Potency has always been something special in human culture. Its effects even have been intertwined within early Common and Church laws in Europe. For instance, laws required that marriages be consummated; unconsummated marriages were grounds for annulment. Considering this happened in an age when divorce was extremely rare shows the magnitude of the “offense” of impotency.
Impotency at that time had far-reaching consequences, which included social stigmatization, societal standing within the community, and legal ramifications on such issues as claims on wills and considerations of the legitimacy of heirs. Although less drastic today, potency still plays a large part in men’s self-image and affects the relationship with their partners.
Before 1960, urologic therapy for erectile dysfunction (ED) was rare. ED was branded a psychiatric disorder with little surgical role. More recently, the pathophysiology of male sexual dysfunction has been elucidated, and both medical and surgical treatments of ED are now common.