In a society orientated around sex- hell even the media force feeds a sexualized view of our society down our throats- it can be all too easy to think that by ‘not having sex’ or having issues in the ‘bedroom department’ means there is automatically something wrong with you. We laugh at other people’s ‘low sex drives’, we spread rumors about our classmates being spotted in sexual health clinics by jumping to the wrong conclusion, but most of all our prejudices and outdated views on men who ‘use Viagra’ are ‘impotent’ or have Erectile Dysfunction means we see them as being ‘bad in bed’ -far from it- ‘old’ or ‘unable to give pleasure’ creates an unnecessary stigma around male sexual health which can derail their confidence, state of mind and sexual wellbeing. With an estimated 322 million men developing impotence by 2025, now more than ever its time to de-stigmatize the ‘Male Erectile Dysfunction’ myth and set the record straight. Because lets face it, just as having a mental illness does not make you a ‘drama queen’, neither should sexual health issues be ‘ignored’, dismissed or treated like an invisible illness, because it is not. Sufferers are not inadequate, nor should they be made to feel guilty or ashamed about impotence. Instead we should take the time to support loved ones with ED, and give them the guidance and encouragement to reach out and consult with the doctors and online resources like ‘LloydsPharmacy‘ about what course of protocol they should take.
In fact, with studies showing that 45% of women and 30% of men experiencing at least one type of sexual dysfunction, research clearly demonstrates that regardless of gender, impotence is something that can affect us all, with ‘age’ being the most common cause of Erectile Dysfunction, through ‘modifiable lifestyle factors’ like ‘obesity ‘ , smoking and excessive TV ‘watching’. While age is the biggest cause of ED, 2% of the population who describe themselves as having Erectile Dysfunction, are under 40, which can often be an indicator of something more serious, so its always important to consult with the doctors to get their professional advice. It’s so important in light of the research on ED, that we de-stigmatize male sexual health and show our male friends, loved ones, the strangers on the tube that it’s ok to speak out, its ok to seek help and most of all being impotent does not mean a ‘loss of manhood’ nor is it anything to be ashamed about. Here is why you should speak out and share your story…
Impotence Can Mean That ‘Erectile Dysfunction’ Could Be A Sign Of Something More Serious
When we think about Erectile Dysfunction, the first ‘symptom’ or association that springs to mind is an ‘inability to achieve’ or ‘maintain’ an erection, which while partly true, ED can often be a sign of something more serious, because it puts you at a risk of cardiovascular disease, heart disease, stroke, and premature death according to many studies. According to Web MD, when a man struggles or cannot maintain an erection it could be a sign of something being ‘amiss’ because an erection relies on a healthy flow of ‘blood to the penis’, which means that when the vessels in the penis is not becoming engorged with blood, there is something that is interfering with the blood flow to the penis. In other words many cardiovascular diseases that can create ‘heart attacks’ or strokes can be seen as a ‘risk’ when someone has ED, because illnesses like Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and high blood pressure (hypertension) can not only cause ‘abnormal blood flow’ to the penis but also be a pre-requisite for something that is more serious. Of course not everyone who has erectile dysfunction is prone to heart diseases, but it’s always best to check with your doctors, who can take you into an evaluation and give you peace of mind.
ED ( Erectile Dysfunction) Can Be An Indicator Of A Low Sex Drive (But That’s Not A Bad Thing)
It goes without saying that not everyone has a ‘high sex drive’ and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Despite being plunged into a sexually charged and conscious world, we are not all built too look or feel the same, sexual urges included. But with all this talk of sex, men who have a low libido or have a lower sex drive because of ED are ashamed to speak to their doctors, because it is assumed that they are losing their ‘symbol of manhood’ and are less of a man if they ‘choose to have less sex or cannot maintain an erection’ when this is not the case at all. With 1 in 10 men having experienced ‘low sexual desire’ at least once, it makes sense that someone who has Erectile Dysfunction is more prone to HSDD (Hypoactive sexual desire disorder or a low sex drive as it is more commonly known) than someone without ED. And while more women are prone to a low sex drive, men with ED are likely to be exhibiting traits of HSDD which is rooted in their shame of not being able to maintain an erection, as well as ‘stress’, anxiety, and the fear of having sexual rejection. Their fear of being rejected by their partners can affect their ability to have sex, or even stop them from having sex at all as they don’t want to be labelled as being bad in bed, neither do they want to be pitied by their sexual partner (or potential love interest).
But let me tell you something, while ED can be an indicator for something ‘more serious’, generally speaking a low sex drive is not abnormal and in fact is an adaptive response to male sexual dysfunction, being more common than you may think. Medication, particularly those taken for depression, anxiety or heart health can often create male dysfunction issues, as a side effect of treatment, while biological reasons such as a lack of emotional connection with their partners and premature ejaculation can all elevate a low sex drive. For others sexuality comes into the equation, with assexuals ( men or women who are not sexually attracted to others, or have low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity) cited as having lower sex drives. Although not all asexual men or women are opposed to the idea of having sex, with hetero-romantic, bi-romantic, homo-romantic’s having a lower libido, but still being open to the idea of sex, for aromantic men and women, who are not ‘romantically attracted to anyone’ being pressurized or being told that ‘sex has to happen’ will not be something they would be comfortable with, dispelling the myth that ‘having no sex drive’ or lack of interest in sexual activity, means that there is something is wrong with you. Which is not the case.
Remember That Viagra Is Not The Only Treatment Or Solution To Dealing With Erectile Dysfunction
With more men realizing that the stigma of male sexual health has been ingrained in the mind, the choice to purchase Viagra to help maintain an erection, has increased in recent years, with more men being open about their sexual health issues. But while ‘Viagra’ might seem like a failsafe way of increasing sexual satisfaction, you have to bear in mind that like with any illness, what might work for someone else is not necessarily the best choice for you. Taking into account that sexual dysfunctions like Erectile Dysfunction are varied and thus the treatment of these disorders needs to be multifactorial, it should also be noted that pharmacological treatments are meant to be short term ‘crutches’ so to speak.
In other words Viagra might be a short term solution, but those with ED can still be left feeling like they are ‘sexually inadequate’, a failure and can put them off wanting to have sex – or try to have sex’ short term, which is where a long term solution plan is needed to address these concerns. Take psychotherapy or sex therapy as an example, a form of counselling that works on improving communication and the ‘five senses’ during sex or the ‘build up to sex’, especially if he is worried about having sex or not being able to ‘finish’. Many doctors recommend sex therapy as an alternative remedy to the ‘little blue pill’, especially for men who is going to receive surgical or medical treatment to address the ED, or have a ‘a partner’ and are keen to keep the spark alive, not wanting to alienate their partner because of having sexual dysfunction. Sex therapy is very unlikely to work if the male in question is not open to attending regular ‘sex sessions’ or not open to expressing their concerns and fears around sex and their health, so it’s an option that is not for everyone, but an alternative remedy nevertheless.
What Are Your Thoughts On Erectile Dysfunction?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own. Remember to consult with a doctor to seek professional medical advice.