The evolution of sexual dysfunction in young men aged 18-25 years

6 min


Premature ejaculation (PE) and erectile dysfunction (ED) are common male sexual dysfunctions. However, very few studies have considered these conditions among younger men; some believe that such conditions only affect older men.

The authors of the current paper previously found that 29.9% of 18-25 year old Swiss men report ED and 11.4% report PE.

Given the age of these men it is possible that lack of sexual experience may have contributed to this relatively high prevalence and that these conditions may therefore improve over time (with presumably more experience).


To examine how sexual dysfunction evolves in young men, and to determine the predictive factors for this evolution and the differentiating characteristics between those who continue to report sexual dysfunction and those who do not.


A prospective cohort study was conducted in two Swiss military recruitment centres (mandatory for all Swiss men aged 18-25 years). Two surveys were administered: a baseline survey and a follow-up 15 months later.

The final sample was required to have completed both surveys and to be sexually active; 3700 men met these criteria. The main outcome measures were self-reported PE and ED.

PE and ED were analysed separately using the same method.

Independent variables (smoking, alcohol misuse, cannabis use, drug use, medications use, BMI, depression, mental health problem, physical health problem, employment status, number of previous sexual partners, age at first intercourse, age at baseline) were first tested separately with PE and ED using a chi-square test of independence (called bivariate analyses).

Any variables that were found to have a significant independent relationship with the outcome variable were then entered into a model together while controlling for age and duration of sexual experience using logistic regression (called multivariate analysis).


Overall, 43.9% of young men who reported PE and 51% of those who reported ED at baseline continued to report it at follow-up. Further, 9.9% developed a PE problem and 14.4% an ED problem within the 15 month timeframe.


The findings of this paper suggest that PE and ED are significant problems among young men. While half of the men reported their condition/s to resolve spontaneously over time, it remained for others.

The authors suggest that health professionals routinely inquire about sexual dysfunction when taking a psychosocial assessment in young men. They can also reassure them that PE and ED are often associated with sexual inexperience* and, in most cases, will resolve in time.

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