While the subject itself is often considered taboo, erectile dysfunction is actually far more common than most men would like to believe. While it isn’t usually serious, it can be embarrassing, inconvenient and frustrating – especially when it happens in the heat of the moment! Most men are embarrassed by erectile dysfunction, and when brought up it’s usually accompanied by a certain level of shame or self-depreciation. This association makes it difficult to understand the true extent to which it affects men across the UK.
So how common is erectile dysfunction? How likely are men to experience it, and are some men more vulnerable to it than others? To find out, we asked 1,000 men across the UK how often they struggle with erectile dysfunction during sexual encounters.
Our findings: a summary
Looking for quick facts? Here are our main findings:
- Erectile dysfunction is incredibly common in the UK, with well over half of men stating that they experience it (58.2%).
- And a quarter experience it during more than half of all their sexual encounters (27.3%).
- 3 in 4 men between the ages of 25 and 34 experience erectile dysfunction (74.6%), making them the most vulnerable age group in the UK. They are also the most likely to experience it frequently, with 40% saying they struggle for an erection more than half of the time.
- Under half of men above the age of 55 struggle with erectile dysfunction (49.9%), making them the safest age group in the UK.
- More than 2 in 3 men in Greater London say that they struggle with impotence (67.7%), although the region of Greater London prescribes the second least number of erectile dysfunction medications in the UK, only issuing an average of 59.1 prescriptions per 10,000 people per month.
- The CCG of Blackpool has the highest prescription rate for erectile dysfunction drugs in the UK, prescribing them 112.1 times per 10,000 people per month in 2022.
- The North East and Yorkshire is the region with the highest prescription rate, prescribing impotence medication an average of 78.5 times per 10,000 people per month.
The question: what we asked
To find out how often men across the UK experience erectile dysfunction, we used Censuswide to ask 1,000 men across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland how often they struggle to achieve an erection during sex. We then separated respondents into locations and age groups to determine whether these factors could affect the rates of erectile dysfunction in the UK. We asked:
How often, if ever, have you experienced difficulty getting or maintaining an erection prior to or during a sexual encounter?
- Every sexual encounter (100% of the time)
- Most sexual encounters (61-99% of the time)
- Around half of sexual encounters (40 – 60% of the time)
- Some sexual encounters (11-39% of the time)
- On rare occasions (1-10% of the time)
- This has never happened to me (0%)
- Prefer not to say
How often do men experience erectile dysfunction in the UK in 2022?
So, how often do men in the UK experience erectile dysfunction? Here’s what we found:
- Well over half of all men in the UK struggle to achieve an erection during sexual encounters (58.2%).
- And more than 1 in 4 experience erectile dysfunction more than half of the time (27.3%).
- 1 in 20 UK men struggle for an erection during every single sexual encounter (5.2%).
- While 1 in 5 men say that they do experience erectile dysfunction, but only rarely (19.8%).
- 1 in 3 men in the UK have never experienced erectile dysfunction (32%), and 1 in 10 prefer not to say (9.8%)
At what age are men more vulnerable to erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a condition that any man can experience, but there’s no doubt that some adults can be more susceptible to it than others. How much does age affect the prevalence of erectile dysfunction across the UK? To find out, we separated our survey respondents into age groups from 16-24 up to 55+.
- The most vulnerable age group is 25 to 34, with 3 quarters experiencing erectile dysfunction during sexual encounters (74.6%).
- Additionally, 40% of men of the same age experience impotence during more than half of these encounters.
- And as many as 8.5% of 25 to 34 year olds struggle to achieve an erection every single time. That’s 3.3% more than the UK average!
- The second most vulnerable age group to experience frequent erectile dysfunction is young adults, with 1 in 3 16-24 year olds (33.1%) experiencing impotence during over half of all sexual encounters.
- The safest men are 55 or above, experiencing erectile dysfunction with under half struggling with impotence at all (49.9%), and less than 1 in 5 (18.2%) experiencing it more than half the time.
- They are also the most likely to be private about their sexual experiences, with 1 in 7 preferring not to answer (13.4%).
- Adults between 35 and 44 are more likely to be open about their experiences with erectile dysfunction, with only 1 in 20 respondents being unwilling to answer (6%).
Where in the UK does erectile dysfunction pose the biggest problem?
Erectile dysfunction can originate from a number of factors such as mood, stress level, insomnia and distractions. So what about weather and city noise? Can location affect susceptibility to erectile dysfunction? To find out, we separated our respondents into their locations by region and city across the UK.
- Londoners are the most vulnerable men in the UK, with over two thirds of respondents in Greater London claiming they experience erectile dysfunction at least occasionally during sex (67.7%).
