What's Healthy, and What's Not, in Bed

Few subjects are more emotionally charged than a man's diminished sex drive. And yet, the reasons might be completely physical.
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Erectile Dysfunction

A few years ago, many of us had never even heard of "erectile dysfunction" (ED). Now it seems as if we hear about it daily. But for all the talk, the big question remains: If it happens to your man on a regular basis, should you worry? And how on earth do you talk about it with him?

While most men may experience erectile dysfunction at one time or another, it is estimated that for as many as 30 million men, ED is a chronic problem. Still, until five years ago, when Bob Dole and Viagra brought male sexual function out from under the covers, physicians say patients rarely brought up the topic. And doctors didn't ask patients about how they were faring in that department, either, largely because there wasn't a good way of treating erectile problems. But now that Viagra has become mainstream, and two new, heavily advertised ED drugs, Levitra and Cialis, have come on the market, all that has changed. Doctors say that men have become much more open about discussing ED with them -- and are willing to undergo treatment. Because women are usually the ones responsible for getting men to the doctor in the first place, doctors agree it's important for them to understand the issues surrounding ED and the possible treatments. Here, Harvey B. Simon, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and editor of the Harvard Men's Health Watch (www.health.harvard.edu), helps answer some of your questions on this touchy topic.

Continued on page 2:  Is It Erectile Dysfunction?

 

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