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Sexual Function in 16- to 21-Year-Olds in Britain.

Mitchell, KR; Geary, R; Graham, C; Clifton, S; Mercer, CH; Lewis, R; Macdowall, W; ... Wellings, K; + view all (2016) Sexual Function in 16- to 21-Year-Olds in Britain. Journal of Adolescent Health , 59 (4) pp. 422-428. 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.05.017. Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Concern about young people's sexuality is focused on the need to prevent harmful outcomes such as sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. Although the benefit of a broader perspective is recognized, data on other aspects of sexuality, particularly sexual function, are scant. We sought to address this gap by measuring the population prevalence of sexual function problems, help seeking, and avoidance of sex in young people. METHODS: A cross-sectional stratified probability sample survey (Natsal-3) of 15,162 women and men in Britain (response rate: 57.7%), using computer-assisted self-interviews. Data come from 1875 (71.9%) sexually active, and 517 sexually inactive (18.7%), participants aged 16-21 years. Measures were single items from a validated measure of sexual function (the Natsal-SF). RESULTS: Among sexually active 16- to 21-year-old participants, 9.1% of men and 13.4% of women reported a distressing sexual problem lasting 3 months or more in the last year. Most common among men was reaching a climax too quickly (4.5%), and among women was difficulty in reaching climax (6.3%). Just over a third (35.5%) of men and 42.3% of women reporting a problem had sought help, but rarely from professional sources. Among those who had not had sex in the last year, just >10% of young men and women said they had avoided sex because of sexual difficulties. CONCLUSIONS: Distressing sexual function problems are reported by a sizeable minority of sexually active young people. Education is required, and counseling should be available, to prevent lack of knowledge, anxiety, and shame progressing into lifelong sexual difficulties.

Type: Article
Title: Sexual Function in 16- to 21-Year-Olds in Britain.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.05.017
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.05.017
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Avoidance of sex, Early adulthood, Help seeking, Population survey, Prevalence, Sexual dysfunction, Sexual function problems, Sexual well-being, Young people
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1508907
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