Few people seek help for s_x problems

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Researchers have found a large proportion of men and women are suffering from sexual problems but smaller numbers seek help from their doctor.

Figures in two studies showed sexual problems were reported by up to 54% of women.

Earlier this year drug companies were accused of helping to invent a new medical disorder known as "female sexual dysfunction" to build new markets for their products.

But the latest independent research suggested that sexual problems may be even more common than previously thought.

The two surveys looking at so-called 'sexual dysfunction' showed the most common problems included lack of interest in s_x, premature orgasm, anxiety about performance, inability to orgasm and painful intercourse.

The first study, published in the British Medical Journal, surveyed 1,065 women and 447 men at 13 general practices across London.

The researchers found that 22% of men and 40% of women were diagnosed with a sexual problem.

A second study in this week's BMJ, based on the results of the national survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles (Natsal) showed an even higher level of sexual problems.

It found that 35% of men and 54% of women had at least one sexual problem lasting a month or longer.

More persistent problems, lasting more than six months, were much less common.

The survey found that 33% of men and 62% of women avoided having s_x because of their problems.

And only 11% of men and 21% of women sought help for their sexual difficulties.

The researchers said the data had implications for improving relationship counselling, education for doctors and raising public awareness of the services available for managing problems.

They also said there was a need to re-examine the nature of "sexual dysfunction" and how to tackle it.
 
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