Introduction: Many therapies for benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) frequently result in decreased ejaculate volume (EV) or anejaculation. Negative perceptions of this side effect commonly present a barrier to treatment. While significant resources have been dedicated to developing BPH interventions aimed at preserving EV, it remains uncertain whether decreased EV is actually bothersome to sexual partners. In this study we assess the perceived importance of ejaculatory function (EF) from the perspective of men and their sexual partners.
Methods: A survey was distributed to attendees of the Minnesota State Fair. Men were asked about the importance of their own EF and EV, and whether their sexual partners like or dislike ejaculate. Sexual partners of men were asked about the general importance of male partners’ EF and EV, whether they find ejaculate “messy”, and whether they would support a partner’s decision to pursue BPH treatment despite decreased EV. Concordance between the responses of male participants and sexual partners was evaluated using the Mann-Whitney U test.
Results: A total of 213 surveys were completed. The mean age of participants was 52.3 years. 50.1% of participants were female and 99.6% identified as heterosexual. 103 men completed the survey section regarding their own EF, and 100 participants (95 female, 5 male) completed the survey section assessing the importance of their male partner’s EF. While 56.8% of men agreed or strongly agreed that “ejaculation is an important part of an enjoyable sexual experience”, only 29.0% of partners similarly agreed or strongly agreed (Mann-Whitney U = 3982.0, p = 0.005). A greater percentage of men (12.8%) agreed or strongly agreed that they “preferred large semen volume” compared to sexual partners of men (3.0%), however this was not significant (Mann-Whitney U 4932.5, p = 0.659). When partners were asked if they find semen messy, 39.0% agreed, followed by 26.0% who neither agreed nor disagreed. 68.0% of sexual partners would agree or strongly agree to support their male partner’s decision to pursue BPH treatment despite reduced EV.
Conclusions: The perceived importance of EF differs between men and their sexual partners, as men believe ejaculation to be a more important part of an enjoyable sexual experience than their partners. The great majority of sexual partners of men would support their partner’s decision to pursue BPH treatment, even if it worsened EF. Appropriate counseling with this information may hopefully lower this perceived barrier to many effective BPH treatments. Source of