Are early and current erectile problems associated with anxiety and depression in young men? A retrospective self-report study

J Sex Marital Ther. 2012;38(4):349-64. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2012.665818.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) has been extensively studied in the past few decades, and significant advances have been made in understanding its etiology. Most cases of this type of dysfunction have an organic etiology, and ED occurs primarily in older men. However, relatively little is known about erectile problems in young men or about the interconnection between psychiatric symptoms and ED etiology. In this study, the authors investigated ED symptoms in a large, population-based sample of 18-48-year-old men. Participants reported ED symptoms from their first intercourse experience as well as those occurring at present. The authors assessed the association between reported ED symptoms during early partnered sexual experiences and present ED symptoms. Furthermore, the authors investigated associations between age, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and erectile problems. Results indicated that age was a significant predictor of ED problems already in young age groups. ED problems were prevalent to a much higher extent during early sexual intercourse experiences and appeared to pass with time for most men. Anxiety and depression were significant predictors of present erectile problems. Implications of the results and potential limitations were discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Coitus / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Diseases in Twins / diagnosis
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology
  • Diseases in Twins / psychology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / psychology*
  • Finland
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult