One in 10 men across the globe suffers from erectile dysfunction (ED), with cases expected to rise to 322 million by 2025. Despite the prevalence of this condition and the variety of accessible treatments, erectile dysfunction is still met with stigma, shame and a lack of understanding.
To explore present-day attitudes towards erectile dysfunction and how it impacts people in their daily lives and romantic relationships, Superdrug Online Doctor has surveyed 2,000 participants from across the UK on their experiences with ED.
Over two-thirds of Brits have experienced erectile dysfunction
According to the survey, 69% of men and women in the UK have, either themselves or through their partner, experienced erectile dysfunction.
Despite men between the ages of 45-54 years old being most likely to suffer erectile difficulties (37%), a third of those aged 18–24 have experienced these symptoms, demonstrating that, contrary to common perceptions, erectile dysfunction can impact people across all age groups.
When asked how they feel erectile dysfunction is impacting their lives, romantic relationships (44.2%), mental health (43.8%) and social life (20.4%) were cited as the areas most negatively affected.
The primary concern for women when their partner has developed erectile dysfunction is that their partner no longer finds them attractive (35%), whilst men are most concerned that their partner will find someone else (23%).
In reality, nearly a quarter of women would remain supportive of their partner, and only 6% of couples would break up due to erectile dysfunction.
One in 10 men have not told their partner they are on medication for erectile dysfunction
The data reveals that 62% of men with erectile dysfunction have turned to medications such as Viagra, Cialis and Sildenafil to improve blood flow to the penis. In a surprising revelation, it has come to light that many men secretly take these medications without informing their partners. Our survey results show that one in 10 men in the UK discreetly take medication to treat their erectile dysfunction.
The age group of 25–34 appears to be the most secretive, with over 17% of individuals in this demographic opting to use erectile dysfunction medication covertly, keeping their partners unaware of their intake. This trend underscores the importance of fostering open dialogues and trust within relationships, especially regarding sensitive health matters.
Couples therapist reveals how to reignite your sex life if you are struggling with erectile dysfunction
Kendra Capalbo, a licensed couples therapist, has provided valuable insight into how couples can work to improve their sex life if one is struggling to achieve or maintain an erection: “The most effective approach for couples to enhance intimacy and revive their sex life in the presence of erectile dysfunction is to prioritise the journey rather than solely focusing on the end goal.
“Often, sex becomes too focused on achieving penetrative intercourse and orgasms. Couples can benefit from cherishing the connection and intimacy they experience by simply being physically and emotionally close to one another.
“Activities such as kissing, touching, holding each other, engaging in skin-to-skin contact, making eye contact, and synchronising breathing can be incredibly pleasurable and intimate. By shifting their mindset away from the notion that sexual activity must always lead to penetrative intercourse, couples can explore new avenues of pleasure and connection while alleviating the negative emotions often associated with erectile dysfunction.”