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Men with Erectile Dysfunction and the Impact on Their Lives infographic

Analyzing the Impact of Erectile Dysfunction

A review of key findings from independent research into the condition  

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection that's firm enough for sex. Although the subject of many jokes and much mockery, the condition is often severe and far from uncommon. ED affects as many as 30 million men in the US alone[i] and brings with it feelings of inadequacy, shame, and low self-esteem. This article reviews some key findings from independently-commissioned research into the condition, explores a few of the reasons it occurs and examines the effectiveness of current treatments[ii].

Let's talk about ED

ED is not an easy subject to approach. But when guys do talk about it, this research confirms they're most comfortable with their doctor—with 59.8% willing to do so. At the other end of the scale, men are profoundly uncomfortable about discussing the condition with strangers or in support groups. Three-quarters of guys interviewed for this study said they’d feel uncomfortable talking about ED with people they didn’t know. Surprisingly, men are very much divided when it comes to talking about ED with their partners—48.1% are uncomfortable, while 51.9% are comfortable. We all know that, in theory, being open and honest is ultimately better for a relationship, but it is far from easy to start a dialogue about ED.


Erectile Dysfunction

When it does strike, ED has a significant impact on confidence, self-esteem, and general happiness. A staggering 87.1% of men said ED has had a considerable effect on their self-esteem, and 88.0% felt ED seriously impacted on their relationships. Looking further into the findings, more than one in five men believe ED has changed their partner's feelings towards them. 

Medical causes of ED

This research suggests around one-third of ED diagnoses have at least one underlying medical cause. Diabetes, at 31.6%, is the number one medical reason alongside heart and cardiovascular health at 24.9%—and nearly one in ten men have ED because of obesity. Proof that in some cases at least, ED can be treated by the adoption of a healthier lifestyle, including better eating habits and regular exercise. So that’s a good place to start and excellent motivation to get fit!


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Obviously, this is not the case for all men—and this research shows that one in five cases of ED with a physical original is linked to prostate surgery and associated radiation therapy. Prescription medicines that are needed to treat other medical conditions also cause ED in over 20% of these cases.

Psychological causes of ED

But let's not forget that ED has psychological origins too. Performance anxiety is real and accounts for almost half the instances of psychologically-related ED. Performance anxiety impacts on a guy’s ability to perform in bed. It can be caused by worries over body image, the size of your dick or how 'manly' or 'masculine' you are—and it doesn’t matter if these feelings are based on perception or reality; the result is the same.


lack of bloodflow

In these instances, there are plenty of male enhancement products such as penis pumps and penis plumping creams that can help improve on what nature gave you. Practicing with a 'pocket pussy' could also help break the cycle of performance anxiety and build confidence.

Stress—everyone feels it, but not everyone copes. Whether it comes from work, family, money worries stress can also lead to ED. One in four men that took part in this study reported it as an issue, while depression led to ED in around one in five respondents.

Treatment and outcomes

Unfortunately, this research reveals that over 70% of guys are dissatisfied with the care provided by doctors and counselors. This tells us very clearly that an effective formal medical treatment for ED has yet to be found. It also suggests that, even with advice from doctors, counselors, and the growing volume of online information, there is a distinct lack of knowledge surrounding ED treatment options. The only exception to that is knowledge of oral drugs such as Viagra, Levitra, and Calais. No doubt, awareness is higher in this instance because they are first-line treatments and are exceptionally well-marketed.


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Despite this lack of knowledge, around six out of ten men said they were willing to consider or have tried lifestyle changes—and 17.6% of them were satisfied with the outcome. Changing medication, with guidance from doctors and healthcare professionals, has also helped over 20% of ED sufferers. And almost two-thirds of guys have given natural supplements a try— with 19% of them saying they were satisfied with the results.

This research also confirms fewer men would consider medical treatments such as testosterone therapy. It goes on to reveal that only a small proportion would be willing to try penile injections or implants. Yet the satisfaction rate for both these is much higher than many other treatment options at 33.4% and 40% respectively.


cant perform in bed

Interestingly, men are willing to try vacuum (or penis) pumps (37.3%) and vibrators or massagers (43.4%) to treat ED—almost a quarter of men were happy with the results. This suggests that men could also be open to other products such as cock rings and even give penis extension sleeves or sheaths a try to allow them to penetrate their partners despite their ED. 

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            This study demonstrates that ED has a profoundly negative impact on men's lives and calls urgent outreach and education for guys with ED. More counseling and support are definitely needed alongside more effective treatment options. In a sad twist of irony, the research also highlights that guys aren't always getting the help they need because of their own resistance to talking about the condition.

            [i] Everything You Need to Know About Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

            [ii] Nicholson, Robert T. “Comprehensive Study on the Impact of Erectile Dysfunction.” ED Treatment Information Center, 21 Mar. 2018, edtreatment.info/ed-impact-study

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