Psychosocial and Relationship Issues in Men With Erectile Dysfunction

Patrick J. DiMeo, BSN, RN, OCN


Urol Nurs. 2006;26(6):442-446. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects approximately 30 million American men and is an issue that should not be ignored. Understanding the psychosocial as well as the functional effects of ED is important for clinicians in their practice. Obtaining a sexual history is now recommended as part of a routine assessment. It is important to understand how ED affects men, their partners, and their lives and how clinicians can therapeutically intervene.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) can affect men of all ages. In a cohort study, 31% of men, ages 18 to 59, experienced sexual dysfunction, a term that includes eight different sexual problems including ED (Laumann, Paik, & Rosen, 1999). According to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, the probability of men, ages 40 to 70, having ED was 52%; of which 17% was minimal, 25% moderate, and 10% complete. ED is not necessarily dependent on age but as a man gets older his risk of developing ED increases. Based upon these data, approximately 30 million American men may have some form of ED (Feldman, Goldstein, Hatzichristou, Krane, & McKinlay, 1994; Laumann et al., 1999). Even though the number of men with some form of ED is significant, few go to their doctor for this issue. With the availability of sildenafil in 1998, the media attention has brought the awareness of ED to the public eye. Over 25 million prescriptions of sildenafil (Viagra®) have been written since 1998. When vardenafil (Levitra®) and taladafil (Cialis®) were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003, the surge of interest rose even further. The development of these medications demonstrates how the medical field is expanding knowledge to help men with this issue.


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