Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common sexual complaint among men. Some studies indicate that as many as 1 in 5 men experience ED, and the likelihood of experiencing erectile dysfunction increases as we age, such that most men, if they live long enough, will experience ED at some point in their lives.
Despite the commonness of this problem, and the ever present marketing by erectile dysfunction drug manufacturers, finding people who experience ED who are wiling to speak openly about their experience is tough.
Most of the erectile dysfunction forums and websites online are produced by companies trying to sell one kind of erectile dysfunction treatment or another. The legitimate companies have flashy looking sites, the fly by night companies have more shoddy looking forums, but they all share a basic problem which is that their real goal is to sell you something, not to help you find support and answers that work for you.
Finding a non-commercial erectile dysfunction forum is hard. Sometimes it can actually be easier to find an in person support group than an anonymous online forum, although support groups also take some work to find, and sometimes you'll need to be the one to help set it up.
Tips on Finding Erectile Dysfunction Support Groups:
- If you have a physician and/or urologist you have seen about your erectile dysfunction you can start by asking them if they know of any support groups for men and/or partners about erectile dysfunction.
- Connect with local prostate cancer resources. Men who have a prostatectomy frequently experience erectile dysfunction and even if this isn't the cause of your erectile dysfunction you may be able to join a group and benefit from talking with others who are sharing parts of you experience.
- Find a local sexual health clinic and ask them if they offer or know of any resources for support for men experiencing erectile dysfunction.
- Find a sex therapist in your area. The bulk of most sex therapy involves dealing with sexual dysfunctions, including erectile dysfunction. A sex therapist will know if there are local support groups and/or they may be interested in helping you set one up.
Tips on Evaluating Erectile Dysfunction Forums:
- Start by checking out the "about us" page to find out who is behind the forum. Is it a doctor looking for patients? A PR firm working for a drug company? An individual hoping to find others to talk with?
- If you register for a forum, don't use your primary email address, or an email address with your real name in it. Sign up for a secondary gmail, hotmail, or other free email service, and use an email address that doesn't include any personal information.
- Speaking of which, be wary of sites that ask you for too much personal information.
- When you go in the forum section, look for the dates of the last posts, have people been posting recently? How many people are posting to different conversations?
- Browse the forums and read a few discussions. You should be able to judge by the questions and answers whether this is a forum you'll feel safe participating in.
- Ask a general question in the forum and see how long it takes to get a response and what the response is like. Don't dive in with deeply personal issues right away. You may get no response or a response that's cold or hurtful. Test the waters first so you know the kind of forum this is, and then judge based on the response how comfortable you are exposing parts of your life to a group of anonymous strangers.
Our own About Sexuality Forum offers a space that is free of advertising (at least no advertising in the posts themselves). A newer forum that seems to be delivering on it's promise of regular people talking without a sales pitch is Frank Talk, a forum set up by a man who was experiencing erectile dysfunction and had an in-person support group but realized there were no non-commercial erectile dysfunction forums that were active online.