General Erectile Functioning among Young, Heterosexual Men Who Do and Do Not Report Condom-Associated Erection Problems (CAEP)

J Sex Med. 2015 Sep;12(9):1897-904. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12964. Epub 2015 Aug 17.


Introduction: Condom-associated erection problems (CAEP) are an underestimated factor related to inconsistent or incomplete male condom use. The underlying mechanisms of CAEP are not understood, and whether men who report these difficulties are also likely to experience erectile problems in situations when condoms are not used has not been studied.

Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate, in a sample of condom-using young, heterosexual men (aged 18-24 years), whether men who report CAEP are more likely to (i) have erection problems when not using condoms and (ii) meet criteria for erectile dysfunction.

Methods: A total of 479 men recruited online completed the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) and answered questions about erection problems experienced when using and not using condoms during the last 90 days. Demographic, sexual experience, and health status variables were investigated as correlates.

Main outcome measures: Self-reported frequency of erection loss during condom application or during penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) in the past 90 days and IIEF-5 scores.

Results: Of the men, 38.4% were classified in the no CAEP group, 13.8% as having CAEP during condom application, 15.7% as having CAEP during PVI, and 32.2% as having CAEP during both condom application and PVI. Men reporting any form of CAEP were significantly more likely than men reporting no CAEP to also report erection difficulties during sexual activity when not using condoms. Men who reported CAEP during PVI only or during both application and PVI scored significantly lower on the IIEF-5 than men without CAEP.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that men who report CAEP are also more likely to experience more generalized erection difficulties. Clinicians should assess whether men using condoms experience CAEP and where appropriate, refer for psychosexual therapy or provide condom skills education.

Keywords: Condom-Associated Erection Problems; Condoms; Condoms for Penile-Vaginal Intercourse; Sexual Arousal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Arousal
  • Coitus
  • Condoms / adverse effects*
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Penile Erection / psychology*
  • Safe Sex
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology*
  • Vagina
  • Young Adult