From ‘What happens at an appointment for erectile dysfunction?’, to ‘How to wear male incontinence pads & pants?’, we answer your questions on men’s intimate health

This article is sponsored by Viagra Connect®, Cialis® Together, Boots Pharmaceuticals, Eroxon, TENA & Trojan

When it comes to men’s intimate health, there’s lots of information out there which can be confusing to decode to say the least. We’re here with the answers you’ve been looking for on common men’s health conditions and sexual health and pleasure, along with advice and products that can help.

Read on to learn more about erectile dysfunction, male incontinence, protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and enhancing sexual pleasure.

Erectile dysfunction

What is erectile dysfunction & how do I know if I have it?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition where you’re unable to get an erection or keep an erection for long enough to have sex.

It can affect men in different ways. Some may get an erection in certain situations like masturbation or when they wake up, but not others like sex with a partner.

It’s not to be confused with premature ejaculation which is where ejaculation happens too quickly during sex.

Depending on the cause, erectile dysfunction can be a short-term or long-term condition.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

A range of things can cause erectile dysfunction, including:

Physical causes

• Tiredness

• Certain medical conditions – such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure

• Certain medicines – you should speak to your GP if you think your medication is causing erectile dysfunction

• Problems with hormones

• An injury or recovering from surgery

• Lifestyle factors – such as drinking too much alcohol

Psychological causes




• Problems in a relationship

It's thought the cause is more likely to be physical if you can’t get an erection at all, and more likely to be psychological if you can get an erection in some situations but not others.

How common is erectile dysfunction?

If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, you’re not alone. It’s very common, particularly in men over 40. Approximately 50 percent of all men aged 40 to 70 are thought to experience erectile dysfunction to some extent.

When to see a GP for erectile dysfunction?

You should see a GP if your erection problems keep happening as this could be a sign of other health conditions.

Alternatively, you could go to a sexual health clinic who can provide the same advice and treatment that you’d get from your GP, but often have walk-in appointments available.

What happens at a GP appointment for erectile dysfunction?

Seeing a medical professional about erectile dysfunction is very common, but if you feel more comfortable seeing a male GP, make sure to ask this when you book your appointment.

During your appointment, you may be asked about your lifestyle, relationship and any problems you’re having. You might have some general health checks done such as having your blood pressure taken and having your genitals examined to help rule out physical causes.

In some cases, you may be referred for futher tests and treatment.

How is erectile dysfunction treated?

Depending on the cause, there are various ways to help treat erectile dysfunction.

If it’s caused by an underlying physical condition, that will often be treated or resolved first, which in turn may stop your erectile dysfunction problems.

If it’s happening because of psychological causes, you may be referred for counselling or talking therapies on the NHS.

Erectile dysfunction can also be improved by making lifestyle changes such as:

Cutting down on alcohol (if you do drink)

Stopping smoking (if you do smoke)

Eating a healthy, balanced diet

Exercising regularly

There are also certain medicines and products which may help with erectile dysfunction, available from Boots without a prescription.

Consider: Viagra Connect® Sildenafil 50mg Film-Coated Tablets

• 8 tablets

• For men over 18 years old with erectile dysfunction

When daily life gets in the way of your sex life, Viagra Connect® is here to help. (Subject to pharmacist approval). Over one million men have used Viagra Connect® and 74% of men with erection problems found it improved their erection.** Take one tablet (no more than once a day) one hour before sex and it will work in as little as 30 minutes for up to four hours when you’re sexually stimulated.

Viagra Connect® 50mg Film-Coated Tablets. Contains: Sildenafil. For erectile dysfunction in adult men. Always read the label.

Consider: Cialis® Together 10mg Tadalafil

• 4 pack

• For men over 18 years old with erectile dysfunction

Cialis® Together is an erection difficulties pill that helps you respond naturally, when sexually aroused, for up to 36 hours. It contains 10mg tadalafil and is available without a prescription (subject to pharmacist approval).

