Men's views on causes and consequences of erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation in a primary care population: a qualitative study.

To explore men's views on the causes and consequences of two common sexual dysfunctions - erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation - and how this affects physical and mental health as well as social life and intimate or close relations.

A qualitative design with semi-structured interviews using open-ended questions was employed. Individual interviews were conducted, audio recorded and transcribed, and a qualitative content analysis of the text was performed.

Informants were recruited from an outpatient primary care clinic in Sweden that offers consultation about sexual health to primarily younger men, age 20 years and above.

A total of 18 participants were included in the study, ten with erectile dysfunction and eight with premature ejaculation or both.

Using the content analysis, different views and strategies of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation were presented to illustrate a range of perceptions.

The main theme emerged as 'Striving to understand and deal with the problem', which was divided into four categories: 'Reasons for seeking healthcare', 'Own perceptions/images about the problem and its cause', 'Experienced consequences on sex life' and 'Relationship qualities'.Participants experienced their problems in relation to a partner. Feelings of shame and fear of not being fit for desired sexual practices were common. They thought that underlying physical illness or previous sexual activities could have caused their problems. Decreased sexual desire and low self-esteem were seen as consequences, and participants wished for both medical treatment and counselling as support.

Sexual dysfunction impairs general health and relationships with partners. While counselling is the basic treatment, those who are offered pharmaceutical treatment need follow-up concerning effectiveness and potential concerns.

People with sexual dysfunction may have decreased quality of life and poorer somatic and mental health in general.People with sexual dysfunction may have few places to turn to in a traditional primary health care setting.The participants expressed concerns about their physical health, their relationships with partners and motivation for treatment.Men’s visits to primary care for sexual dysfunction provides opportunities to talk about lifestyle and relationships and discover other illnesses.

Scandinavian journal of primary health care. 2024 Mar 31 [Epub ahead of print]

Elin Gahm, Magnus Peterson, Kjerstin Larsson

Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden., Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Health Equity and Working Life, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.