Feminist men report higher rates of erectile dysfunction medication use than non-feminist men, according to new research published in The Journal of Sex Research.
“I have research interests in both masculinity and sexuality,” said study author Tony Silva, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia. “Previous research has shown a connection between concerns about masculinity, on one hand, and use of erectile dysfunction medication, on the other, so I wanted to further investigate this topic to see what other factors may be related to the use of erectile dysfunction medication.”
The study examined data provided by 1,015 cisgender men for the 2018 Sex in Canada survey. As part of the survey, the participants were asked whether they had used any medications designed to help them attain or maintain an erection during their last sexual encounter. The survey also asked “Do you consider yourself to be a feminist?”
The researchers found that feminist men were more than twice as likely to report the use of erectile dysfunction medication than non-feminists. Approximately 7.7% of men who didn’t consider themselves to be a feminist reported using erectile dysfunction medication, compared to 18.1% of men who did consider themselves to be a feminist. Approximately 10.6% of men who were “unsure” reported using erectile dysfunction medication. Feminist men also reported significantly more difficulty getting or maintaining their erection compared to non-feminist and unsure men.
Silva and his colleague also uncovered other variables that were associated with the use of erectile dysfunction medication. Those who reported more frequent religious attendance and those who reported using alcohol before or during were more likely to use erectile dysfunction medication. Single men were less likely to use erectile dysfunction medication compared to their widowed, divorced, or separated counterparts, and Asian men had substantially lower odds of erectile dysfunction than white men.
But the statistical association between feminist identification and use of erectile dysfunction medication held even after accounting for these variables and others, such as age, education, political orientation, and sexual health status.
“I think the main takeaway is that our research suggests that feminist identity may shape sexual behaviors, in addition to attitudes about gender equality,” Silva told PsyPost.
But it is unclear why there is a relationship between feminist identification and erectile dysfunction treatment. It is possible that male feminists experience higher levels of erectile dysfunction for some reason. However, it is also possible that men who identify as feminists experience similar rates of erectile dysfunction compared to other men, but are more likely to honestly report their experiences.
“Our research established a connection between feminist identity and reported use of prescription erectile dysfunction medication, but more research needs to be done to know exactly why this connection exists,” Silva explained. “Men’s concerns about masculinity are one possible explanation, but other factors need to be investigated as well. For instance, future research could ask about men’s attitudes about sex and feelings toward their partners, in addition to men’s understandings of their masculinity.”
The study, “Men’s Feminist Identification and Reported Use of Prescription Erectile Dysfunction Medication“, was authored by Tony Silva and Tina Fetner.