Erectile Dysfunction Comes Out of the Closet

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgWhen you think of a Viagra ad, what do you picture? A middle aged couple dancing a tango and putting the zing back into their marriage? It goes without saying that it's a heterosexual couple, though, right? Keep the scenario the same, but imagine it with two guys. That's the premise of a new online support community - that gay men get ED too.

Most people assume the average Viagra user to be a straight male. You only hear about gay men using Viagra in the context of partying - using Viagra as a recreational drug, often in combination with ecstasy or amyl nitrite (poppers).

But gay men get erectile dysfunction for the same reasons heterosexual men do: prostate cancer, low testosterone, diabetes, and other physiological or psychological conditions, including normal aging. And for various reasons, including gay culture's emphasis on youth and sexual performance, this can present challenges to getting support or treatment. A lot of money and energy has gone into education and treatment for STDs among gay and bisexual men, but ED has largely been overlooked as a gay men's health issue. The site says that ED is "one of the least discussed and least treated conditions among gay men." is a side project of Malecare, a men's cancer support and advocacy group. Malecare has been around since 1998, but the Gay ED site is brand new, so there's not a lot there yet. Will gay men come out of the closet with ED? Keep an eye on the site and find out.