One in 3 has sex 'less than once a month'

SINGAPORE - About a third of nearly 300 people polled in a recent survey said they have sex less than once a month.

This is less than the once-a-week or once-a-fortnight frequency that most think is ideal, said Colin Teo, president for the Society of Men's Health Singapore (SMHS), basing this anecdotally on what patients had told him.

"It could be due to stress, logistical issues like staying in a small home with kids and in-laws, or sexual dysfunction," said Dr Teo, who heads the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital's Department of Urology.

Released yesterday, the survey had polled Singapore residents aged above 25 on their sexual behaviour and attitudes towards erectile dysfunction.

About 27 per cent said that they had sex one to three times a month, 22 per cent did so once to thrice a week and 16 per cent had sex more than thrice a week.

Done through face-to-face interviews on the street and an online poll, the survey was skewed towards an older age group.

Almost half the respondents were above 41.

Among those polled, about nine in 10 men said they would seek medical treatment for erectile dysfunction.

And almost nine in 10 women said they would encourage their partners to seek help too.

"People are less afraid to seek help because of better public education across the years. Erectile dysfunction has become less of a stigma," said Dr Teo.

In the past, treatments involved injections or pumps, but they have now moved towards tablets, which could be less intimidating, he added.

"We see fewer patients who come to the clinic, hem and haw and are shy to tell you their sexual problems. They are more straightforward when seeking treatment," he said.

About seven in 10 men feel comfortable taking a pill to have satisfactory sex, while six in 10 women feel comfortable about their partners doing so.

Next year, the SMHS will also be issuing guidelines on erectile dysfunction for general practitioners (GP) and specialists, said Ronny Tan, a urologist at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and co-chairman of the guidelines committee.

The guidelines will highlight the starting and maximum doses of pills to treat erectile dysfunction.

It will also provide practical advice on erectile dysfunction treatments beyond drug therapies and answer frequently-asked questions on why some treatments may not work.

Created by a team of urologists, cardiologists and family physicians, the guide will be issued to more than 3,000 specialists and GPs in January.

It also encourages GPs to look at erectile dysfunction beyond sexuality. "Erectile dysfunction shares similar risk factors with cardiovascular diseases," said Dr Tan. "Patients with erectile dysfunction should alert a physician to screen for the latter," he advised.

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