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Mr. 80 Percent

Episode 2: Chasing Hutch

My wife, Michelle, and I met as students at Bates College. In other words, we’ve been together for an eternity. After the children arrive, as often happens in marriages, sex becomes perfunctory and much less frequent. But then, unbeknownst to me, Michelle begins devouring romance novels — books featuring hunky heroes with names like “Hutch” — and that proves to be the antidote to a lackluster sex life. Then boom! I’m facing treatment for prostate cancer, and the potential side effects on my sexual function range from bad to catastrophic. (Warning: Explicit language.)

Mark Shanahan can be reached at Follow him @MarkAShanahan.