Prime News Ghana

Erectile dysfunction; an enemy of Ghanaian men

By Vincent Ashitey
facebook sharing button Share
twitter sharing button Tweet
email sharing button Email
sharethis sharing button Share

Erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability of a man to have an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse, is increasing fast in Ghana and everywhere.

It is a fact that although erectile dysfunction generally increases with age, it affects men of all ages. Global studies suggest that impotence affects 30 per cent of men by age 40 and 65 per cent of men at 65 years old. Today, a majority of men who suffer erectile dysfunction are under 50 years old.

Erectile dysfunction is a great enemy of Ghanaian men and has caused some men to do some bizarre things, including occultist interventions and unorthodox medications. Many men with this condition have divorced their wives because they don’t feel like real men and some have even committed suicide.

Sadly, any talk on sex and erectile dysfunction is still taboo by Ghanaian tradition.

Causes of erectile dysfunction

Erection involves a precise and complex sequence of events inside the body and any miss may lead to erectile dysfunction. There are, however, two main causes. The first is physical and is caused by damage to the nerves and organs leading to erection or poor lifestyle leading to diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, sleep disorders and heart problems.

Many medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney and liver-related problems may also predispose you to erectile dysfunction. Age increases a person’s risk but studies show erectile dysfunction is not always age-related.

It is also a fact that Ghanaian men are so obsessed with sex and have resorted to a wide range of aphrodisiacs. Ghana alone has over 50 ‘bitters’ from ‘AK 47’ to ‘alomo gyata’ to ‘woba adaa anaa’ to the recent ‘meworo wo dross’.

These are alcohol-based concoctions. Alcohol is a stimulant and will raise your desire for sex but it is also a depressant and will lower your performance and again predispose you to many diseases, which further reduce your sexual performance. This explains why most alcoholics suffer from erectile dysfunction.

The second cause is mental or state of mind, which may be caused by factors such as bitterness, resentment, guilt, depression, fear and unreasonable expectations. Others include fear of rejection, inability to satisfy a partner, feeling inferior and fatigue. Studies also show a nagging or domineering partner could make a man impotent.

 A man is born as a provider and protector. Feminine dominance may break his ego and predispose him to impotence.

Effects of erectile dysfunction

Sex is important for a man’s sense of self-esteem. He needs it for pleasure, reassurance and ego enhancement which improve all areas of his life. Accumulation of sexual fluid urges a man to have sex as often as possible.

Again the sex hormone, testosterone, is 20 times more concentrated in men as compared to a woman. A man without sex for a day is like a woman without sex for 20 days! When a man loves a woman, the easiest way he expresses it is through sex. In short, a man needs sex to fulfil his sexual drive and competency and to build his marriage.

Some Ghanaian men see erectile dysfunction as a death sentence because their self-esteem goes with it. Some are known to commit suicide because of this. Some seek a divorce, sleep in separate rooms or intentionally maltreat their women.

Without evidence of his manhood through sex, many men feel psychologically vulnerable and overpowered. Without sex, life and marriage could be challenging for a husband and wife.

Sex is also important to a woman. It fulfils her womanhood and through it, she pleases her man and it reassures her of her husband’s love. A wife through sex is assured she is still attractive to her man.

A couple of years ago, an article entitled ‘Will you accept a lover with erectile dysfunction ‘by this writer in The Mirror was picked up for discussion on some FM stations, almost all the women who responded said they would never accept a man with erectile dysfunction.

Women have different reactions to their men’s erectile dysfunction, especially when the men refuse to openly discuss it. According to Andrew McCullough, a sexual health expert, women internalised things; the first thing a woman thinks when her man becomes weak sexually is to blame herself thinking it is because she may have done something wrong or was no longer attractive.

Some get frustrated and despaired and fear there is something seriously wrong with their men or relationships. Some feel they are no longer attractive or sexy enough. While some suspect their men are having affairs, others actually get into extramarital affairs because ‘body no be firewood’.

It is also known that some women see a man’s sexual weakness as a relief because they never enjoyed sex and struggled with the ‘sex ordeal’. This is not surprising if you appreciate that in Ghana about 75 per cent of women never experience orgasm in their lives.

They just give in and see a man’s sexual weakness as time for retirement. A man with erectile dysfunction feels inadequate and sees every bad word, action and attitude of his wife as an attack on his inability to perform and pulls back from her.

A wife sees the pullback as a confirmation that she has done something wrong and retreats even further. Increasing levels of anxiety set in, along with the suspicion about what is going on with him, as well as the continued believe there is something wrong with her.

The couple may stop communicating altogether not only in the bedroom but in all aspects of their marriage. This makes problems worse for couples and may lead to divorce.

What to do

The good news is that 90 per cent of cases of erectile dysfunction can be cured; because in most cases, the basic problem is mentally based. A man must have a positive mental attitude.

Don’t worry, be happy. Keep a clean conscience and forgive those who offend you. Always remember that the only person who benefits when you forgive is you. Watch your lifestyle. Exercise regularly. Have adequate sleep. Eat right.

Drink about eight glasses of water. Cut down the alcohol, salt and sugar. Clean and floss your teeth. Take good care of the home. Seek counselling and medical advice but avoid local concoctions. Most of them will worsen your case.

A woman must be cooperative and understanding. Don’t take it to heart because you are not the cause. Again don’t feel rejected or withdrawn from your man because it may spell distrust.  

Also, avoid putting pressure on your man to perform ‘or else…’ You must also avoid ridicule because it is a murder weapon to a man with erectile dysfunction. You must also never discuss your man’s condition with friends and relatives.

Many men with such conditions worry that their women may seek satisfaction elsewhere but a wife needs to avoid extramarital affairs. The suspicion of a wife in extramarital affairs because of her man’s non-performance has a great physiological impact and many men react violently.

If you can’t have penetrative sex you may try VENIS (very erotic non-inserted sex) through massaging, manual and genital stimulation. There are many ways to give each other pleasure without penetrative sex.

When everything fails, come to terms with your condition. A marriage without sex can survive but a marriage without love is bound to fail. You may fall out of sex but never all out of love. Your marriage can and must survive impotence.


By Dr John Boakye