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Condoms not the cause of erection issues

Men with persistent difficulty may require "condom skills education."

By
Stephen Feller
Researchers said men who experience erectile dysfunction when using condoms may be the problem, not the condoms themselves. Photo by bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock
Researchers said men who experience erectile dysfunction when using condoms may be the problem, not the condoms themselves. Photo by bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Men who have hard time maintaining an erection while wearing a condom were shown to have erectile difficulties whether or not they had one on, according to a new study.

Although previous studies have looked at erectile issues tied to condom use, many of those studies did not consider other potential conditions, as well as the possibility that men were putting them on wrong. Psychological issues also should be considered when it comes to difficulty maintaining an erection.

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In those studies, researchers said, about 16 percent of men under 40 had some type of problem when using a condom, with another finding that erectile difficulty lasted in the first minute of sexual activity when wearing a condom but that the men quickly recovered.

"The more common experience of occasional erectile problems suggests that situational factors may play an important etiologic role," researchers wrote in the study, which is published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. "Use of male condoms may be one example of a situation that predisposes some men to experience erection difficulties."

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Researchers recruited 479 men between the ages of 18 and 24 for the study, asking them to complete the 5-question International Index of Erectile Function survey online.

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Of the men, 38 percent said they had no erectile problems while using a condom, although 37.1 percent reported have some type of erectile problem at least once in their lives when using one. Of those who had a problem, 14 percent said it occurred while putting the condom on, 16 percent said it was during intercourse, and 32 percent said it occasionally happened during application and sex.

Within the group of participants, more than two-thirds did not meet the clinical definition for erectile dysfunction, leading researchers to consider problems to either be situational or psychological. If a man loses his erection while putting a condom on once, researchers said, he may worry about it in the future and cause the problem himself.

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"Although the erection problems may not meet clinical criteria for erectile dysfunction, clinicians should assess whether men using condoms experience condom-associated erection problems and where appropriate, refer for psychosexual therapy or provide condom skills education," the researchers wrote.

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