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COMMENTARY: Subclinical Erectile Dysfunction: Proposal for a Novel Taxonomic Category in Sexual Medicine


Emmanuele A. Jannini, University of L’Aquila—Department of Experimental Medicine Via Vetoio Coppito, L’Aquila 67100, Italy. Tel: +39 (0) 433530; Fax: +39 (0) 433523; E-mail:;


The definition of erectile dysfunction currently used and accepted worldwide does not encompass all possible changes to male erection. Partial, temporary, or episodic absence of erection is not considered as true erectile dysfunction. This leads to a lack of diagnosis and therapy and perhaps even the risk of the subsequent development of overt impotence. The lack of an evidence-based diagnosis of such a condition may be due to the widespread, pernicious self-prescription of erection drugs, obtained from the illegal market. To define the pathological condition of men experiencing a lack of erection who are unaffected by erectile dysfunction, we propose herein a new taxonomic category, based on new sexological criteria. In addition, we suggest research into biochemical markers to define this condition, which we have named subclinical erectile dysfunction. Jannini EA, Lenzi A, Isidori A, and Fabbri A. Subclinical erectile dysfunction: Proposal for a novel taxonomic category in sexual medicine. J Sex Med 2006;3:787–794.