An award-winning international model whose chiseled features and confident swagger have made him a global sex symbol has spoken candidly about his crushing battle with erectile dysfunction.
Champ Imi had just turned 22 and was enjoying huge modeling success for big brands in Japan, Thailand and Italy when he parted ways with the woman he loved, leaving him heartbroken and returning seemingly impossible sex.
Because when Champ, now 28, of Manchester, decided to move on and get intimate with another woman, he was unable to perform.
He said: I was doing a lot of work where I was showing my muscles. I was meant to be this God of War style character, powerful and strong.
But, when it came to having sex, I just couldn’t do it. I thought: Oh my God, what’s happening to me? It was so surreal. I was afraid to have sex, 100%. I was happy to hug potential mates, but would make excuses so we didn’t come home together.
It became imprinted in my mind that I couldn’t have sex, so I avoided it.
Speaking to mark International Men’s Day today (November 19) and in support of Upjohn, the Men’s Health Forum and relationship expert Sarah Louise Ryans, the Time to Raise It campaign, which targets To eliminate the shame and stigma associated with erectile dysfunction, Champ wants men to stop suffering in silence.
Recalling how his own erection problems (PE) started after he and his ex-fiancé, whom he doesn’t want to name, split up, he said: It was a really intense relationship.
We moved into a flat in east London together after three months when I was 21 and she was 19. I then proposed when I was 22 years old.
She was an aspiring model at the time and I was already established, so I helped her with her portfolio. But our relationship started to fall apart when I traveled the world for work, he added.
As their romance crumbled, in mid-2014 Champ moved in with his aunt, housewife Saida Khan, nearby, before heading to Pakistan, where he is from, for a few months to spend. time with his family while his grief healed.
Returning to London later that year, he returned straight to the party scene and began dating a woman from Birmingham, whom he visited regularly.
Despite developing strong feelings for her, much to her horror, he couldn’t play when they were trying to have sex.
He said: It had never happened before. I didn’t even think this could happen to someone my age. I was in my prime at 22 and blamed it on stress.
I apologized to him. She knew I had been through a breakup, but I don’t know if she thought it had anything to do with it.
We were together for about four months and every time we started to get intimate the same thing happened. I couldn’t play, he continued.
I don’t think we’ve had sex properly all this time because of my erectile issues.
Although it is very young and PE typically affects men over 40, usually caused by stress, fatigue, anxiety, or heavy drinking, it can happen to men of all ages. , according to the NHS.
Meanwhile, a Mens Health Forum survey of 5,000 men found that 25% of participants suffered from PE when they were under 35.
It also found that around five million men in the UK experience PE, which may be linked to underlying health conditions like diabetes, but nearly a third, 27% , never talked about it.
Champ, who believes the stress of his grief triggered his own EP, said he was increasingly depressed and anxious about his sexual performance, but was too embarrassed to tell anyone that it would be.
He said: It was a horrible feeling. This is one of the worst things you can imagine. You intend to enjoy your youth, but your manhood tells you no.
Seeing a woman’s face change when she realized I couldn’t play was horrible.
Most of the women I dated were very nice and said, no, don’t worry. It happens.’
He continued. But there were times when I could tell they didn’t mean it, which made me feel a lot worse.
It was also very embarrassing if I met them again and it is not a pleasant situation.
Eventually, knowing that he needed to talk to someone about his sanity, Champ tried to bring up the topic of the PE with his pals.
He said: I pretended it was another of my comrades who had these problems.
But circling the issue didn’t help, and eventually he told his friend the truth on a drunken party in 2015 hoping he’d forgotten about the conversation in the morning.
He said: I spoke freely, because I knew that he would not remember anything, because he was drinking.
But I was amazed when he was really honest with me and told me about his own issues with EP, Champ said. After that, I spoke to him again when he was sober and felt so much more comfortable knowing that it wasn’t just me that had happened to him.
And, as soon as Champ started to relax, his privacy issues disappeared.
He said: It took me about six more months to realize that my EP could have been because I was heartbroken from my previous relationship.
Now enjoying a fruitful relationship with a girlfriend who would prefer to remain anonymous, Champ is flying high again.
Named Male Model of the Year 2020 by the Orion Star Award, he has a good work-life balance and a great sex life.
He said: When I have sex now, it’s fine. I have prepared my mind for this and accept that there is nothing wrong with me in any way.
Now I want other men with PE to come forward. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get help. It is a very natural thing and there is a solution to it. Rather than blaming yourself, discuss it with your doctor, or at least a friend, and talk it out, he says.
There is no shame in that and I know that if I had been more open and honest about my own EP, I wouldn’t have felt as bad as I did.
So speak up and be true to yourself.
For more information on EP, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/erection-problems-erectile-dysfunction/