Men's sexual health: removing shame and stigma

A new report has found more than 70% of Australian men feel stigma and reluctance to treat intimate health issues.

By Dr Ben Condon, David Sullivan, Erin Ewen for Citro partner Pilot

A new report says the health system needs to foster stigma-free opportunities to allow men to prioritise their health.

Pilot is a digital healthcare clinic committed to elevating Aussie men's health, recently published a new report, garnering international attention. 

The report detailed findings from a nationally representative survey, aimed to shed light on the often-overlooked aspects of men's intimate health, with a focus on dismantling stigmas and encouraging open conversations.

 In this article, we'll delve into the key findings of the report, emphasising the importance of Pilot's mission in fostering a stigma-free environment for men to prioritise their health. You can read the full report here

Confronting taboos

Pilot commissioned a report with YouGov that surveyed over 1000 Australians, confronting the persisting taboos surrounding men’s intimate health, including erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, mental health and porn consumption.

Both men and women were surveyed to give a nationally representative perspective on men’s intimate health and explore the difference between men’s and women’s expectations in the bedroom. 

Statistics show that: 

  • One in 2 Aussie men experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives 
  • One in 3 Aussie men suffer from premature ejaculation at some point in their lives 
  • One in 8 men experience depression 
  • Men account for 7 out of every 9 suicides in Australia. This is double the annual road toll.
  • One in 5 men experience anxiety 
  • 17.5% of Aussie men aged 14 and over have used illegal drugs within the past year

Performance and mental wellbeing

The report highlights the intricate relationship between sexual performance and mental health — an inability to perform can leave men feeling distressed, anxious and inadequate. 

46% of male respondents admit feeling bad about themselves because they haven’t lasted as long as they wanted. 

However, only 6% of women say they have intentionally been hard on their partner for this reason. Men are clearly being too harsh on themselves. 

This disconnect emphasises the need for increased awareness and open conversations about the broader impact of intimate health on men’s mental health. 

Porn: expectations versus reality

With one in 3 Australian men watching porn at least once a week, the report explores the impact of this widespread habit on sexual expectations. 

While 63% of men believe porn either positively affects their performance or has no impact at all, women's perspectives differ, with 33% expressing concerns about its negative effects. 

When it comes to sexual stamina, expectations are high. Typically, men last, on average, 5.5 minutes from penetration to ejaculation. 

35% of men and 34% of women responded that men should be able to last more than 10 minutes during sex. 

This divergence in views emphasises the often unreasonable expectations held by both men and women when it comes to men’s performance in the bedroom and further demonstrates the need for more research on the influence of porn on sexual performance. 

Substances and their impact

Pilot's report addresses the impact of lifestyle factors on men's intimate abilities. Notably, 22% of men admit to experiencing sexual performance issues after taking recreational drugs (excluding alcohol, tobacco and caffeine). 

This lines up with the female experience, with 24% of Australian women saying they have had a sexual partner experiencing performance issues after taking recreational drugs. 

This sheds light on a crucial aspect often overlooked in discussions about men’s mental health. 

Reluctance to seek medical advice

‍Traditionally, men are hesitant to seek medical advice, and Pilot’s report confirms this reluctance. 

A staggering 71% of men avoid consultations for intimate health concerns, with barriers including embarrassment, a preference for online research and advice instead of going to a health professional, and the belief that nothing can be done.

These findings underscore the societal barriers reinforcing the stigma surrounding men's health. 

Medical literature supports this, with evidence suggesting that Aussie men are stereotypically stoic and reluctant to seek out medical help. 

Pilot's report serves as a catalyst for change in the conversation around men's intimate health. 

The report not only identifies the challenges but also underscores the urgency of creating stigma-free spaces for men to prioritise their well-being. 

As Pilot expands its reach and offerings, Aussie men have a valuable resource to turn to for expert medical and mental health support, making it clear that it's time to break the silence and prioritise men's intimate health.

The information on this page is general information and should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Do not use the information found on this page as a substitute for professional health care advice. Any information you find on this page or on external sites which are linked to on this page should be verified with your professional healthcare provider.

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