The Asian Erectile Dysfunction Advisory Council and Training (EDACT) Group's latest survey may use rather vivid imagery to describe its subjects' manhood, but one physician said the measurements work.
EDACT conducted a telephone survey of 1,009 Taiwanese men and then classified each man's manhood in one of four groups -- cucumbers, bananas, peeled bananas and conjac jelly.
These groups are supposed to correspond to the erection hardness score (EHS) which goes from one to four, according to Huang Yi-sheng (黃一勝), chief physician at Shinkong Hospital's urology department.
"It's a rough and ready measure, but it corresponds quite well to more sophisticated indices such as the IIEF or the QEQ," Huang told a press conference sponsored by Pfizer, the makers of Viagra.at a press conference, yesterday.
IIEF is the International Index of Erectile Function and the QEQ stands for the Quality of Erection Questionnaire. Huang did not mention whether either of those scales also have their vegetable equivalents.
Seventy-four percent of Taiwanese men fall into the "cucumber" category according to the survey, meaning that they have no erectile dysfunction. Twenty-three percent were designated as "unpeeled bananas," meaning they suffer mild dysfunction, but are still able to have penetrative sex.
"Peeled bananas," at 2 percent, and "conjac jellies," at 1 percent of the population, have moderate and severe erectile dysfunction respectively.
"The old thinking is that if you can maintain penile erection, you do not have erectile dysfunction; the new understanding is related to satisfactory sexual performance" said Andrew McCullough, associate professor of urology at New York University School of Medicine, speaking at the same news conference.
"Those with mild erectile dysfunction might be having sex almost as often as those without erectile dysfunction. The difference comes in their and their partner's level of satisfaction," McCullough said. "We used to tell those patients not to worry. But now, with the new generation of erectile dysfunction drugs, it makes no sense not to help them."
When asked whether those with mild erectile dysfunction might try other measures to improve their sex life before turning to medication, McCullough said "Of course."
"Exercise, smoking cessation and being more spontaneous with your partner can all be very helpful," he said. "But ultimately it is very hard to change human behavior."