I've been divorced nearly 15 years. It was a very happy marriage except for my sudden inability to "perform," back in the pre-Viagra days. We were too embarrassed to seek any help. These days, there are chemical remedies for my marriage-killer. I've avoided dating since, probably because of fears of again disappointing a partner. I did get a trial prescription for Viagra and was able to achieve a measure of firmness. I have yet to attempt any intimacies for fear that my psychological problems might override any benefit provided by modern chemistry.
Oh dear. I can't help but cheer the arrival of the Sex Drug Era and wish you'd run into your problem a decade or two later than you did. Of course you did yourselves no favors refusing to seek help even then, since there were remedies available, just trickier and less palatable ones, like sticking yourself in the dick with a needleful of Papaverine. Not nice, but it did work. Still does.
You don't sound so terribly damaged to me, but the association you've learned to make (loss of erection equals loss of love) could be a hard one for anyone to shake. I'd think some short-term cognitive behavioral therapy plus a nice fat scrip for Viagra would fix you right up, but you'll have to believe in it. Neither one works if you insist on seeing yourself as too broken to be worth fixing.
There are legions of single women your age out there, most of them bemoaning the lack of decent men worth dating. Get shined up a little and prove them wrong.
Andrea Nemerson has spent the last 14 years as a sex educator and an instructor of sex educators. In her former life, she was a prop designer. Visit www.altsexcolumn.com to view her previous columns.