Millions of men suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) and the figures are likely to increase as a result of an ageing population and the rise in obesity, diabetes and other health problems associated with ED. Psycho-social factors including mental health challenges are also driving the increase in erectile issues.

Around half of men over the age of 40 will experience. ED and there is evidence that it is becoming more common in younger men, with one study reporting that more than a quarter of new ED cases are now diagnosed in men under 40.3

However, shocking as these statistics are, they fail to illustrate the way intimacy issues can erode relationships and undermine a man’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

Now new research commissioned by Eroxon® — the first clinically proven topical gel which helps men achieve an erection within 10 minutes4 — lays bare the emotional impact of ED and the hidden heartbreak it can bring. The new real-world research data shows that two-thirds (67%) of men with the condition feel a sense of shame or embarrassment. Seven in 10 (69%) find it difficult to discuss their intimacy issues with a health professional and more than half (55%) struggle to talk to their partner about their problems, or avoid the subject altogether.

“This is worrying on several levels,” says GP and TV media medic, Dr Hilary Jones. “We know that being able to open up to a partner is hugely important in terms of trust and also to manage and ameliorate the stress and anxiety commonly triggered by ED. Without transparency and honesty, there is a danger that intimacyissues will gnaw away at the relationship, sowing seeds of doubt and insecurity on both sides.

“Talking to a partner is often the first step towards seeking help and resolving issues, and given the link between ED and other serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes, it could also lead to the diagnosis of an underlying issue.”

Dr Catherine Hood, specialist in sexual medicine and psychosexual therapist and a member of Eroxon® ED Information Panel (EEDIP) – – says, “Physical and emotional intimacy are intertwined, and studies show that emotional intimacy increases sexual desire and love-making — and this is associated with physical and mental health benefits for both partners.

“Emotional intimacy also provides a degree of insulation from daily stress and anxiety and this enhances our sense of well-being and self-confidence. However, when this sense of togetherness is weakened it not only undermines our sense of self, it also makes us more vulnerable to external stressors and challenges.

The Emotional Impact of Erectile Dysfunction. Breaking the Silence

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is often portrayed as a physical condition, but its emotional toll is equally significant, yet often overlooked. Beyond the physiological aspects, the psychological ramifications can be deeply distressing and challenging to navigate.

Understanding the Emotional Impact of Erectile Dysfunction

We recently attended an event with Dr Hilary Jones, Dr Janine David and Dr Jeff Foster adding clarity to the problems and issues surrounding this bedroom health condition. The event focused on the very latest research and real-world data around ED, its impact on health and relationship areas, including mental health, together with the very latest innovations from Eroxon® – the first clinically proven over the counter (OTC) topical ED therapy that helps men achieve a fast erection to help bust this bedroom health problem.

Initial Shock and Denial

Receiving a diagnosis of ED can be a profound shock, particularly for those who associate their masculinity and self-worth with their sexual performance. Denial often follows, with individuals attempting to rationalise the issue or brushing it aside, hoping it’s a temporary problem. However, this stage can also be fraught with anxiety, as the realisation sets in that something is amiss with one’s body.

Dr Janine David, a specialist in men’s and women’s health and a member of the Eroxon® ED Information Panel (EEDIP) says: “Worryingly, the number of men suffering from ED is likely to increase as a result of an ageing population and the rise in obesity, diabetes and other health problems associated with ED”.

Feelings of Inadequacy and Loss of Self-Esteem

As ED persists, men may question their virility, attractiveness, and worth as sexual partners. This can lead to a deep sense of shame and embarrassment, often driving individuals to withdraw from intimate situations altogether. The fear of rejection or disappointing their partners weighs heavily, creating a cycle of anxiety and avoidance.

GP and TV media medic, Dr Hilary Jones says: “There’s also the fact that many men with untreated ED say it has made them feel less of a man. Men of any age can be left feeling weakened and undermined particularly if they hold more traditional views around masculinity and gender stereotypes.”

Impact on Intimate Relationships

Erectile dysfunction doesn’t just affect the individual; it reverberates throughout intimate relationships. Partners may feel confused, frustrated, or even blame themselves for their inability to arouse desire or satisfaction. Communication breakdowns are common, as both parties struggle to address the issue openly and supportively. Intimacy can become strained, leading to feelings of distance and isolation within the relationship.

Dr Jeff Foster, GP, men’s health specialist and a member of the Eroxon® EEDIP explains: “Good communication is the bedrock of any relationship, and it’s particularly important for couples dealing with ED because it immediately dispels any doubts about infidelity and minimises any feelings of insecurity. This fosters better understanding of each other’s concerns and needs.”

Mental Health Consequences

The mental health implications of erectile dysfunction are profound. Depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness can become pervasive, impacting all aspects of life, not just sexual intimacy. The constant worry about performance can lead to a cycle of stress, exacerbating the problem and perpetuating a negative feedback loop.

Dr Hilary Jones adds: “It makes for sad reading as the mental wellbeing of so many men are being impacted by ED, which undoubtedly will have a knock-on effect on so many other areas of their lives. Clearly, it’s not just affecting them physically.”

Seeking Support and Solutions

Acknowledging and addressing the emotional impact is the first step toward healing. Seeking support from healthcare professionals, therapists, or support groups can provide a safe space to express feelings and explore coping strategies. Couples therapy may also be beneficial in rebuilding trust, fostering open communication, and finding alternative ways to connect intimately.

Embracing Alternative Forms of Intimacy

Exploring alternative forms of physical and emotional connection can reignite intimacy and strengthen bonds within relationships. This might include sensual massage, cuddling, or simply spending quality time together without the pressure of performance.

Destigmatising the Conversation

Breaking the silence is crucial in fostering understanding, empathy, and support. By destigmatising the conversation, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive space for those affected to seek help without shame or judgment. Education and awareness play a vital role in challenging societal norms and promoting acceptance of diverse sexual experiences and challenges.

Moving Forward with Hope

While erectile dysfunction can feel overwhelming, it’s important to recognise that it’s a common condition with various treatment options available. From medication and lifestyle changes to therapy and support networks, there are pathways to managing and overcoming ED. By confronting the emotional impact head-on and seeking support, individuals and couples can reclaim their sense of agency, intimacy, and overall well-being.

Eroxon® is a clinically proven topical gel for the treatment of mild, moderate and severe ED – available over the counter and without prescription in the UK & Ireland. Eroxon® is available from Boots,, Superdrug, from the pharmacy counter at Tesco and Asda and all leading pharmacies plus Amazon with a Recommended Retail Price of £24.99 for 4 single use applications.

So, let’s break the taboo and support one another in our quest for emotional and sexual well-being.