Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve an erection long enough to have satisfactory sexual intercourse and premature ejaculation is defined as a condition where a man ejaculates too quickly during sexual intercourse; they are the two most common types of sexual dysfunction.

As with most subjects related to sexual dysfunction, problems in the bedroom department tend not to be freely shared among men and as a result, there are many myths that surround the subject. The intention of this article is to expose the myths and confirm the facts.

Both these conditions result in the men who are suffering, along with their partners, being unable to have a pleasurable sex life and so in order to address this issue it is important to have the facts and not be sidetracked by the myths.

So let us look at the myths and facts surrounding erectile dysfunction:

Erectile dysfunction is not a serious problem

This is probably one of the most widely held beliefs about erectile dysfunction and it is definitely a myth. If a man is suffering from ED it may be a sign of a far more serious health condition including hypertension (high blood pressure), heart and vascular disease and diabetes.

For this reason, it is extremely important for a man who has started to experience erectile dysfunction on more than a rare occasion to seek advice from your GP who will be able to investigate the cause. Remember, there is no room for embarrassment when your life may be at stake.

Erectile dysfunction is a man's problem

As partners of men who suffer from ED will know only too well, it is not just the man’s problem and that this statement is a myth. Without the comfort of closeness an intimate relationship can bring, the partner may feel rejected and unattractive, which may lead to them suffering from depression. The relationship is then likely to suffer as a result.

Erectile dysfunction is only suffered by older men

It is true that erectile dysfunction becomes more common as a man gets older, however, it can also be a problem in younger men so this is a myth. Some underlying health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and stress can be the cause in younger men but the use of recreational drugs and above all, smoking tobacco are likely to be major contributors to ED in younger men.

Men who have ED do not experience sexual desire

This is definitely a myth. Libido or sexual desire is driven by sex hormones so the fact that a man suffers from ED does not necessarily make any difference to their ability to feel desire. What is true is that suffering from ED may make a man less inclined to get informed in any type of sexual contact for fear of not being able to perform

If a man has trouble achieving an erection he is suffering from erectile dysfunction

This is part fact and part fiction in that most men, at some point in their lives, will not be able to ‘get it up'. There are many issues that may cause this including stress, fatigue, personal problems. If this does not persist for too long or only occurs on the odd occasion, it is not classed as erectile dysfunction. If it is a regular occurrence and is long term then it is considered to be erectile dysfunction.

If you suffer from erectile dysfunction your sex life is over

The truth of the matter is that ED affects most men at some time in their lives. There is a wide variety of different treatments available these days and the medical profession is also far more enlightened as to how to treat the problem. There is no reason to live your life without enjoying a sexual relationship and so this statement is a myth.

Viagra is the only treatment for ED

As we have just briefly touched on, there is now a wide variety of different treatments available to treat ED. Small lifestyle changes such as losing weight, getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and giving up smoking are all good ways to improve ED and are a good place to start before embarking on treatment via medication.

Also, your doctor can look for any underlying disease which may be causing the problem; if present, these conditions can be treated and so the ED can resolve itself in that way. Other options to be considered are oral and topical medication, mechanical devices, surgical procedures and counselling therapies. 

Oral medication for ED such as Viagra or Cialis gives a man a continuous erection until the effects have worn off

This is a myth. Oral medication for ED is designed to facilitate an erection but it must be accompanied by sexual stimulation. Unless a person is aroused then the medication will not work.

There are herbal treatments for ED so it is not necessary to see a doctor

There are no herbal ED treatments that have sufficient scientific research to back up any claims. In addition, they are not controlled by the MHRA (Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Agency). It is important to remember that herbal medicine can interfere with other medication you may be taking so it is important to seek advice from your GP before taking any.

Erectile dysfunction is all in the mind

It is true that depression and performance anxiety can lead to erectile dysfunction but the fact is that the majority of cases of ED have physical causes therefore, this is a myth.

