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Sexual Dysfunction in Male College Students. David Mellinger, MD Duke University And Steven Kraushaar, PsyD Washington Univ in St. Louis. Objectives. Describe the relevant parts of the history and physical examination in a male with sexual dysfunction

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Sexual Dysfunction in Male College Students

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Sexual dysfunction in male college students

Sexual Dysfunction in Male College Students

David Mellinger, MD

Duke University


Steven Kraushaar, PsyD

Washington Univ in St. Louis



  • Describe the relevant parts of the history and physical examination in a male with sexual dysfunction

  • Compare the available medications used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction in terms of selection

  • Discuss various psychological interventions in treating males with sexual dysfunction

Premature ejaculation pe

Premature Ejaculation (PE)

  • Ejaculation that occurs sooner than desired

  • Loss of control over ejaculation and

  • Causes distress to either one or both partners

What is too soon

What is too soon?

  • All agree Intravaginal Ejaculatory Latency Time (IELT) of less than 60 seconds is PE

  • Most agree that less than 120 seconds is PE

  • May be dependent on culture and expectation

Perceived normal time to ejaculation

Perceived Normal Time to Ejaculation

Montosori, J Sex Med (2005); 2 (suppl 2): 96-102

Overlap in ielt distribution

Overlap in IELT Distribution

Patrick, et. al, J Sex Med (2005); 2: 358-67

Premature ejaculation

Premature Ejaculation

  • Epidemiology

    • Most common form of sexual dysfunction

    • Prevalence Rates vary from 4-39% ; most general studies in 21-31% range

    • Rates generally not affected by age, marital status, race, or country of residency

Disconnect between diagnosed and reported prevalence of pe

Disconnect Between Diagnosed and Reported Prevalence of PE

  • Male patients don’t often “spontaneously” offer up this problem as a complaint

  • Clinicians don’t inquire about this common condition

More on the disconnect

More on the Disconnect

  • Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors

    • 9% of men reported that they had been asked about their sexual health by an MD during a routine visit in the last 3 years

    • 48% of men believe that an MD should routinely ask about sexual health concerns

Why don t patients report pe

Why don’t patients report PE

  • Embarrassment

  • Do not “medicalize” the problem

  • Perceive that their provider is not able or willing to address the problem

Why don t provider s ask about pe

Why don’t Provider’s Ask about PE

  • Lack of provider comfort in discussing sexuality issues

  • Lack of provider knowledge about PE

  • Low prioritization by medical system of PE

    • No physical comorbidities

    • Time pressure

  • No FDA approved treatment options

What causes pe

What Causes PE

  • Exact etiology not fully known

  • Combination of Physiologic and Psychological Factors

  • Primary PE – “more” neurophysiologic while acquired PE “more” psychological or related to a medical condition

Behavioral theories of pe

Behavioral Theories of PE

  • Learned Behavior Conditioned from Early Sexual Experiences (Masters and Johnson)

  • Role of Anxiety

Pe s impact on men

PE’s Impact on Men

  • Symonds et. al study*

    • 68% said their confidence generally or in a sexual encounter affected – low “self-esteem”

    • 50% had relationship issues – reluctant to form new relationships or were distressed not satisfying current partner

    • 36% reported being anxious

*Symonds et. al., J Sex Mar Ther (2003); 29: 361-370

Important aspects of history

Important Aspects of History

  • Age at onset of disorder

  • Frequency of PE (Consistent or Intermittent)

  • Circumstance(s) when PE occurs

  • Estimate of Intravaginal Ejaculatory Latency Time (IELT)

  • Any other sexual problems (e.g. ED)?

  • How has it affected your relationship(s)?

  • How has it impacted your sense of well-being?

Physical examination and tests

Physical Examination and “Tests”

  • Physical exam is not helpful in diagnosing condition except in some secondary cases where neurologic conditions or prostatitis are entertained

  • No laboratory test available to confirm the diagnosis

  • Can consider psychological tests to assess for anxiety disorder

Treatment for pe

Treatment for PE

  • Treat underlying cause (e.g. infection) if found

  • Pharmacologic Interventions

  • Behavioral interventions

Pharmacologic interventions

Pharmacologic Interventions

  • Topical anesthetics

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

  • Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors

Topical anesthetics

Topical anesthetics

  • Mode of Action: Desensitize penis and therefore increase IELT

  • Example: Lidocaine/prilocaine cream

  • How to use: Apply to penis 20-30 minutes prior to intercourse, wash off before sex

  • Potential problems

    • Loss of pleasurable sensation for male and partner

    • Contact skin reaction or allergy

Sexual dysfunction in male college students


  • Mode of Action: presumed to act via neurotransmitters involved to inhibit ejaculation

  • Example: Clomipramine

  • How to use: Can take on as needed basis before intercourse or continuous basis

  • Potential problems

    • Side effects

    • Doses and regimens not standardized (Not FDA approved)

Daily vs as needed clomipramine

Daily vs As Needed Clomipramine

  • In a study* of on demand (OD) clomipramine use in men with PE, 3 factors predicted likely success of OD use

    • Men with IELTs of greater than 60 seconds

    • Men with higher self-reported sexual satisfaction

    • Men who ejaculated 2 or more times per week

*Rowland et. al., Int J Imp Res (2004); 16: 354-357



  • Mode of Action: Acts centrally through serotonin receptors in inhibiting ejaculation

  • Example: Paroxetine

  • How to use: Can take OD, on a continuous basis, or a combination of both

  • Potential problems

    • Side effects

    • Doses and regimens not standardized (Not FDA approved)

Oral therapies

Oral Therapies*

*From Amer Urol Assn Guideline, J Urolog (2004); 172: 290-294

Pde 5 inhibitors

PDE-5 Inhibitors

  • Mode of Action: ?

