Johannesburg - Stressful lives, worries about money and young families are all contributing factors to more younger men presenting with erectile dysfunction.

This is according to Dr Etienne Kok, Pharma Dynamics’s sexual health adviser and sexual health physician.

“A lot of men under the age of 40, without admitting this to themselves, suffer from anxiety and depression. In today’s modern world, we also see that the roles of men and women have changed, with more women being successful in their careers and also more demanding in their relationships,” he said yesterday.

This, Kok said, led to men feeling pressure to perform not only in general life but in their relationships as well. And when the men failed to perform sexually, they felt like failures as men, leading to a cycle of “performance pressure”.

An indicator of the sexual dysfunction is that a man cannot develop or maintain an erection during sexual activity.

Increasingly, sedentary lives contributed to erectile dysfunction. But more worrying was that the condition might be an early indicator of cardiac diseases, as erections were reliant on good blood flow to the penis, and clots or blockages in the arteries affected not only the penis but other organs in the body, he added.

According to Men’s Clinic International, the largest group of erectile dysfunction clinics in the country, 65 percent of men with heart disease will have erectile dysfunction.

“The population is unhealthy. We don’t exercise and have poor diets. People with type II diabetes will most likely have problems with sustaining erections.”

Kok described the societal pressures many men feel as “burdens on the penis”, and until they were addressed, either emotionally or psychologically, the penis would not rise.

“The consumption of alcohol and use of drugs are also an added weight on the penis,” Kok said.

“We live in a society where a man has to always be ready to provide the female with pleasure, and an erect penis is thought of as a sign of attraction, but there are other ways to please and other ways which can ease the performance pressure,” he added.

Kok advised that women with partners living with erectile dysfunction be more supportive and not, as in most cases, think their partner had been unfaithful.

“Also, women shouldn’t think they aren’t good enough in bed or feel insecure, but should rather support him in getting help and not ridicule the man for needing to be on medication,” he said.

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The Star