Men's sex problems
Around 1 in 10 men experience sexual problems.
Men's sexual problems can happen at any time of life, but become more common with age.
Most sexual problems can be treated - so seek medical advice if you have concerns.
Men's sex problems include:
- Erectile dysfunction - sometimes called impotence - is a problem getting and keeping an erection for sex
- Premature ejaculation, this is coming sooner than he'd like to during sex
- Inhibited ejaculation, retarded ejaculation, when the man is slow to ejaculate
- Retrograde ejaculation, where the ejaculation goes into the bladder instead of out of the penis
- Less interest in sex, loss of sex drive or libido.
What causes men's sexual problems?
Men's sex problems may be due to:
How are men's sex problems diagnosed?
A doctor will ask about symptoms, review a man's medical history and may carry out a physical examination.
A GP or sexual health clinic may be able to make a diagnosis - or a referral may be made to specialists for further assessments, tests or treatment.
Specialists who may help with men's sex problems include:
- Urologists, who specialise in the urinary tract and reproductive system
- Endocrinologists, who specialise in conditions affecting hormones
- Neurologists, who specialise in the body's nerve networks
- Sex therapists or counsellors
- Mental health specialists.
What tests are used to diagnose men's sex problems?
Diagnostic tests for men's sex problems include:
- Blood tests, to identify any hormone problems, such as low testosterone, and any undiagnosed medical problems, such as diabetes
- Checking blood flow to the penis for any blockages or restrictions
- Nerve checks, for any loss of sensation, such as complications of diabetes
- Night-time penis rigidity tests, to check if natural erections that happen at night are stronger than a man may experience while awake, which may suggest psychological causes.
How are men's sex problems treated?
Treatment will depend on what's found to be causing the problem.
Approaches may include:
- Treating underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to sex problems
- Medication, injections, gel, or pellets to improve erections
- Hormone treatment to correct any imbalances, such as testosterone replacement therapy
- Psychological therapy, counselling or sex therapy, to discuss issues and help with anxiety or stress around having sex, which may involve the man's partner
- Mechanical devices to help create erections, including vacuum devices or penile implants.
Can men's sex problems be cured?
In many cases treatment can address sex problems - but the success of treatment will depend on the causes and the approach taken.
Can men's sex problems be prevented?
Men's sex problems can't always be prevented, but there are steps that can be taken to help maintain a healthy sex life by looking after health in general.
- Sticking to alcohol guidelines
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding recreational drug use
- Avoiding stress, relaxing more
- Talking to a partner about concerns or problems.