An award-winning international fashion model whose chiseled features and confident swagger have made him a global sex symbol has spoken candidly about his confidence-crushing battle with erectile dysfunction.
Champ Imi had just turned 22 and was enjoying tremendous success as a model for major brands in Japan, Thailand and Italy when he broke up with the woman he loved – leaving him heartbroken and making sex seemingly impossible.
Because when Champ, now 28, from Manchester decided to move on and get intimate with another woman, he couldn’t perform.
He said, “I did a lot of work showing my muscles. I was meant to be this God of War style character, which was powerful and strong.
‘But when it came to sex, I just couldn’t. I thought, ‘Oh my God, what’s happening to me?’ It was so unreal. I got scared to have sex, 100 percent. I was happy to kiss potential partners, but would make excuses so we wouldn’t go home together.
“It hit my mind that I couldn’t have sex, so I avoided it.”
Speaking today on International Men’s Day (Nov. 19) and in support of Upjohn, Men’s Health Forum and relationship expert Sarah Louise Ryan’s Time to Raise It campaign, which aims to break down the shame and stigma associated with erectile problems Champ wants men to stop suffering in silence.
Recalling how his own erectile problems (EP) started after he and his former fiancé, whom he doesn’t want to name, broke 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.”
“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, Champ moved in with his aunt, housewife Saida Khan, nearby in mid-2014, before traveling for a few months to Pakistan, where he is originally from, to spend time with his family while his broken heart healed. .
When he returned to London later that year, he immediately jumped back into the party scene and began dating a woman from Birmingham, whom he would visit regularly.
Despite developing strong feelings for her, to his horror, he was unable to act when they tried to make love.
He said, “This had never happened before. I didn’t think this could even happen to anyone my age. I was in my prime when I was 22 and I put it down to stress.
‘I apologized to her. She knew I had a breakup, but I don’t know if she thought that had anything to do with it. “
“We were together for about four months and every time we started getting intimate the same thing happened. I couldn’t perform, ”he continued.
“I don’t think we’ve had proper intercourse all the time because of my erectile dysfunction.”
Although he was very young and EP typically affects men over 40 – usually caused by stress, fatigue, anxiety, or drinking too much alcohol – it can happen in men of all ages, according to the NHS.
Meanwhile, a Men’s Health Forum survey of 5,000 men found that 25 percent of the participants suffered from EP, despite being under the age of 35.
It also found that an estimated five million men in the UK EP have experience, which may be linked to underlying health conditions such as diabetes, but nearly a third – 27 percent – have never spoken about it.
Champ, who believes the stress caused by his heartbreak triggered his own EP, said he was getting more and more depressed and anxious about his sexual performance, but was too embarrassed to tell anyone.
He said, “It was a terrible feeling. It’s one of the worst things you can imagine. You are meant to abuse your youth, but your manhood is saying no to you.
‘To see a woman’s face change when she realized I couldn’t perform was horrible.
“Most of the women I date were very nice and said, ‘No, don’t worry. It happens.'”
He went on. But there were times when I knew they weren’t meaning it that made me feel a lot worse.
“It was also very uncomfortable meeting them again and it’s not a pleasant situation to be in.”
Finally, knowing he needed to talk to someone for the sake of sanity, Champ tried to bring up the topic of EP with his friends.
He said, “I pretended it was another partner of mine who had these problems.”
But circling the matter didn’t help, and he finally told his friend the truth on a drunken night out in 2015 – hoping he’d forgotten about the conversation by morning.
He said, “I spoke up because I knew he wouldn’t remember anything since he had been drinking.”
“But I was surprised when he was really honest with me and told me his own problems with EP,” said Champ. “Then I spoke to him again when he was sober and was so much more comfortable knowing that I hadn’t just happened to me.”
And as soon as Champ began to relax, his problems with intimacy disappeared.
He said, “It took me about six months to realize that my EP could have been because I was heartbroken by my previous relationship.”
Now enjoying a successful relationship with a girlfriend who prefers to remain anonymous, Champ is flying high again.
Voted Orion Star Award Male Model of the Year 2020, he has a healthy work-life balance and a great sex life.
He said, “If I have sex now, it’s fine. I have prepared my mind for it and I accept that there is nothing wrong with me in any way. “
“Now I want other men to come forward with EP. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek help. It is very natural and there is a solution to it. Instead of blaming yourself, talk to your doctor, or at least a friend, and talk about it, ”he said.
“There is no shame in it 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 do.
“So say something and be true to yourself.”
For more information about EP, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/erection-problems-erectile-dysfunction/