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Regular Intercourse Protects Against Erectile Dysfunction: Tampere Aging Male Urologic Study

Regular intercourse–at least once a week–plays an important role in preserving erectile function among men over 55 years of age, according to this study. Furthermore, the authors found a dose-response relationship between coital frequency and erectile function.


Erectile dysfunction is common among men aged more than 60 years. Its cause involves both physiologic and psychosocial factors.

To evaluate the effects of coital frequency on subsequent risk of erectile dysfunction, data were analyzed from a population-based 5-year follow-up study that was conducted in Pirkanmaa, Finland, using postal questionnaires. Assessment was based on the 5-item version of the validated International Index of Erectile Function. Men with erectile dysfunction at entry were excluded from the analysis. The study sample consisted of 989 men aged 55 to 75 years (mean 59.2 years). The most common comorbidities were hypertension (32%), heart disease (12%), depression (7%), diabetes (4%,) and cerebrovascular disorder (4%).

The overall incidence of moderate or complete erectile dysfunction was 32 cases per 1000 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI], 27-38). After adjustment for comorbidity and other major risk factors, men reporting intercourse less than once per week at baseline had twice the incidence of erectile dysfunction compared with those reporting intercourse once per week (79 vs 33/1000, incidence rate ratio 2.2, 95% CI, 1.3-3.8). The risk of erectile dysfunction was inversely related to the frequency of intercourse. No relationship between morning erections and incidence of moderate or severe erectile dysfunction was found.

Regular intercourse protects against the development of erectile dysfunction among men aged 55 to 75 years. This may have an impact on general health and quality of life; therefore, doctors should support patients’ sexual activity.

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— Juha Koskimäki, MD, PhD, Rahman Shiri, MD, PhD, Teuvo Tammela, MD, PhD, Jukka Häkkinen, MD, PhD, Matti Hakama, ScD, Anssi Auvinen, MD, PhD
This article was originally published in the July 2008 issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

2 Responses to “Regular Intercourse Protects Against Erectile Dysfunction: Tampere Aging Male Urologic Study”

  1. Regular exercise, maintaining a health weight, and, therefore, good cardiovascular health also help prevent erectile dysfunction– without medication. There are older AJM articles at on this topic.

  2. Yes, that is what this study revealed: if you have sex one or more times per week, you will be less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction.

    In addition, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, refraining from smoking tobacco, and having good cardiovascular health also help prevent erectile dysfunction.