For a vast majority of western men, sexual confidence and feelings of worth can be directly tied to an ability to regularly 'perform', but a study suggests that this isn't the case everywhere.
Speaking to Broadly, Emily Wentzell, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Iowa, says: "Ideas about what counts as good and manly sex are cultural, not natural or universal.
"There is money to be made off promoting the idea that manly men should have life-long penetrative sex, by selling pharmaceuticals—hence the widespread marketing of ED drugs."
"Focus on penetrative sex as the ideal kind of sexuality to engage in throughout the life course represents US cultural ideas about virility and of the male body as, ideally, a machine that never stops functioning the same way, despite illness or aging," Wentzell says.
To see how other cultures deal with diminishing or impaired sexual function, Wentzell spent a 10 month period conducting interviews with 250 Mexican men suffering from a variety of urological issues, noting the differences in approach between them and their American counterparts.
"When those men began to experience erectile difficulty, they understood it as an aid for being a different, better kind of man, more focused on home and family than extramarital sex", says Wenzell. "They did not want ED drugs, which they saw as socially inappropriate."
After concluding her research, Wentzell believes that a shift away from stigmatising erectile dysfunction as a weak, non-masculine trait can do social good, saying: "People would likely be happier with themselves and their partners if think more broadly about what counts as enjoyable sex and see men's changing bodies and desires over the life course as normal rather than pathological."