Treatment for ED must be provided by a specialist practitioner

This is both myth and fact. The best place to start if you have ED is with your primary healthcare practitioner or GP who is perfectly capable of performing all preliminary investigations. Once the causes of the ED have been determined then only if required, the GP can give a referral to a specialist. Otherwise, they can advise on appropriate treatment.

Wearing tight underwear causes erectile dysfunction

This is a myth. Whilst weathering tight underwear has been linked to infertility because it can raise the temperature at which the sperm are kept inside the testicles, there is no proven association between tight underwear and ED.

Let us now look at the myths and facts surrounding premature ejaculation:

Not many men experience premature ejaculation

This is a very big myth as PE is extremely common and most men will have to deal with it to some extent during their life. The reason why many men do not realise how common the problem is that sexual dysfunction tends not to be openly discussed between peers and it is unlikely that you have heard any friends complain about suffering from it!

Ejaculation is something that cannot be controlled

The fact about this is that men can learn to control when they ejaculate in a similar way that a child does toilet training, learning to control their bladder.

Once learned, it is a habit that a man is unlikely to forget.

PE is purely psychological

This is a part myth and part truth statement in that there can be psychological elements associated with PE, many causes are physical, for example, having an oversensitive penis which will result in them having a low ejaculatory threshold.

Premature ejaculation will not influence long term erection problems

The fact about this is that men who are able to control their ejaculation are less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction and in actual fact, premature ejaculation can be an early sign of erectile dysfunction.

Premature ejaculation will not affect your sex life

This is most likely a myth in that a man is far less likely to relax and enjoy a sexual encounter if he is worried about ejaculating too soon. In addition, the partner is most likely not being satisfied by the sexual encounter and so may avoid sexual contact and intimacy.

PE will not affect a man’s self confidence

Any problem that can impact self image is likely to affect self confidence and being comfortable socialising with other people. Once a man has learned to control his ejaculation it is likely that his self esteem will rise which in turn is likely to improve his ability to socialise.

PE is a result of having low testosterone levels

This is a common myth and has likely arisen as a result of the age old belief that lasting a long time in bed is a very masculine thing to do and so must be a result of having good levels of testosterone. The fact is that there is no link between testosterone levels and PE.

If you are unable to last as long in bed as a porn star then you must be suffering from PE

What is true is that pornography has created a false reality for many people. In reality, pornography is entertainment and not reality. Porn stars train for long periods in order to improve their sexual longevity for the camera.

PE can be cured with Viagra

As a rule, using Viagra to help treat PE is not effective and in actual fact, working with a sex therapist or seeing a urologist is more likely to help.

If you suffer from premature ejaculation it happens all the time

This is a myth because in actual fact, PE is situational in that it may occur with one lover but not another or may occur with a lover one time but not the next.

Men with PE are plagued with anxiety

This is a myth and the fact is that anxiety levels in men with PE are in the same range as anyone else.

Premature ejaculation decreases with age

This is a myth and the fact is that the incidence of PE remains relatively constant from being a teenager until a man is in his fifties. The incidence then increases quite sharply before it settles down again.

Men believe that PE is difficult for their partners to handle

The truth is that women are far less stressed about their partners PE than they are about the stress being felt by their partner at their own inability to sustain the sexual experience.

Men have PE if they ejaculate within two minutes of penetration

The actual length of time a person lasts before ejaculating is more associated with a person's own expectations and fixating on the length of time the intercourse lasts misses the point. The issue is not the duration of the experience but lack of control over the timing which makes this statement a myth.

Excessive masturbation causes premature ejaculation

This is a myth. The truth is that masturbation is used as a method of treating premature ejaculation.

Premature ejaculation is more common in men who are sexually inexperienced

There is some truth to this in that being nervous and excited can result in premature ejaculation. However, this is not always the case as many men have the problem while being in an established relationship.


The shame and embarrassment that surrounds sexual dysfunction deters many men from seeking the help that is available; the fact is it appears that they would rather suffer in silence.

You are now equipped with the facts and so it is time to stop procrastinating and time to visit the doctor. Most types of sexual dysfunction can be treated and so it is definitely worth putting embarrassment to one side and seeking advice. Help is out there so go for it!