Cialis® Together 10mg tablets contain tadalafil. For erection difficulties. Always read the label. Cialis Together is not available in Northern Ireland.

Consider: Boots Sildenafil 50mg Film-Coated Tablets

• 8 tablets

• For men over 18 years old with erectile dysfunction

Getting to work within 30 to 60 minutes, Boots Sildenafil Tablets are for men who have difficulty getting or keeping an erection hard enough for sex. Take one tablet up to four hours before sexual activity. Boots Sildenafil Tablets require sexual stimulation to work effectively. Only take one tablet a day.

Boots Sildenafil 50mg Film-Coated Tablets. Contains: Sildenafil. For men 18 years and older who have difficulty getting and/or keeping an erection hard enough for sex. Always read the label.

Consider: Eroxon Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Gel

• 4 pack

• For men over 18 years old with erectile dysfunction

• Available without prescription

Eroxon® is a clinically proven gel treatment for adult men (aged 18 years and over) who find it difficult to get or keep an erection hard enough for satisfactory sex. When applied topically to the head of the penis, Eroxon gel delivers a rapid cooling followed by a gradual warming effect which stimulates the nerve endings of the glans penis, helping men to get an erection within 10 minutes of application.

Male incontinence

What is incontinence?

Incontinence, or more specifically urinary incontinence, is when you unintentionally pass urine (wee). This can range from a small amount of leakage to a larger loss of urine depending on the type and severity of incontinence.

The most common types of urinary incontinence are:

• Stress incontinence – when urine leaks because of increased pressure on your bladder such as coughing or sneezing

• Urge incontinence – when urine leaks, accompanied by or followed by a sudden urge to wee

• Mixed incontinence – a mix of both stress and urge incontinence

• Overflow incontinence – when your bladder can’t fully empty and leftover urine builds up and leaks

• Total incontinence – when your bladder can’t store any urine, usually from things like a problem with your bladder from birth or an injury to your spinal cord

What causes incontinence?

Incontinence has many possible causes, including:

• Older age

• A family history of incontinence

• Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol


• Certain neurological conditions – such as Parkinson’s disease

• Certain medications – you should speak to your GP if you think your medication is causing incontinence

Specific causes in men can include:

• An enlarged prostate gland (a gland located near the bladder that produces a fluid that mixes with sperm to make semen)

• Some types of prostate surgery such as removal of the prostate gland

How is incontinence treated?

If you’re experiencing incontinence, you should see a GP who can advise on suitable treatment options. They may suggest:

• Lifestyle changes – such as reducing the amount of caffeine you drink

• Bladder training – learning techniques to help increase the amount of time in between feeling the need to wee and passing urine

• Pelvic floor muscle training (kegel exercises) – exercises to help strengthen the muscles around your bladder, bottom and penis

In other cases, your GP may advise medicine or surgery depending on what’s suitable for you.

How can I help manage incontinence?

Whilst you’re waiting for or going through treatment for incontinence, you may find it helpful to use incontinence pants or pads. These are absorbent products made of special material that soak up urine leakage. They come in a range of different sizes, shapes and absorbency levels.

Not sure where to start? Here are some options from TENA Men:

Consider: TENA Men Active Fit Incontinence Pants Normal Grey Size Large/XL

• 8 pack

• For medium urine leakage

With a discreet and secure fit, these grey incontinence pants feel like regular underwear and have a comfortable elastic waistband and breathable cotton-like feel. The triple protection technology guards against leaks, odour and moisture so you can stay in control of medium urine leakage as you go about your day.

Consider: TENA Men Level 2 Incontinence Absorbent Protector

• 10 pack

• For medium male bladder weakness

• Individually wrapped to carry and dispose of discreetly

These pads fit securely and discreetly into your own underwear, with a comfortable shape that’s engineered for a man’s body. The absorbent core locks in medium level leaks whilst the unique odour control technology prevents unwanted smells.

