Three quarters of women whose partner has ED reports it is a ‘problem’ and the Female Experience of Men’s Attitudes to Life Events and Sexuality (FEMALES) study found that when men develop ED their partners engage in significantly less sexual activity.
A recent research review points out, “A partner’s wellbeing is of paramount importance, too. A relationship is only effective when those in it truly understand each other. Without clear communication, and acknowledgement of ED, the problem can persist and affect the partner.”
Another challenge is that men may be too embarrassed to seek help, and when they do the lack of spontaneity associated with oral PDE5i medicines — which typically take between 30 minutes and an hour to work — can strain relationships.,
Comments in a BMJ review of these medicines included the complaints:
‘It’s not spontaneous, it's planned. I wish I didn't have to take it, obviously.’
“Sex has become medical as opposed to spontaneous.”
The need to time sex may even compound ED problems. A study in the Journal of Clinical Urology in 2022 found, “Timed intercourse significantly increased the risk of sexual dysfunction … for both males and females.” And warned, “Timed intercourse increased the risk of erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, male hypoactive sexual dysfunction, female sexual interest-arousal disorder, and female orgasmic disorder.”
Consumer research commissioned by Futura Medical found that 34% of men taking a prescription PDE5I and 38% of those using an OTC ED medicine, were unhappy with their sex life, or report it as non-existent.
Performance anxiety can also leave men feeling apprehensive about forming new relationships and this can be particularly intense in younger men. Those not already in a relationship may feel apprehensive about seeking new sexual partners and uncertain or embarrassed about whether or not to disclose their ED.
Again, this is confirmed by consumer research which found that 63% of men with ED said it made them anxious about starting a new sexual relationship.