Erectile dysfunction affects more than 26 percent of Chinese men according a new study — compared with just 18 percent of men in the U.S., The China Daily reported Monday.

And the condition was more prevalent in men aged over 40 years — with 40 percent admitting to impotence, researchers with the Chinese Medical Association found.

Wang Xiaofeng, director of the urology surgery department with Peking University People's Hospital, presented the findings — based on surveys conducted in 11 major cities — during the Fifth China Andrology Forum in Beijing over the weekend, according to a report from the China News Service.

Wang said the condition was psychological for most sufferers and that only 7.2 percent had a purely physical problem.

In comparison, according to U.S. media HealthDay, just 18.4 percent of men in the U.S. had erectile dysfunction according to a 2007 study.

The news comes after a 2009 survey that rated China 11th out of 13 Asian countries for sex life satisfaction.

Wang said 83 percent of men suffering erectile dysfunction had never sought medical advice and he blamed poor public awareness and the underlying social stigma related to the condition.

The shame associated with the problem was highlighted in December when a Chinese man suffering from erectile dysfunction killed his wife after she teased him him for being unable to make love.

A high-quality sex life is an indispensable part of a happy life and an increasing number of Chinese are starting to recognize that, Wang said.

He urged sufferers to seek medical advice and said lifestyle changes including getting more exercise and giving up smoking could help prevent the condition.

Many sufferers had a least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, poor cholesterol levels and smoking, he said.

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