Sexual issues kept quiet by Kiwi men

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 15:00 27/04/2012
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MEN OF FEW WORDS: New Zealand men often wait years before fronting up to a doctor with a sexual performance issue.

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The "Southern man" mentality of New Zealand men is a barrier to them talking about sexual issues properly, an expert says.

Auckland-based Dr Warrick White, speaking at the fifth Multidisciplinary Sexual Dysfunction Conference in Queenstown, said many men and doctors were uncomfortable talking about sex.

Older patients who suffered from illness, particularly prostate diseases, often encountered associated sexual dysfunction, while younger men had problems such as premature ejaculation.

In New Zealand, the "Southern man" mentality, all stoicism and "she'll be rights", could cause difficulties, he said.

Sometimes elderly couples together for decades had never openly discussed sex, and a lack of understanding led to relationship breakdown.

Doctors were not surprised when men fronted up one or two years after a problem surfaced, he said.

''There's a lot of the 'Southern man' stuff going on. People are devastated when stuff doesn't work,'' he said.

''There's a manly 'we'll make do' attitude. They don't complain and get distressed.

''People have this idea that sex is natural and intuitive, but there are really upset people out there.

''People need education.''

Sydney-based sexual health specialist Dr Michael Lowy said younger men presented with premature ejaculation, performance anxiety and relationship difficulties.

''What the younger guys issue is is they want to be perfect and no-one is perfect at sex. We need to educate them into having realistic expectations and how there's a range that's normal," he said.

Florida-based Dr Stanley Althof said delayed ejaculation, where the moment is delayed or absent during normal sexual activity, was increasingly prevalent but poorly understood.

Few studies were available and no one theory explained why some men were unable to achieve orgasm.

He told about 200 delegates, sexologists, sex therapists and clinicians from Australia and New Zealand that the dysfunction was involuntary and caused distress for patients and their partners.

Much worked needed to be done, including gathering more evidence, assessing the prevalence of the condition, the efficacy of psychological techniques and ways of measuring treatments.

The conference will run until Sunday and includes presentations on the changes in women's sexual lives since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, female sexual dysfunction, patients unwilling to discuss sex and the relationship between body image and sexuality.

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The clinicians said the global average male ejaculation time was 5.4 minutes.

- The Southland Times

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