‘I was really struggling to get it up’: Why younger men are turning to Viagra - The Independent
Aug 04, 2022 2 mins, 51 secs

More men in their twenties and thirties are taking little blue pills for a variety of sexual ills, from erectile dysfunction to anxiety about their performance in the bedroom.

“I got to this point where I was having sex with lots of people with like a 75 per cent error rate.” James assumed the problem was just nerves.

“I felt like my penis was about to explode,” says James.

“Long-term use of Viagra can potentially increase the risk of psychological dependency and has also been associated with various problems affecting the hearing and visual systems and vision,” says Dr Shirin Lakhani, a doctor who offers specialised erectile dysfunction treatments at her private London clinic.

“Of our erectile dysfunction custom base, 9 per cent are in their twenties and 21 per cent are in their thirties,” says Abbas Kanani, an online pharmacist.

And although erectile dysfunction is still a topic that is somewhat taboo among young men, it seems to be very common.

Like James, however, young men with erectile dysfunction are not necessarily talking to their doctor about it.

“In my role as an NHS GP, I see almost no men in their twenties and thirties with erectile dysfunction,” says Dr Luke Pratsides, who also works for a commercial men’s health website.

James has never asked his doctor about the underlying cause of his erectile dysfunction – but he suspects that he is experiencing some level of performance anxiety.

Performance anxiety is a common but little discussed cause of erectile dysfunction, according to Peter Saddington, a sex therapist who works in the Andrology department at Sheffield Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

“What is painfully obvious to me is that women in their thirties obsess and revel in the minutiae of the male anatomy,” James says.

“But then I get that [erectile dysfunction] is more common as guys get older.” To her knowledge, she has only had sex with a man taking sildenafil once: a one-night stand, in which she found out afterwards from a mutual friend.

Of all the men who’d experienced erectile dysfunction, almost a third (29 per cent) said it was because they were “worried about not being able to get or maintain an erection”.

Dr Lakhani suspects that the incidence of erectile dysfunction may be “far higher than reported due to the stigma and shame surrounding sexual health problems”?

Getting a proper diagnosis for the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction is important.

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