    • having higher cGMP levels might prolong nitrous oxide (NO) effect by delaying ejaculatory emission

    • Prolong erections – may reduce performance anxiety since have improved erections

  • Example: Sildenafil

  • How to use: 25-100 mg 1 hour before sex

  • Potential problems

    • Limited benefit in many studies

    • Side effects

    • Expense

Comparison of oral medications

Comparison of Oral Medications

  • Multiple studies proving efficacy in delaying IELT in many SSRIs and TCAs

  • For the SSRIs, paroxetine seems to work the best, with sertraline and fluoxetine close behind

  • Although more efficacious in some studies, almost twice as many adverse effects reported with clomipramine compared with SSRIs

  • The evidence for sildenafil is the weakest, particularly without concurrent erectile dysfunction

Which option s for patient

Which Option(s) for Patient

  • Consider co-morbidities

    • e.g. atopic dermatitis, anxiety

  • Side effects

  • Expense

  • Ultimately a shared decision between patient and provider

Erectile dysfunction ed

Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

  • “the consistent or recurrent inability of a man to attain and/or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual performance”*

*First International Consultation on Erectile Dysfunction, WHO, 1999

Prevalence of ed

Prevalence of ED

  • 5-35% of men have moderate to severe ED

  • Men’s Attitudes to Life Events and Sexuality (MALES) study found prevalence of 16%, 22% in US

  • In the MALES study 8% of men in their 20s reported ED

Epidemiology of ed

Epidemiology of ED

  • Age dependent disorder

  • Rate depends on how it is defined

  • Expect the rates will increase as awareness of the condition improves

What causes ed

What causes ED

  • Overall it is a neurovascular phenomenon

  • Sexual stimulation leads to

    • Parasympathetic nervous system enhancement of production of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)

    • Smooth muscles relax and blood flows into the penis

    • Filling of the penis, compresses outflow of blood via the veins

Anatomy of an erection

Anatomy of an Erection

Causes of erectile dysfunction

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

  • Physical Causes

    • Vascular (leading cause)

    • Cavernosal

    • Neurologic

    • Hormonal Causes

  • Psychological Factors

Evaluation of patients with ed

Evaluation of Patients with ED

  • Sexual history

    • Onset of Symptoms

    • Duration of Symptoms

    • Circumstances when ED occurs

      • Problems with having an erection

      • Problems with maintaining an erection

    • Libido

    • Concurrent premature ejaculation

Medical history in patients with ed

Medical History in Patients with ED

  • Any comorbidities?

    • CV disease, Diabetes, Depression, Alcoholism

  • Smoker?

  • Pelvic surgery, radiation, or trauma?

  • Neurologic disease?

  • Other endocrine problems?

  • Recreational or prescribed medication use?

Medications known to cause ed

Medications Known to Cause ED

  • Many medications linked to ED

    • Antihypertensives (thiazide diuretics and beta blockers)

    • Antidepressants

    • Hormones

Physical examination

Physical Examination

  • Blood Pressure Measurement

  • Testicular Exam

  • Exam of Penis

  • Vascular and Neurologic Exam if indicated

Laboratory exam

Laboratory Exam

  • Consider Testosterone if decreased libido

  • Older patients (or others where indicated) do lipid panel and fasted blood glucose

  • Targeted tests in select patients

    • PSA

    • Prolactin

Treatment of ed

Treatment of ED

  • Identify and Treat Organic Comorbidities and other risk factors

  • Counsel and Educate the Patient and Partner

  • Identify and Treat any Psychosexual Dysfunctions

  • Medications and Devices

  • Surgery



  • Lifestyle modifications

    • Weight loss

    • Increase Exercise

    • Smoking Cessation

Sexual dysfunction in male college students

Improvement in ED of Ex-smokers

Age Groups, Years

ED Grade 30-3940-4950-60

Pourmand, et. al. BJU Int (2004), 94: 1310-13

Older treatments

Older Treatments

  • Intracavernosal Injection

  • Vacuum Constriction Devices

  • Intraurethral Alprostadil Suppositories

  • Inflatable Prosthesis

  • Vascular Surgery

Oral drug therapies

Oral Drug Therapies

  • Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE-5) Inhibitors

    • Sildenafil (Viagra)

    • Tadalafil (Cialis)

    • Vardenafil (Levitra)

