Earlier this year, we conducted a poll asking men about their perceptions of ED treatment

In our last post, we covered the results on a national scale. However, we also observed some interesting trends when breaking the data down into regions, which we'll explore in this post.

Have you ever taken erectile dysfunction medication?

North West

  • 14% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 84% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 0% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 2% answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

Yorks and the Humber

  • 17% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 77% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 4% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 1% answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

East Midlands

  • 15% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 79% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 2% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 4% answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

West Midlands

  • 12% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 87% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 0% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 1% answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

East of England

  • 15% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 80% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 2% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 3% answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

London

  • 15% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 78% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 2% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 4%answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

South East

  • 14% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 84% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 1% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 2% answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

South West

  • 9% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 88% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 1% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 3% answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

England

  • 15% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 81% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 2% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 3% answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

Scotland

  • 11% answered ‘Yes, I have’.
  • 88% answered ‘No, I have not’.
  • 1% answered ‘Don’t know/can’t recall’.
  • 1% answered ‘Prefer not to say’.

In the survey the Yorkshire and the Humber region came out with the highest percentage of men to respond ‘Yes, I have’, at 18%. This is over the national average of 14%. 

The results of this poll show that South West England and Scotland are the two regions with the lowest percentage of participants to indicate that they have used ED medication. One thing that both of these regions have in common is that they have proportionately high rural land areas.

Dr Daniel says: ‘It is interesting to note that two regions with comparatively low numbers of men indicating ED medication usage have large portions of rural areas. Again, we can’t draw any concrete conclusions, but on first glance it could suggest that ED is a bigger problem in more built up or urban areas, due to factors like stress being more common.

So one might wonder if ED is just as common a problem in rural areas as it is in urban areas, but that perhaps men living in rural areas are less likely to seek help for ED. There could be a number of reasons for this. Men living in more remote areas might have to travel further distances to a healthcare provider, such as a GP or pharmacist. It could also be that men living in rural areas do not feel the same socio-cultural pressures to maintain sexual performance as those in urban areas.’

In general, how safe, if at all, do you think erectile dysfunction medication is?

North West

  • 8% said ‘Very safe’
  • 40% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 5% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 2% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 45% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 48%
  • Net not safe: 7%

Yorkshire and the Humber

  • 11% said ‘Very safe’
  • 40% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 3% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 1% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 44% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 52%
  • Net not safe: 4%

East Midlands

  • 14% said ‘Very safe’
  • 38% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 9% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 0% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 39% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 52%
  • Net not safe: 9%

West Midlands

  • 7% said ‘Very safe’
  • 34% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 7% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 2% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 50% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 41%
  • Net not safe: 9%

East of England

  • 10% said ‘Very safe’
  • 41% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 5% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 1% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 44% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 51%
  • Net not safe: 6%

London

  • 8% said ‘Very safe’
  • 41% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 8% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 3% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 41% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 49%
  • Net not safe: 11%

South East

  • 11% said ‘Very safe’
  • 37% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 4% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 4% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 44% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 49%
  • Net not safe: 7%

South West

  • 9% said ‘Very safe’
  • 33% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 7% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 1% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 50% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 42%
  • Net not safe: 8%

England

  • 10% said ‘Very safe’
  • 38% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 6% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 2% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 44% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 48%
  • Net not safe: 7%

Scotland

  • 7% said ‘Very safe’
  • 38% said ‘Fairly safe’
  • 7% said ‘Not very safe’
  • 1% said ‘Not at all safe’
  • 47% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net safe: 44%
  • Net not safe: 8%

It is interesting to note that such a high percentage of participants indicated that they ‘did not know’ whether ED medication is safe or not. Overall 45% of respondents answered ‘don’t know’ to the question, compared with 48% of respondents indicating that they thought ED medication was a degree of ‘safe’.

London had the highest percentage (11%) of participants to indicate ‘not safe’. However, 41% of Londoners replied ‘don’t know’, a stat that is slightly lower than the national average. Therefore could it be said that Londoners in general are more opinionated and less likely to sit on the
fence even when faced with a potentially sensitive subject? And are they perhaps more likely to have come across fake or counterfeit versions of ED medications from illicit sellers?

Dr Daniel says: ‘It might not be surprising to read that knowledge of how safe ED medication is is still relatively unknown amongst the general public. ED medication has at times received negative press due to the availability of counterfeit products from unregulated sources.

Licensed treatments for ED have to undergo the same rigorous health and safety checks that all medications go through in order to be granted a licence from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. While they’re safe on the whole, like all other types of medicine, they can cause unwanted side effects and therefore may not be suitable for everybody.

ED treatment purchased from regulated sources is safe for those to whom it is prescribed, because a doctor or pharmacist is likely to ask certain questions and look at someone’s medical history in order to check for any potential contraindications.

How likely would you be to tell your partner?

When asked:

‘Please imagine you were taking erectile dysfunction medication. How likely or unlikely, if at all, do you think you would be to tell each of the following that you were taking erectile dysfunction medication?
- romantic partner (someone that you are seeing or are in a relationship with)
- sexual partner (a sexual relationship, which lasts for one night or more, with no desire for a relationship
- spouse (someone who is your significant other in a marriage, civil union, or common-law marriage).

