Bathsheba and sleep with her. Then when her child was born, she could attribute the pregnancy to that union. But Uriah demurred. He would not even enter Bathsheba's house, let alone sleep with her, for like many men of his time, he believed that by having sexual intercourse and ejaculating he would be sapped of his strength and ill-prepared to return to battle.
When his ruse failed, David saw to it that Uriah was placed in a combat position that would inevitably result in his death. Only then could David take the "recently widowed" Bathsheba as his wife and claim to be the rightful father of their son Solomon.