• Lover, a sexual wellness app partially funded by the founder of Tinder, treats erectile dysfunction with mental exercises instead of medication.
  • Surveying 148 of their users, they found that 62% of them saw improvements in their erections.
  • This comes close to the 70% of people who see improvements in their erections using pills like Viagra.
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Boosting "erection confidence" may be the key to treating erectile dysfunction without medication like Viagra, according to a small new survey from Lover, a sexual wellness app, partially funded by the founder of Tinder.

Lover is designed to eliminate the pressure on people with penises to maintain their erection to have successful sex. Users get access to a series of videos explaining performance anxiety, with tips on how to communicate during sex, and motivational clips aiming to disrupt the idea that penises need to be erect to have good sex.

Erectile dysfunction impacts 5% of men under 40, but that number increases to 15% once they hit 70, according to the University of Washington. For most, the obvious answer to such a diagnosis will be a little blue pill.

However, Lover's survey, of 148 men who completed its three-week program, found 62% of them reported improvements in their erections. This comes close to the 70% of people who see results from common ED medications like Viagra, according to Harvard Health.

Poor erection confidence is a 'self-fulling prophecy'

According to Dr. Britney Blair, Chief Science Officer of Lover and a clinical psychologist, many times when people with penises have their first experience with erectile dysfunction, their immediate reaction is panic.

"After this first experience, they may become anxious about their next sexual encounter fearing that they will again lose or not even be able to obtain an erection," Blair said. "This then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy which can lead to even more performance anxiety/pressure and often avoidance of any sexual encounter."

Unfortunately, confidence is not the same as determination.

"If I were to hold a gun to your head and tell you to clap your hands and stomp your feet, no problem, as that is an active process," Blair said. "You have some control. If I were to take the same gun and ask you to obtain an erection - or have an orgasm so those without penises can relate - it would never happen."

Lover

Users fill out a survey, then get personalised advice

The exercises provided by Lover's treatment are meant to get people to understand erections naturally wax and wane so that they can get out of their heads and focus on pleasure.

Users take a sexual personality quiz to assess their sexual style, and receive a "personality type" (e.g. "The Adventurer") describing how they are in relationships and in the bedroom.

Based on their results, they will then receive a series of videos, podcasts, and motivational phrases that cater to their specific sexual needs - free for a week, then $9.99 (around R170) a month.

"We go into the many ways of experience and providing pleasure that do not require an erect penis or even a penis at all," Blair told Insider.

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