Enhanced Male Ready to Help Men With Erectile Dysfunction

LOS ANGELES—Daniel G, owner of The Enhanced Male, started his online e-commerce company in 2009 after seeing a steady stream of male customers too embarrassed to visit their doctor for a Viagra prescription. Instead, they relied on anonymous online orders for products—libido-boosting supplements, stimulants and even vacuum erection devices, also known as penis pumps—to address their impotency. 

In recent months, Daniel noticed a change in the demographic of his customer base—a growing number of customers struggling with ED are 40 years old or younger.

“For years, the men who bought ED devices and medications have been older.  But impotency is not just a problem for grey-haired older men in their 60s or 70s,” said Daniel. “Younger men are particularly embarrassed by the stigma associated with ED, which is why they don’t see their doctors and why our business is growing for men in their 20s and 30s.”

Daniel’s observation about trends in his customer base is supported by a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine; a survey revealed that one in four patients who seek medical help for erectile dysfunction are under the age of 40. Among the causes for the rise in the number of libido-challenged young men: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, poor diet, smoking, increased stress and even performance anxiety. Pollution appears to be another contributing factor. In the same JAM study, motor vehicle exhaust (VE), a major source of smog, soot in large cities, causes general health problems for residents, including heightened problems with sexual performance for men. Despite the growing problem, a small percentage of men are aware of the prevalence of their condition and lower still are the number of men who consult a urologist. According to the European Association of Urology, only 25 percent of men suffering from impotence seek medical treatment.

Stepping into this growing market is a slew of telemedicine startups including Hims and Roman,

Telemedicine companies that offer online prescriptions for Viagra and its lower-cost generic, called sildenafil.  The marketing campaigns for these new companies describe erectile dysfunction as a growing problem for younger men; a problem for which there is now more anonymous help available online.

“For every young man I've examined who has complained about ED, there are probably three other men too embarrassed to see a doctor,” said Dr. Steve Lovato, a San Francisco Bay Area physician who has seen an increase in men, younger than 40 years old, complaining about their faltering libidos. “While mail order medicine and devices help in the short term, I'd like to see more men overcome the stigma and see a physician because ED may be a symptom of much more serious problems, including heart disease.”

In the meantime, Daniel, the founders of Roma and Hims and other entrepreneurs in the “male-focused” mail order business will see their industry grow to more than $4.5 billion over the next six years as younger customers gain more weight, suffer from more stress, and are exposed to growing amounts of smog in the largest, most polluted cities. The number of men suffering from ED is expected to increase to 322 million by the year 2025.

To help young sufferers of ED find medical help, Daniel, the founder of The Enhanced Male, plans to launch a support center on his website and if possible, a long-term solution to their problem. 

“There are 50 million men in the U.S. suffering from ED and their numbers are growing,” said Daniel. “While we’d like to remove the taboo associated with ED and convince young men to visit a doctor, as long as they need anonymous help they can still find it online.”