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Recreational use of erectile dysfunction medication may decrease confidence in ability to gain and hold erections in young males


We aimed to estimate the frequency of recreational use of erectile dysfunction medication (EDM) and to identify any adverse effects on confidence in gaining and holding erections resulting from such use. In addition, we explored differences in erectile function and sexual behavior between recreational and medicinal users of EDM to control for the possibility of recreational users having but not admitting erectile dysfunction. A subset from the Genetics of Sex and Aggression population-based sample of 4428 males with a mean age of 29.51 (s.d.=6.77) years provided information on their use of EDM, erectile function during first intercourse and currently, sexual behavior and confidence in their ability to gain and hold erections. There were 2.6% (n=115) recreational and 0.9% (n=39) medicinal users of EDM. Recreational users had currently significantly lower confidence in their erectile ability than non-users even though they had significantly better erectile function and significantly more unrestricted sexual behavior as well as had more confidence when initiating sexual activity. More frequent use of EDM was associated with significantly less confidence in erectile ability among the recreational users. We conclude that recreational users of EDM may be vulnerable for becoming psychologically dependent on pharmacologically induced erection.

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Correspondence to P Santtila.

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Santtila, P., Sandnabba, N., Jern, P. et al. Recreational use of erectile dysfunction medication may decrease confidence in ability to gain and hold erections in young males. Int J Impot Res 19, 591–596 (2007).

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  • iatrogenic sexual dysfunction
  • erectile dysfunction
  • erectile dysfunction medication
  • sildenafil
  • confidence in erectile ability
  • recreational use

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