- However, men in Yorkshire and the Humber are the most likely to experience infrequent impotence, with over a third claiming they do struggle with erections, but during less than half of their sexual encounters (36.7%).
- Only 42.9% of men in Northern Ireland experience erectile dysfunction, 13.5% under the average of 56.3%.
- Men in Northern Ireland are also the most likely to keep their sexual experiences private, with 1 in 5 preferring not to answer (19%).
- Men in the city of Norwich are more vulnerable to frequent impotence than anywhere else in the UK, with 1 in 10 stating they experience erectile dysfunction during every single sexual encounter (10.8%) and over a third experiencing it more than half of the time (35.1%).
Which areas of England prescribe the most medication for erectile dysfunction?
In light of our findings, we used Open Prescribing to analyse prescription data across each CCG in the UK in 2022. We found that:
- Doctors in Blackpool prescribe more erectile dysfunction medication than any other CCG in England, distributing 112.1 prescriptions per 10,000 people per month in 2022, almost twice the UK average of 66.1!
- It’s closely followed by the CCG of Barnsley, which prescribes these drugs 92.8 times per 10,000 people every month.
- The area least likely to issue prescriptions for erectile dysfunction is the CCG of the Herts Valleys, prescribing medication only 44.4 times per 10,000 people per month.
We found clear differences in prescription rates between regions across England. Generally, CCGs in the North are more likely to issue prescriptions for erectile dysfunction medications.
- The region of the North East and Yorkshire has the highest prescription rate for erectile dysfunction medication in the country, prescribing it an average of 78.5 times per 10,000 people each month.
- The second highest rate is claimed by the North West, which prescribes erectile dysfunction drugs 74 times per 10,000 people.
- Despite having the highest rate of erectile dysfunction in the country, Greater London issues the second least number of prescriptions in the UK – an average of only 59.1 prescriptions per 10,000 people per month!
- The lowest demand for erectile dysfunction medication in England is experienced in the South East, which issues a monthly average of only 58.9 prescriptions per 10,000 people.
Which UK cities are more interested in erectile dysfunction treatments?
Getting a prescription for erectile dysfunction is a process that involves talking to a doctor about potentially embarrassing problems. Because of this, prescription data may not tell the whole story about how many men need these medicines across the UK. To find out how many people are looking into erectile dysfunction medication, we used Keyword Finder to analyse Google search data for each of the four drugs available to treat impotence: Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Vardenafil and Avanafil. We then collected these results, divided them by the population of each city and multiplied the figure by 10,000 to find out each city’s average monthly searches for erectile dysfunction medication per 10,000 people.
|Rank||Town/City||Average monthly searches for erectile dysfunction medications per 10,000 people|
- Nearly half of the top ten cities searching for erectile dysfunction medication are in the North West: Wigan, Stockport, Preston and Bury.
- On top of this, half of the lowest ten cities are in the South: Weston-super-Mare, Poole, Luton, Southampton and Bracknell.
- Walsall has the highest demand for erectile dysfunction medication in the UK, with people searching 32.8 times per 10,000 people per month, more than double the average of 13.3.
- The city with the fewest problems with erectile dysfunction in the UK is Leeds, with people searching a mere 2.2 times per 10,000 people per month.
What are the UK’s favourite solutions for erectile dysfunction?
Thankfully, there are plenty of treatments available for sufferers of erectile dysfunction around the globe. We wanted to find out which treatment is the most popular in the UK: to do this, we used Keyword Finder to analyse average monthly Google search rates for the treatments ‘Sildenafil’, ‘Tadalafil’, Avanafil’, ‘Vardenafil’ and ‘Penis Pump’ across the UK in 2022.
- Sildenafil – otherwise known by the brand name Viagra – is the most popular erectile dysfunction treatment in the UK, amassing 44,200 searches per month in 2022.
- That’s nearly twice as many monthly searches as Tadalafil, its closest competitor (25,800).
- Penis pumps are the third most popular impotence solution, with people in the UK searching for them an average of 20,100 times per month.
- People search for Avanafil only 720 times per month across the UK, making it the least popular solution for erectile dysfunction.
More facts & figures about erectile dysfunction
Looking for more? Here are some extra facts about erectile dysfunction.
- Viagra generated $497 million in revenue in 2019 alone. While that’s still a huge number, it’s $1,554 million less than Viagra’s peak of $2,051 million in 2012.
- Before Sildenafil was developed in 1989, erectile dysfunction was treated by administering testosterone.
- Erectile dysfunction is usually caused by stress, anxiety, exhaustion or alcohol consumption.
We hope that our data has helped give you a better understanding of erectile dysfunction and the ways it affects the population. For more information about erectile dysfunction and other health conditions, check out our blog.