"I'll look it up on the Web first": Barriers and overcoming barriers to consult for sexual dysfunction among young men

Swiss Med Wkly. 2010 Jun 12;140(23-24):348-53. doi: 10.4414/smw.2010.12968.


Questions under study: Our aim was to identify the barriers young men face to consult a health professional when they encounter sexual dysfunctions and where they turn to, if so, for answers.

Methods: We conducted an exploratory qualitative research including 12 young men aged 16-20 years old seen in two focus groups. Discussions were triggered through vignettes about sexual dysfunction.

Results: Young men preferred not to talk about sexual dysfunction problems with anyone and to solve them alone as it is considered an intimate and embarrassing subject which can negatively impact their masculinity. Confidentiality appeared to be the most important criterion in disclosing an intimate subject to a health professional. Participants raised the problem of males' accessibility to services and lack of reason to consult. Two criteria to address the problem were if it was long-lasting or considered as physical. The Internet was unanimously considered as an initial solution to solve a problem, which could guide them to a face-to-face consultation if necessary.

Conclusions: Results suggest that Internet-based tools should be developed to become an easy access door to sexual health services for young men. Wherever they consult and for whatever problem, sexual health must be on the agenda.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Confidentiality
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / diagnosis*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology*