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Oppressive silence of impotence

London, Dec. 13 (Reuters): Just the mention of the word raises eyebrows or prompts crude jokes for, despite the sexual revolution and Viagra, impotence is still a taboo subject.

It affects about one in 10 men and the numbers increase with age. But because of the sensitivity and embarrassment surrounding it, nearly 50 per cent of men do not seek advice about the problem and some suffer silently for decades.

Yet 95 per cent of cases can be successfully treated. “It has a huge effect on their feelings. It makes them feel worried or anxious and lack confidence,” Ann Tailor, the director of the Impotence Association in Britain, said. “Some men describe it as losing their identity or not feeling like a real man.”

Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, affects more than just the men’s sex lives. It influences relationships, jobs and family life. In her seven years as head of the charity, Tailor said she has spoken to thousands of men suffering from impotence, some of whom have contemplated suicide.

Interim results of an association survey of more than 3,000 impotent men showed that most suffer for two to three years before seeking help. Nearly 70 per cent of the men said they were worried or anxious about their impotence, 66 per cent were depressed and 8 per cent said it affected their jobs.

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