Young men with condom-associated erection problems (CAEP) often have erection issues without condoms, according to new research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
For some men, condoms interfere with the erection process. They may need more time or more stimulation to get a firm erection. Or, they may find that the condom becomes uncomfortable during intercourse, which might make it difficult to keep the erection.
In some cases, CAEPs deter men from using condoms altogether, raising their risks for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) along with a partner’s risk for unplanned pregnancy.
Researchers from the United States and United Kingdom wanted to know whether young men with CAEPs also have erection problems when not using condoms. And if so, would these problems be classified as erectile dysfunction (ED)?
They recruited 479 heterosexual men between the ages of 18 and 24 (mean age 20 years) who were not in monogamous relationships. Past research has shown that condom use becomes less frequent when couples become exclusive.
The men completed the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), a questionnaire designed to assess men’s erections. They also answered questions about their condom use and any erection problems with or without condoms.
Just over 38% of the men reported no CAEPs. Almost 14% had CAEPs when putting on a condom. About 16% said they experienced CAEPs during intercourse. And 32% had CAEPs both when putting on the condom and during intercourse.
Those who had any form of CAEP were more likely to also have erection issues when they were not using condoms. They were also more likely to have mild to moderate erectile dysfunction when compared to those without CAEPs.
It’s possible that a man’s first experience with CAEPs might make him especially anxious about maintaining an erection in any sexual situation, with or without a condom.
Sex therapy or education about condoms might help men with CAEPs, the researchers noted. They pointed out that in this study, 37% of the men who used condoms had never learned how to use them correctly.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Sanders, Stephanie A., PhD, et al.
“General Erectile Functioning among Young, Heterosexual Men Who Do and Do Not Report Condom-Associated Erection Problems (CAEP)”
(Full-text. First published online: August 17, 2015)