Background: Erectile dysfunction is common among men aged more than 60 years. Its cause involves both physiologic and psychosocial factors.
Methods: To evaluate the effects of coital frequency on subsequent risk of erectile dysfunction, data were analyzed from a population-based 5-year follow-up study that was conducted in Pirkanmaa, Finland, using postal questionnaires. Assessment was based on the 5-item version of the validated International Index of Erectile Function. Men with erectile dysfunction at entry were excluded from the analysis. The study sample consisted of 989 men aged 55 to 75 years (mean 59.2 years). The most common comorbidities were hypertension (32%), heart disease (12%), depression (7%), diabetes (4%,) and cerebrovascular disorder (4%).
Results: The overall incidence of moderate or complete erectile dysfunction was 32 cases per 1000 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI], 27-38). After adjustment for comorbidity and other major risk factors, men reporting intercourse less than once per week at baseline had twice the incidence of erectile dysfunction compared with those reporting intercourse once per week (79 vs 33/1000, incidence rate ratio 2.2, 95% CI, 1.3-3.8). The risk of erectile dysfunction was inversely related to the frequency of intercourse. No relationship between morning erections and incidence of moderate or severe erectile dysfunction was found.
Conclusion: Regular intercourse protects against the development of erectile dysfunction among men aged 55 to 75 years. This may have an impact on general health and quality of life; therefore, doctors should support patients' sexual activity.