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Can a Vasectomy Lead to Erectile Dysfunction?

Actually, it’s the exact opposite: There’s overwhelming evidence that getting snipped can significantly improve the sex lives of men and their partners

Vasectomies, which have a 99 percent success rate, are considered to be the most effective form of birth control. And yet, it’s estimated that only one out of 10 men in the U.S. get the procedure, which is about half the rate of the U.K. and Canada, with some studies suggesting that that number is on the decline as well.  

So what’s keeping American men who don’t want to get their partner pregnant from getting snipped? Some researchers speculate that concerns about erectile dysfunction may be to blame. 

“Many patients are concerned about the association between vasectomy and sexual function and worry that the quality of their sexual lives might be affected after surgery,” researchers wrote in a meta-analysis of 20 studies on the topic back in 2020. The thing is, they found pretty much the exact opposite to be true: Several studies confirmed that men who had undergone a vasectomy had “markedly improved erectile function, orgasms and sexual satisfaction and feel safer and more confident in their sexual lives after surgery.”

Female partners, too, reported improvements with their recently snipped men, especially in terms of orgasm, libido and lubrication. The researchers also uncovered evidence that men with vasectomies got laid more often than men without them. Or rather, “Men who had undergone a vasectomy experienced more instances of sexual contact per month than men who had not undergone a vasectomy.” 

Of course, that isn’t to say that there’s no risk of complications, but the researchers note that these risks are relatively low — around one to two percent. And they generally involve temporary infection or scrotal pain, not ED. “There’s basically no concern regarding worsening cases of erectile dysfunction afterwards because erections and sperm creation are two separate mechanisms,” explains Darshan Patel, a urologist at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine who wasn’t associated with the meta-analysis.

In fact, for men who struggle sexually after a vasectomy, performance anxiety may be a more likely culprit than physiological problems. Some studies have shown that vasectomies might cause an increase in anxiety or depression, but researchers speculate that this is mostly due to a lack of education about how safe the procedure is, as well as inadequate access to mental-health counseling. (For his part, Patel recommends therapy to men struggling sexually post-snip.)

Because again, physically you’re gonna be fine — if anything, better than ever.