HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Genital Image, Sexual Anxiety, and Erectile Dysfunction Among Young Male Military Personnel

Article

This study assesses male physical self-image in military personnel aged 40 or younger.

Abstract

More than a third of young military personnel report experiencing some level of erectile dysfunction (ED). Preoccupation with body image, particularly genitals, is a distraction that can influence sexual anxiety (SA) and sexual functioning problems (SFPs), particularly ED. This study assessed the relationships between male genital self-image (MGSI), SA, and ED in a sample of male military personnel age 40 or younger. As hypothesized, greater satisfaction with MGSI was predictive of significantly lower SA (F[8, 352] = 4.07, P = 0.001) and lower ED (F[8, 352] = 13.20, P = 0.001). Lower levels of SA were predictive of lower levels of ED (F[8, 354] = 21.35, P < 0.001). Additionally, results also revealed a significant indirect effect of MGSI on ED through SA (b = −0.07, standard error = 0.03, confidence interval = [−0.14,−0.02], P < 0.05), indicating mediation of MGSI on ED via SA. This study underscores the complex etiologic basis of SFPs, particularly ED, and highlights the importance of considering psychologic contributors to ED, such as SA and MGSI. Strategies aimed at reducing SA may be useful in improving ED in young military populations and are worth considering as complements to strategies that improve SFPs.

Full Reference

Wilcox, S. L., Redmond, S. and Davis T. L., 2015. Genital Image, Sexual Anxiety, and Erectile Dysfunction Among Young Male Military Personnel. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, doi: 10.1111/jsm.12880.