  • Yohimbe

Use of pde 5 inhibitors

Use of PDE-5 Inhibitors

  • All three similarly effective

  • 75% of men on medications have satisfactory erection to complete intercourse

  • No large head-to-head trials to compare the 3 available medications

  • Some patients prefer one over the others

Sexual dysfunction in male college students

Comparisons of Available Medications*

*Moore, et. al. BMC Urol (2005); 5:18

Sexual dysfunction in male college students

Comparison Of Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE-5) Inhibitors

*Based on average price reported

What to tell patients about pde 5 inhibitors use

What to tell patients about PDE-5 Inhibitors Use

  • Still require sexual stimulation to have erection

  • Sildenafil’s absorption may be reduced by foods – especially fatty foods

  • Expect maximal efficacy in 1 hour (2 hours after tadalafil)

  • First few doses may not be successful – try 6-8 times before giving up

Side effects

Side Effects

  • Headache

  • Indigestion

  • Flushing

  • Nasal congestion

  • Blue hue to vision



  • Not to use with nitrates (including amyl nitrate)

  • Not to use if severe CV disease

  • Cautious use of vardenafil if has prolonged QT

  • Care if on alpha blocking agents – may cause significant hypotension

Follow up


  • Recommended for all patients

    • Efficacy

    • Side Effects

    • Any significant change in health status (including new medications)

Why treatment failures

Why Treatment Failures

  • Food or Drug interactions

  • Timing of Dose

  • ?Maximal Dose

  • Lack of Sexual Stimulation

  • Heavy Alcohol Use

  • Relationship Problems

Yohimbine for ed

Yohimbine for ED

  • Derived from the bark of the yohimbine tree in Central Africa

  • Traditionally used to treat all forms of impotence

  • Believed to work through the Central Nervous System

  • An alpha2 adrenoreceptor blocker

Yohimbine for ed1

Metaanalysis shows yohimbine superior to placebo (Odds ratio of 3.85)*

Relatively safe medication

Low cost

Amer Urol Assn does not recommend its use at this time

Yohimbine for ED

*Ernst, Pittler; J Urol (1998); 159: 433-436

The mental health perspective

The Mental Health Perspective

Premature Ejaculation

Erectile Dysfunction

College Health

Sexual history

Sexual History

  • In addition to intake process

  • First awareness of and feelings about anything he considers related to sex

  • Childhood curiosity and exploration

  • Masturbation, including age of first experience, fantasies

  • Student’s socialization based on attitudes and behaviors of family or other significant figures

Sexual history 2

Sexual History (2)

  • Religious teachings about sexual behavior

  • The Coming Out Process

  • Dating History – “Losing virginity”

  • Relationships vs. “hook-ups” or “fuck buddies”

  • Sexually transmitted infections

  • Sexual experiences initiated by others/abuse

  • When specifically sexual difficulties began

Premature ejaculation1


  • Conventional Treatments

  • “Stop-and-start” technique Semans (1955)

  • “Squeeze Method” Masters and Johnson (1970)



  • Some couples don’t want to interrupt sex after starting.

  • Some students don’t have partners and some partners unwilling to squeeze the penis

  • Techniques viewed as mechanical

  • The focus is on physiological processes and neglect psychological dimensions such as affective communication and sexual pleasure.

Functional sexological treatment

Functional-Sexological Treatment

  • First Goal of treatment: Keep the man’s sexual excitement at a level of intensity below that which sets off ejaculation.

  • Achieved by modulating sexual excitement, by monitoring sexual stimulation as well as managing breathing and the muscular tension deriving from sexual activity.

  • (de Carufel, François and Trudel, Gilles (2006) 'Effects of a New Functional-Sexological Treatment for Premature Ejaculation', Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy ,32:2,97 — 114)

Hypothetical case example

Hypothetical Case Example

  • 21 y/o gay Chinese-American (Joe)

  • Referred by medicine due to difficulty maintaining an erection

  • Serious relationship ended 3 months ago, but they still share a suite

  • Low self-confidence, career indecision, interpersonal anxiousness

  • Mood 6/10 Denies SI or HI

Erectile dysfunction


  • Normal to have occasional difficulty achieving an erection

  • Men often feel emasculated and ashamed

  • How could “it” have happened to me?

  • Solitary or infrequently occurring erection difficulty does not mean that a man has a sexual dysfunction.

    (Morris, 1998)

Erectile dysfunction 2

Erectile Dysfunction (2)

  • Cultural expectations

  • Fears and Myths

  • “Men are taught that their essence is linked to their penis; it is not enough to just have a penis but you must have a big one that stands ready at all times to perform spectacular sexual feats.”

    (Morris, 1998)

Sensate focus

Sensate Focus

  • The cornerstone of sex therapy

  • Helping a couple to focus on sensation rather than performance

  • Structured and flexible

  • Homework

  • Concerns regarding homework discussed in couples session

    Masters and Johnson (1970, 1986)

College health

College Health

  • Male reluctance to seek help

  • “Sturdy Oak” Manliness = Not needing help

  • “The Stud” – “hook-ups”

  • Its just a sprain

    Brannon (1976)

Men s health clinic

Men’s health clinic

  • Collaboration, Collaboration, Collaboration

  • Effective referrals

  • Men’s slots



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