Want to prevent sexual dysfunction? Then you should exercise, say researchers at the University of Thessaloniki’s Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Research has shown that exercise considerably reduces the problems of erectile dysfunction, which will affect 322 million men around the world by 2025. Conservative estimates put the percentage of Greek men between 40-69 years of age who experience erectile dysfunction at 9 percent. Yet in this country, sexual health remains a taboo subject for discussion. On average, it will take Greek women 37 months to seek help for any sexual problem, and Greek men, 25.3 months. This year alone, over 2,150 calls were received by the telephone hot line (0310.999099) set up by Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health in order to provide information and psychological support to people with sexual problems (9,700 have been received in all). Seventy-eight percent of all calls are from men, of whom 49 percent were suffering from erectile dysfunction, 14 percent from premature ejaculation and the rest from fertility problems, venereal disease and so forth. Of the women who phoned, 18 percent complained of difficulty in achieving orgasm, 13 percent of relationship trouble and 11 percent of reduced libido. Nevertheless, in contrast to men, most women phone in order to ask about issues that concern their partner. In these instances as well, erectile dysfunction predominates. Clearly, Greeks avoid having recourse to experts. But, according to the center’s head, Dimitris Hadzichristos, three out of 10 also avoid discussing the issue with their partners. Major factors responsible for erectile dysfunction are diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and, of course, smoking. The deployment of the Greek contingent due to join the British-led peacekeeping force in Afghanistan is now well under way after the first shipment of military vehicles and earth-moving machinery was flown into the Afghan capital yesterday afternoon. The first batch of peacekeepers – 49 men and officers – are due to arrive in Kabul today. The men, who left Thessaloniki on Sunday, will be joined by another 128 Greeks over the next two weeks.