Stress of Sexual Performance Leads Men to Have Affairs

Couples who are trying to get pregnant typically experience a lot of stress, and that stress can cause erectile dysfunction in 40 percent of men as well as drive a high proportion of men to have affairs, according to a study in the Journal of Andrology.

When one thinks of possible erectile dysfunction causes, some that come to mind include use of drugs and medications, prostate cancer treatments, medical conditions such as diabetes, and low testosterone. Although erectile dysfunction most often affects men age 65 and older, this new study points out a possible cause of erectile dysfunction that applies to younger men.

The study included 400 men who had not had erectile dysfunction before entering the trial. Yet the investigators found that 40 percent of men experienced some type of erectile dysfunction after six months of practicing “timed intercourse,” which means men were under pressure to perform sexual intercourse either often and/or at specific times when it was considered an optimal time for his partner to conceive.

One belief expressed by the authors of the study was that the men had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which could be to blame for lower testosterone levels and accompanying sexual dysfunction.

The researchers noted that “stress incurred by the thought of obligatory coitus, or compulsory sexual behavior, causes sexual dysfunction in men facing timed intercourse.” An unexpected finding of the study was that the stress associated with obligatory sexual intercourse or the stress of sexual performance was prompting 10 percent of the men to also have affairs.

Read more in our Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.


Goodenough T. Why men under pressure to father a baby at partner’s most fertile moment often have affairs. Daily Mail 2012 May 20