The year was 2009. The pandemic was H1N1. And the raison d’être for men going to see their dick doctor was concerns over why their damn dick was going limp, or why said limp dick was splooging before it was even erect. Men, however, have pivoted. The year is 2020. The pandemic is coronavirus. And their sexual concerns have a lot less to do with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation — instead, they want to know why they’re never really in the mood to fuck, or why their dick is shaped like a curled pube.
That’s according to a massive new study out of the Raffaele Hospital Sexual Health Clinic in Milan, where scientists questioned 3,244 male visitors over a 10-year period (2009 to 2019). “They found that the number of patients visiting with erectile dysfunction problems increased from 2009 to 2013, then started to decrease,” reports News-Medical.net. “There were comparatively few patients complaining of low sex drive or Peyronie’s disease [a significant and painful bend in a person’s erection] in 2009, but complaints about both of these conditions grow from 2009 to the end of the study. In 2019 men were around 30 percent more likely to report Peyronie’s disease than in 2009, and around 32 percent more likely to report low sexual desire.”
The study’s authors attribute the changing concerns of men to “greater openness, and men now accepting that many sexual problems can be treated, rather than being something they don’t want to talk about,” per the same News-Medical.net report. The researchers also attribute the wide availability of ED drugs like Viagra and Cialis, along with easy access to over-the-internet treatments for premature ejaculation like Roman Swipes (benzocaine wipes formulated to reduce overstimulation), as potential reasons why there’s such stark differences in what concerns men today when they attend sexual health clinics.
“Erectile dysfunction is still the main reason for attending the clinic, but this number is dropping, whereas around 35 percent of men attending the clinic now complain of Peyronie’s disease, and that number has shown steady growth,” lead researcher Paolo Capogrosso told Medical-News.net. “Our patients are also getting younger, which may reflect a generational change in attitude to sexual problems.”
All of which is a net win for the male gender, which has historically been far too afraid of being labeled unmanly for admitting that they’re not necessarily a constant walking erection. Interestingly, this development appears to coincide with a lot of other recent news with regard to how much less sex — young men in particular — are having. Just last month, a study from researchers in Stockholm, the U.S. and the U.K. found that, amongst U.S. adults between 2000 to 2018, “sexual inactivity rose from almost 19 percent to almost 31 percent among men ages 18 to 24.”
“Sexual inactivity among women of the same age remained relatively constant, rising from 15 percent to 19 percent over the same time period,” reports Healthline.com. “The study also found that sexual activity declined significantly among men and women ages 25 to 34 years old (7 percent versus 14 percent among men, 7 percent versus 12 percent among women).”
According to the same study, even amongst men who were having sex, the frequency had also declined. “The data is that people are having less sex,” Helen Fisher, who studies love and sex and co-directs Match.com’s annual Singles in America survey, told The Atlantic in 2018. ‘I’m a Baby Boomer, and apparently in my day we were having a lot more sex than they are today!”
In the same article, writer Kate Julian notes that one explanation for the decline in sexual activity can be attributed to the increase in masturbation. “From 1992 to 2014, the share of American men who reported masturbating in a given week doubled, to 54 percent, and the share of women more than tripled, to 26 percent,” she writes. “Easy access to porn is part of the story, of course; in 2014, 43 percent of men said they’d watched porn in the past week.”
But there are other reasons, too. For one, according to the Swedish/American/British study, “men with lower income and with part-time or no employment were more likely to be sexually inactive.” And since millennial men are amongst the poorest generations in years, it’s not a stretch to say that those same men aren’t exactly jonesing for sex.
Ironically, dating apps, which were supposed to proliferate “hookup culture,” have, to some extent, done the opposite, according to Julian. Still, the researchers from the study out of Milan want to be clear that it’s too soon to jump to any conclusions based on their findings alone. “They do not indicate any change in the prevalence of these conditions, what they show is why men came to the clinic,” Capogrosso told News-Medical.net. “In other words, it shows what they are concerned about. The changes probably also reflect the availability of treatments; as treatments for sexual conditions have become available over the last few years, men are less likely to suffer in silence.”
Which again, is nothing short of progress.