More MS news articles for May 2001

Men with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Want Improved Relations With Their Partners

Online survey environment elicits candid responses from men with ED; suggests best ED medications should pro-vide a greater “window”for spontaneity in relationships

April 30, 2001
Volume 1
Issue 14

In the privacy of an online survey environment, Harris Interactive found men really do want to “talk about relationships.” Our December 2000 survey of 256 men with erectile dysfunction (ED) provided a candid forum for men to sound off about what kind of help they seek for this very sensitive problem. The survey was designed to be representative of all men with ED. The study, sponsored by Lilly ICOS LLC, reveals that contrary to popular belief, men are very expressive about their personal concerns. They told us that improving sexual relations with their partner is what they most desire when seeking medication for ED. The factors men perceive as leading to this improvement include:

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability of men to attain and maintain erection of
the penis sufficient to permit satisfactory sexual intercourse.

  1. Until recently, it was one of the least discussed and most overlooked medical disorders. In the U.S. alone nearly 30 million men are estimated to have problems achieving or maintaining an erection.
  2. The frequency of ED increases with age.
  3. The self-reported prevalence of ED in men age 40 and older is 52%. By age 70 the prevalence may be as high as 67%.
  4. As the nation’s population continues to age and lives longer, the prevalence of ED in men over the age of 40 is certain to increase.
  5. Population projections for men aged 40 to 69 suggest that over 600,000 new cases of erectile dysfunction are expected annually.
  6. While erectile dysfunction increases progressively with age, it is not an inevitable consequence of aging.
What is the impact on the lives of men who experience this condition?

Respondents were asked to describe, in a two or three word phrase, what one thing they would want most from erectile dysfunction medication if it could do just one thing to improve their lives. The most desirable outcome, reported by 39% of men, would be improved sexual relations. This was followed by the ability to have quality erections, reported by another 34% of men.

One mother who recognized that problem decided to write a book to help children understand the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and cope with their parent's illness. According to an article in C-Health ( ), Caroline Courey started experiencing strange symptoms in 1992. A year later, her doctor told her she had MS.


The One Thing Men Want Most from an ED Medication

“ If a medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction could do just one thing to improve your life, please describe in a two or three word phrase what you would want that one thing to be.”
Verbatim Response %
“Improve sexual relations” 39
“Provide the ability to have quality erections” 34
“Restore confidence and self-esteem” 10

The duration in which to have sex was evaluated as one of several attributes for men to consider when assessing medication for ED. Approximately 9 out of 10 men (88%) identified this attribute as “extremely important” or “very important.” This attribute was highly correlated with several other attributes which, when taken together, reflect overall improvements in relationship quality. This suggests that the duration of therapeutic effectiveness is a potential predictor of improved, satisfying sexual relations.


Features Men Consider “Very Important” or “Extremely Important” when Choosing a Medication for the Treatment of ED

“ Here is a short list of features that a medication for ED may or may not have. Using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = Not at all important, 2 = Not very important, 3 = Somewhat important, 4 = Very important, and 5 = Extremely important, how important would you say each of the following features are to you when choosing a medication to improve your erectile functioning?”
Feature %
“Ease of getting an erection” 96
“Improvement of sexual relations with my partner” 95
“The hardness of an erection”  93
“The length of time I am able to maintain an erection” 93
“Ease of maintaining an erection” 91
“Duration of time in which to have sex (length of medication’s effectiveness)” 88

Having an adequate opportunity to participate in foreplay, or to enjoy spontaneous sexual relations, is not simply a matter of convenience to men. Judging by what respondents told us, it relates more to improving the sexual relationship. Men apparently do not like the idea of “scheduling sex” around medication use – consistent with models of sexual behavior that explain how expanding the window of sexual opportunity can also enhance the quality of relations with a partner.

Sexual dysfunction is associated with and compounded by cognitive factors such as anxiety. ED often creates mental stress that affects the interactions between men with ED and their families.

Respondents indicated that having the ability to engage in spontaneous sex with their partner would boost their confidence and self-esteem, contribute to increased intimacy, and improve their sexual relationship. An ED treatment that provides a larger window of opportunity in which to have sex with little or no required preplanning would accommodate this desire for spontaneity. Such a treatment, therefore, would also contribute to the improvement of the sexual relationships between these men and their partners – which is what is desired most by these men.

Erectile dysfunction can have a profound effect on the quality of life of aging men.

1 Impotence. NIH Consensus Statement 1992 Dec 7-9;10(4):1-31.
2 Muller C. Erectile Dysfunction. 2000. Pharmacor Mosaic Service. Decision Resources, Inc.
3 Laumann EO, Paik A, Rosen RC. 1999. Sexual dysfunction in the United States: prevalence and predictors. JAMA;281:537-544.
4 Krane RJ, Goldstein L, Saenz de Tejada L. 1989. Impotence. New Engl J Med, 321;1648.
5 Feldman HA, Goldstein I, Hatzichristou DG, Krane RJ, McKinlay JB. 1994. Impotence and its medical and psychological correlates: results from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. J Urol;151:54-61.
6 Johannes CB, Araujo AB, Feldman HA, Derby CA, Kleinman KP, McKinlay JB. 2000.
Incidence of erectile dysfunction in men 40 to 69 years old: longitudinal results from the Massachusetts male aging study. J Urol, 163:460.
7 Barlow DH. 1986. Causes of sexual dysfunction: the role of anxiety and cognitive interference. J Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 54:140-148.

Source of Data and Methodology

The survey was fielded online from December 20 through December 27, 2000. Respondents were identified through the Harris Interactive Chronic Illness Panel. The sample was designed to be representative of males in the general U.S. population who are over the age of 18 years and experience erectile dysfunction. Data are weighted by age, income, and experience with treatment medications for ED. The Harris Interactive study of men with Erectile Dysfunction was sponsored by Lilly ICOS LLC.