Some men experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED) with female partners may be struggling with their sexuality. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the British Society for Sexual Medicine (BSSM).
Many men experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. Psychological causal factors include stress and depression, while physical factors include heart disease and diabetes. Alcohol and drugs can also have an influence.
The new report from the BSSM estimates that up to 100,000 British men with ED could be struggling with their sexuality. It says this represents a small minority of men in relationships with women who are experiencing ED. However, it suggests GPs and urologists directly ask patients if that could be the case.
The report states: ‘There can no longer be an excuse for avoiding discussions about sexual activity due to embarrassment.’
‘They might be able to overcome their issue if they come to terms with this’
The report’s author, Dr Geoff Hackett, said people wrestling with their sexuality, ‘need to be pointed in the right direction.
‘This may be your one and only chance as a doctor to do so.’
‘If a man is in a relationship with a woman and is having problems with erectile dysfunction it might be because they are in a relationship with the wrong gender.
‘They might be able to overcome their issue if they come to terms with this.
‘If you do not get at this problem you will waste a lot of time and ineffective treatment going down the wrong path.’
However, a spokesperson for GPs has questioned the advice.
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, from the Royal College of GPs, told The Sun: ‘There are many reasons for erectile dysfunction.
‘It is essential patients have the safe space to discuss issues with their GP, whenever they choose to and in their own time.
‘But it is difficult to see how asking all patients unsolicited and impromptu questions about their sexuality is going to instil confidence and trust.’
‘It’s definitely appropriate to ask whether the person feels sufficiently turned on by their partner’
Dominic Davies is a psychotherapist and clinical sexologist at UK-based Pink Therapy. He told GSN that it was a matter of doctors being tactful when asking such questions.
‘It has been said that both erection and orgasm are independent reflex reactions. Each need a threshold of adequate mental arousal and physical stimulation.
‘If someone is having trouble in getting an erection it’s definitely appropriate to ask whether the person feels sufficiently turned on by their partner or the activities they’re doing to get an erection.
‘It’s about doing this sensitively. “Oh, you can’t get it up with your wife, do you think you’re gay?” is unlikely to be helpful. But “Do you feel sufficiently turned on by your partner, and the circumstances you’re having sex in to get aroused” might be a better way.’
GSN has contacted Dr Hackett for further comment