Image credit: iStock/KatarzynaBialasiewicz Image credit: iStock/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

A large number of young people have admitted to having sexual problems, according to a new study. Problems ranging from anxiety during sex, pain and not being able to climax are being increasingly experienced by those aged between 16 and 21.

The latest National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles study revealed that a third (33.8 per cent) of sexually active males aged between 16 and 21 and just under half (44.4 per cent) women in the same age group have experienced at least one problem when it comes to enjoying sex lasting for a minimum of three months.

These results suggest that young people require help with sexual function as well as when it comes reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy. It seems that they experience issues with sexual enjoyment as much as older people.

According to the report, the most common issue for young women is the inability to climax, with only 21.3 per cent saying they had achieved orgasm. Other issues included not enjoying sex (9.8 per cent), feeling pain due to sex (nine per cent) and an uncomfortably dry vagina (8.5 per cent), lack of arousal (eight per cent) and feeling anxious (eight per cent).

For young men, the biggest issue was climaxing too quickly (13.2 per cent). This was followed by being unable to climax (8.3 per cent), difficulty getting or maintaining an erection (7.8 per cent), not enjoying sex (7.8 per cent) and feeling anxious while having sex (4.8 per cent).

Dr Kirstin Mitchell, lead author of the study, said: “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.

“If we want to improve sexual wellbeing in the UK population, 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."