Eroticization as a factor influencing erectile dysfunction treatment effectiveness Academic Article uri icon


  • We review both the medical and psychosocial literature on factors influencing male potency in order to better understand why erectile dysfunction (ED) treatments, PDE5 drugs in particular, are abandoned when otherwise effective. We incorporate anecdotal data from websites and list serves dedicated to helping patients deal with iatrogenic ED. Our goal is to distinguish between ED treatments that are medicalized versus eroticized, and how partner participation may influence their effectiveness. Recently it has been shown that ED treatment effectiveness is aided by the involvement of the patient's partner. This permits an erotic association between the partner and the ED 'aid'. We extend this idea to suggest that having the partner involved as early as possible in the discussion of treatment, and their presence at the time of prescription, should improve ED aid effectiveness. Eroticization of ED aids shifts the focus from a perceived disability of the patient toward the sexual pleasure provided by the partner. We further suggest that ED aids used without the partner's knowledge will undermine intimacy and ultimately the treatment's effectiveness. Unpartnered patients should be advised about the importance of informing potential partners about their use of such aids, as openness and honesty may increase intimacy in the long run.

publication date

  • 2013