Male Sexual Dysfunction

Definitions and Statistics

Impotence is defined as the inability to obtain and/or sustain an erection that is satisfactory for sexual intercourse. It is estimated that 30-35 million men in the United States suffer from this problem. You are not alone. Every man above age 40 or 45 has had some problem with erections on occasion and no man over 50 performs as he did when he was 19 or 20. We cannot run as fast, we cannot exercise as long nor can we have the erections we once did.

Most sexual dysfunction is caused by a physical problem. We formerly believed that psychological problems were the primary cause. More recently, sophisticated testing and research has shown that the majority of cases are physical in etiology. Causes of male sexual dysfunction include blood vessel disease, neurological diseases such as spinal cord problems, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and diabetes.

Sexual dysfunction is diagnosed by a detailed history, a physical exam, and by laboratory studies which for the most part are painless and non-invasive.

The treatment of male sexual dysfunction depends upon patient and partner desires or needs and the degree of dysfunction. Treatments available include injection therapy, oral medication, vacuum devices, and penile prosthetics.

The Female Partner of a Patient With Male Sexual Dysfunction

The female partner of a patient with sexual dysfunction may blame herself for the problem. She may fear that her partner finds her unattractive, is no longer interested in her, or may be going elsewhere. Discussion about the realities and causes of sexual function helps allay these fears.

If you have sexual dysfunction, you are not alone. You can successfully be treated regardless of the cause or severity. Do not hesitate to discuss your problem. Treatment is available for you. You do not have to be impotent.