Digital Desk Staff
Research from Edelman DxI (Data and Intelligence), commissioned by global healthcare company Viatris, examining attitudes towards erectile dysfunction (ED), reveals that more than four out of five (86 per cent) of men and their partners say their quality of life has been impacted due to ED.
In addition, 70 per cent of partners in a relationship with a man experiencing ED admit to worrying about their partner’s ED and want to help them find a solution to it.
The study of 509 men and their partners living in Ireland was carried out by Edelman DXI on behalf of Viatris as part of its Talk E.D campaign.
The campaign aims to get men and their partners to talk about erectile dysfunction (ED) in an open and frank manner and to encourage men to find treatment for the symptoms of ED; instead talk to a healthcare professional.
According to the Viatris study, over half (58 per cent) of men and 54 per cent of partners questioned admit to avoiding sexual activity due to ED.
However, three quarters of men and 80 per cent of their partners believe ED is a normal part of life for men. Men experiencing ED are more uncomfortable with it than their partners, with 69 per cent of men saying it’s nothing to be embarrassed by compared to 82 per cent of partners.
However, while partners are less embarrassed by the situation, 72 per cent say it’s a subject that is difficult to address and 93 per cent say it’s a topic that people need more education on.
Jenny Keane, certified sex educator, said: “The aim of the Talk E.D. campaign is to encourage men and their partners to discuss erectile dysfunction in an open and honest way. Research shows that 72 per centof partners feel it’s a difficult subject to address1 but by starting a conversation, we can begin to destigmatise and breakdown the taboos associated with the issue.
“Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common but education brings understanding and most importantly, options. Men do not need to suffer in silence. The impact on men and their partners due to their silence should not be ignored, and it is time we begin to normalise the conversation around ED.
“Bringing up a conversation about a vulnerable topic can not only bring you closer to a partner but also help alleviate any embarrassment they might have about speaking to a healthcare professional about the condition. Treatment for ED is widely available. Any man with symptoms can speak to a pharmacist about options.”
Jenny Keane has provided her top tips in opening discussion around ED:
“Strike the right tone when you bring up the topic of ED with a partner. Make sure that what you’re saying communicates empathy and you handle the conversation carefully. Bringing up difficult conversation topics can help build trust in a relationship and bring people closer together, but you need to make sure that you approach it in the right way. Timing is everything too – a walk or an activity you are doing together in a quiet place can help to create an environment to talk about sensitive subjects like ED with your partner.
“Your sexual health is just as important as mental and physical wellbeing and learning simple and effective sexual communications tools can help you and your partner navigate difficult conversations. What I mean by sexual communication tools is talking about your desires and boundaries, speak up about what you want from a sexual experience and prioritise your partner’s wishes, desires and feelings as being as important as yours. If anyone has a partner who suffers from ED, refraining from having sex for a while can help start a conversation without the worry of performance anxiety as well.
“Understand that if your partner experiences ED, it does not have anything to do with his attraction towards you. Educating yourself about the condition will help reduce common concerns partners have so that discussions can be approached with openness rather than dissatisfaction.”
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