Consider: TENA Men Washable Protective Boxers Black

• 1 pair

• For light drips and smaller urine leaks

• Wash them with the rest of your clothes at 40°C

• Stylish black colour with a grey belt

Designed to be washed and reused again and again, these absorbent and protective boxers look and feel just like everyday underwear but feature invisible built-in protection for light incontinence. The secure absorption zone has been ergonomically designed to lock in leaks exactly where it’s needed.

How to wear male incontinence pads & pants?

Whether you go for pads or pants, each type will come with its own set of instructions to follow on the pack, but here’s some general guidance and tips.

Pants and washable underwear are designed to be worn alone and pull on like regular boxers. They are usually labelled with a size guide, so choose your usual size, but be mindful that they have a tight-fitting feel to help keep in leaks.

Pads (which are also known as protectors, shields or guards) are designed to be stuck inside a pair of your own tight-fitting underwear in front of your penis. You should:

• Unwrap the pad and remove the paper on the back of the pad to reveal an adhesive strip

• Stick one pad inside the front of your underwear with the wider end at the top

• After use, remove the pad and put it in a bin (don’t flush it down the toilet)

Whichever incontinence product you go for, make sure to choose the right absorbency level for you such as light, medium or heavy leakage. Don’t forget to change them regularly according to the time frames on the pack.


What's an STI & how do you catch them?

STI stands for sexually transmitted infection, which can be passed on from one person to another through sexual contact including vaginal, anal and oral sex. There are many types of STIs, each with their own symptoms and treatment options. Some of the most common include:

• Chlamydia

• Gonorrhoea

• Genital herpes

• Genital warts

• Pubic lice

• Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Here we tell you more about common types of STIs and their symptoms.

How can I help protect against STIs?

If you think you might have an STI, you should go for a check-up at a sexual health clinic, where a medical professional can provide you with advice, tests and treatment if needed.

It’s possible to have an STI without knowing, so getting tested can help you avoid passing an infection onto sexual partners. You should also let your current and past partners know if you’ve tested positive for an STI, so they can get tested too.

Condoms can help offer protection against many types of STIs as they help reduce contact during sex. When possible, use a condom during vaginal, anal and oral sex.

Try: Trojan Ultra Thin Condoms

• 12 pack

• Thinner than standard Trojan latex condoms

Ultra thin for ultra sensitivity, these lubricated, latex condoms are designed for a more natural feeling. They feature a classic reservoir end for extra safety and protection against STIs and pregnancy. It’s the pleasure you want and the protection you trust.

Sexual pleasure

What is sexual pleasure?

It’s not just all about health, sexual pleasure is just as important. This means feeling a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction physically, psychologically or both, from sexual experiences, behaviours and thoughts, alone or with a partner.

How can I increase pleasure during sex & masturbation?

If you’re looking to increase sexual pleasure, then you could consider trying a sex toy which can help enhance physical pleasure and give you something new to experiment with. (It's important to note you can get an STI from a sex toy when shared with someone else who has an STI. You should go for a check-up at a sexual health clinic if you think you have an STI). There are plenty of different types out there, some which can be used with a partner and some that can be used alone during masturbation, such as this option from Lovehoney:

Try: Arcwave Pow Silicone Dual-Entrance Suction Control Male Masturbator

• Fully waterproof

• Battery-free

• Comes with a hygienic storage case, perfect for travel

• Silicone sleeve

• Easy to clean and quick drying

This premium manual stroker features a dual entrance to allow you to explore and customise your experience during solo play. The intuitive silicone sleeve tightens pleasurably during masturbation, while the air pressure release valve creates intense suction for a new and incredible climax.

Got any more questions about men’s health? Visit our Health Hub for more information and advice on different men’s health conditions.

*Access to prescription-only treatment is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Subject to availability. Charges apply.

**Estimated from reported Viagra Connect use since launch (Kantar 2019, Viagra Connect TNS Omnibus survey, 1,499 men 35 yr+) and UK male population 35+ yrs.