Breaking The Silence – It’s Time To Speak Up About Male Sexual Health

Silence is how many men handle problems. It’s almost part of the Man Code –“If it’s a problem, don’t talk about it.”  So, when it comes to the topic of sex – and sex problems – men are even more reluctant to start talking. And who can blame them?  It seems the whole world snickers at the TV ads for ED drugs. What guy is then going to turn to his friends and admit he has ‘that’ problem?

I was talking to a man in my office one day. He said he would never talk to his friends about issues with sex.  I asked him what he would do if one of his friends came to him with a sexual problem. The guy looked at me and said, “I would die laughing!”  He added, “Well, I might feel sorry for him, but heck, that’s what guys do.” (Remind me never to have this guy as a friend!)

embarrassed_man_w640Taking that first step of reaching out for help can be terrifying. If a guy is surrounded like the one I was talking to, it’s even worse!  It can be so difficult for many men to seek help, that their lives and relationships are almost in ruins before they are willing to make that first step. Self-blame, guilt, embarrassment and this blow to their manhood can be paralyzing factors. Facing the fact that they need to get help often comes only when they can’t avoid the issue any longer.

Many men will turn to the anonymity of the internet to seek help. It’s a logical place to start. The internet is full of great information.  But, this is also a perfect setup for the scams and con-artists that are waiting for desperate men to stumble onto their promise of complete restoration of sexual virility. Men are often willing to pay anything, try anything and do anything to get their sex life back. This vulnerability is exactly what the hustlers are looking for.

So, where does a guy start? Sexual issues are almost always a physiological issue, so begin with a visit to your doctor. Even if you make up a stupid reason on the phone when you make the appointment, once you get in the exam room with the doctor, you have to be honest. It doesn’t matter if it is difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection, pain or injury, ejaculation control, or something just doesn’t look or feel right. You can be sure he’s heard it all before. And, you can be sure he wants to help.

Usually a family doctor will only have rudimentary experience in sexual medicine.  He should give you a quick physical and then refer you to a urologist who specializes in sexual medicine.

But that can be an issue too. Urologists are surgeons, first and foremost. Most urologists get little to no training in sexual medicine. They are experts in kidneys, bladders, cancers and anything that requires a scalpel. It’s unfair to expect a physician who has trained for years as a surgeon, to be an expert in sexual medicine.  So, ask if there is a sexual medicine specialist in your area.

It doesn’t matter where you start, just take that first step in seeking help. The good news is that the vast majority of men I have talked to said they would never laugh at a friend who came to them for advice on sexual problems. Reaching out is the hardest step.  Ask for help. Guaranteed – no one is going to laugh.

Paul Nelson

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Paul is an AASECT certified sexuality educator and a clinical medical assistant.  He is president of the Erectile Dysfunction Foundation, and founder of, the largest online community for men’s sexual dysfunctions and maintains a private practice at  He works in New York City with Dr. Michael Werner ( as a patient/sexuality educator.  Paul is an instructor at the Institute for Sexuality Education and Enlightenment. He is an advocate for men’s reproductive health and has appeared on ABC News with Diane Sawyer, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, the BBC, and the New York Times. Paul is a member of the AUA, ISSM, AASECT, and SMSNA.

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