Even if you do not currently have a romantic and/ or sexual partner or a spouse, we are still interested in your opinion.’

Scotland had the lowest percentage of participants to indicate net ‘likely’ when informing all three types of partner about ED medication usage. However, the region also has the highest percentage of people responding ‘don’t know’ to all three types of partner. This might indicate that men in Scotland need more time to consider opening up to any partner about an important topic such as their sexual health.

Here's how people in different areas responded:

North West

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)613224
Fairly likely (%)172315
Not very likely (%)61622
Not at all likely (%)81523
Don’t know (%)71416
Net: Likely (%) 795639
Net: Unlikely (%) 153045

Yorks and the Humber

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)552517
Fairly likely (%)213820
Not very likely (%)71022
Not at all likely (%)5921
Don’t know (%)131719
Net: Likely (%)756337
Net: Unlikely (%)122044

East Midlands

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)542122
Fairly likely (%)253017
Not very likely (%)31819
Not at all likely (%)91729
Don’t know (%)81314
Net: Likely (%)795239
Net: Unlikely (%)123648

West Midlands

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)511817
Fairly likely (%)192118
Not very likely (%)52418
Not at all likely (%)81420
Don’t know (%)172427
Net: Likely (%)713935
Net: Unlikely (%)133838

East of England

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)511918
Fairly likely (%)242520
Not very likely (%)41922
Not at all likely (%)41315
Don’t know (%)172425
Net: Likely (%)754438
Net: Unlikely (%)83237

London

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)472518
Fairly likely (%)162319
Not very likely (%)91919
Not at all likely (%)91023
Don’t know (%)192221
Net: Likely (%)634837
Net: Unlikely (%)183042

South East

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)481813
Fairly likely (%)222920
Not very likely (%)81728
Not at all likely (%)111317
Don’t know (%)122322
Net: Likely (%)694733
Net: Unlikely (%)193045

South West

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)481917
Fairly likely (%)222720
Not very likely (%)62023
Not at all likely (%)91422
Don’t know (%)142119
Net: Likely (%)70 4637
Net: Unlikely (%)163345

England

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)512218
Fairly likely (%)202719
Not very likely (%)61822
Not at all likely (%)81321
Don’t know (%)142021
Net: Likely (%)724937
Net: Unlikely (%)143142

Scotland

 SpouseRomantic partnerSexual partner
Very likely (%)552116
Fairly likely (%)131612
Not very likely (%)42020
Not at all likely (%)61421
Don’t know (%)223030
Net: Likely (%)683628
Net: Unlikely (%)103442

How comfortable would you feel going into a pharmacy and buying erectile dysfunction medication?

North West

  • 8% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 22% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 31% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 30% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 9% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 30%
  • Net not comfortable: 61%

Yorkshire and the Humber

  • 9% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 37% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 24% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 23% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 7% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 46%
  • Net not comfortable: 47%

East Midlands

  • 10% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 26% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 28% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 25% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 12% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 36%
  • Net not comfortable: 53%

West Midlands

  • 5% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 27% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 27% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 27% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 14% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 32%
  • Net not comfortable: 54%

East of England

  • 9% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 27% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 34% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 13% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 16% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 37%
  • Net not comfortable: 47%

London

  • 15% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 21% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 34% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 14% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 16% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 36%
  • Net not comfortable: 48%

South East

  • 8% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 28% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 30% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 29% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 6% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 35%
  • Net not comfortable: 59%

South West

  • 3% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 25% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 31% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 27% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 13% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 28%
  • Net not comfortable: 58%

England

  • 9% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 26% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 30% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 24% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 11% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 35%
  • Net not comfortable: 54%

Scotland

  • 15% said ‘Very comfortable’
  • 21% said ‘Fairly comfortable’
  • 25% said ‘Not very comfortable’
  • 27% said ‘Not at all comfortable’
  • 13% said ‘Don’t know’
  • Net comfortable: 36%
  • Net not comfortable: 52%

Dr Daniel says: ‘Erectile dysfunction is a sensitive health topic and can therefore cause some people to be reluctant to seek help. A national average of 54% of respondents indicating that they would not feel comfortable approaching their local pharmacy is a significant amount.

A higher percentage of men from Yorkshire and the Humber indicated that they would be comfortable going into a pharmacy to buy ED medication (46%) than any other region.

Strangely though, the response was somewhat different over the rose counties border: a lower percentage of men in the North West indicated that they would feel comfortable going into a pharmacy to get treatment (30%) and a higher percentage of men indicating that would be feel
uncomfortable (61%) than any other region.

Over recent years there has been a push to reduce the stigma surrounding ED but there is still a long way to go. Last year saw the release of Viagra Connect as a pharmacy medicine, effectively removing the need for a visit to the doctor for some ED patients. However, the results of this survey would indicate that there is still work to be done in dispelling the stigma that surrounds seeking help for this fairly common health condition.’

Dr Daniel says: ‘Men should feel comfortable seeking help for erectile dysfunction problems in whichever environment they choose. The fairly high percentage of men overall who indicated that they might feel uncomfortable to attend a pharmacy perhaps links to a wider societal problem of men putting off seeking help for health issues.’