Nearly one in ten young men and one in eight young women in Britain who are sexually active have experienced a distressing sexual problem lasting at least three months in 2015, reveals a research.
"Our findings show that distressing sexual problems are not only experienced by older people in Britain they are, in fact, relatively common in early adulthood as well," said lead author Kirstin Mitchell, research student at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, in Britain.
The findings showed that among young women, the most common distressing problems reported were difficulty reaching a climax (6 per cent of sexually active women) and lacking interest in sex (5 per cent).
Difficulty getting and keeping an erection (3 per cent) and reaching a climax too quickly (5 per cent of sexually active men) has been the most common problem in young men.
"When it comes to young people's sexuality, professional concern is usually focussed on preventing sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. However, we should be considering sexual health much more broadly, as sexual difficulties can impact on young people's sexual wellbeing in the longer term," Mitchell added.
Further, over a third of young people (36 per cent of men and 42 per cent of women) who reported one or more sexual problems had sought help about their sex life, but this was rarely from a professional source.
They most commonly reported seeking help from family and friends, or the media and self-help sources including the internet.
Only 4 per cent of young men and 8 per cent of young women who reported a sexual problem had consulted a professional (such as a general practitioner, sexual health professional or psychiatrist) about their sex life, the study said.
Among those young people in the survey who had not had sex in the past year, 10 per cent said they had avoided doing so because of sexual difficulties that either they or their partner had experienced.
"If we want to improve sexual wellbeing, we need to reach people as they start their sex lives, otherwise a lack of knowledge, anxiety or shame might progress into lifelong sexual difficulties that can be damaging to sexual enjoyment and relationships," Mitchell stated.
For the study, the team analysed survey data from 1,875 sexually active and 517 sexually inactive participants aged 16 - 21 years old.
"Sex education is often silent on issues of sexual satisfaction, but these are clearly important to young people and should be addressed," noted Kaye Wellings, Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in Britain.
"Teaching young people the importance of communication and respect within relationships is also key to helping them understand and address problems that may occur in their sex lives," Wellings said.
Failing to address problems in early adulthood could potentially affect sexual happiness and relationships in the future, the researchers said in the paper published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
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