Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Erectile impotence is a common family health problem, with exact incidence unknown, that adversely affects both men and their female partners. It is classified as "inhibited sexual excitement" in DSM-III and is defined as the inability to attain or maintain a penile erection until completion of the sexual act. It had been stated formerly, without supporting evidence, that 90% of erectile disorders were "psychogenic. " Today, however, only about one-third are so classified (1). In Kinsey's (2) series, the prevalence of impotence was less than 2% until the age of 40 years; it increased to 6-7% at age 55 and by age 70 years more than one-fourth of males reported long-term erectile incompetency. It is not certain to what extent this increased prevalence of erectile disorder concurrent with aging is indicative of mental conditions, or covert medical conditions or the natural biological changes induced by aging. Impotence ordinarily is classified as: 1) primary (life long), or secondary (acquired after satisfactory potency); 2) partial or total; 3) generalized or situational.

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