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Perceptions and opinions of men and women on a man's sexual confidence and its relationship to ED: results of the European Sexual Confidence Survey


The European Sexual Confidence Survey examined the opinions of men and women on the link between a man's sexual confidence and functional (erectile and orgasmic) and emotional (satisfaction and self-confidence) aspects of sex and life in general. The online survey of sexually active adults (25–64 years of age) was conducted in 12 European countries using multiple-choice questions and predefined statements on sexual confidence. Erectile function was assessed by erection hardness score (EHS). Of 8576 respondents (4246 men, 4330 women), 23.9% reported non-optimal erectile hardness (EHS3) for themselves or their partners. 79.0% believed that an ability to sexually satisfy their partner is most closely linked to a man's sexual confidence. One in three linked a man's sexual confidence to erection hardness and ability to reach orgasm. The majority (94.0%) believed that it is important for a man to be sexually confident for good sex and that being able to have good sex enables men to have greater satisfaction with life overall. Lack of sexual confidence due to insufficient erection rigidity was considered by most respondents (65.0%) to reduce a man's confidence about the next sexual encounter and also his self-confidence and self-esteem overall.

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The authors would like to thank Brian Larkin and Mandira Ray of Double Helix Ltd London, UK for assistance in conducting the study, Sarah Bowen, a contractor employed by Pfizer Global Research and Development Ltd, Sandwich, UK for performing analysis of the data, and Jamie Ashman, PhD of Prism Ideas CH GmbH, Basel, Switzerland for providing editorial support in the preparation of the manuscript. This study and editorial support for the preparation of the manuscript were funded by Pfizer.

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Correspondence to C San Martín.

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Competing interests

Carlos San Martín has acted as a consultant or speaker for Lilly, Bayer and Pfizer. Chiara Simonelli has acted as a consultant for Boehringher Ingelheim and as a consultant or speaker for Lilly, Bayer, Takeda, Abbott and Pfizer. Jens Sønksen has acted as a consultant or speaker for Lilly and Pfizer. Gabriel Schnetzler has acted as a consultant for Pfizer and was previously an employee of Pfizer. Seema Patel is an employee of Pfizer.

Additional information

Parts of the study have been presented at the 12th Congress of the European Society for Sexual Medicine, 15–18 November 2009, Lyon, France (Abstract PO-03-030).

Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on International Journal of Impotence Research website

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San Martín, C., Simonelli, C., Sønksen, J. et al. Perceptions and opinions of men and women on a man's sexual confidence and its relationship to ED: results of the European Sexual Confidence Survey. Int J Impot Res 24, 234–241 (2012).

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  • erectile dysfunction
  • erection hardness
  • health surveys
  • quality of life
  • sexual confidence
  • sexual satisfaction

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