Sex is meant to natural and fun, but for some, physical and psychological issues can make the act feel forced and stressful. Although society may be quick to associate sexual dysfunction as an issue for older couples, a recent British study has found that a third of young adults also experience sexual problems.

Among sexually active 16-21 year-olds in Great Britain, 34 percent of men and 44 percent of women experienced one or more sexual problems lasting at least three months in the last year.The most common sexual problems for women include difficulty reaching climax (6 per cent) and being disinterested in sex (5 per cent), The Independent reported. For men, the most common distressing problems included climaxing too quickly (5 per cent) and difficulty getting and keeping an erection (3 per cent). In addition to the physical symptoms, emotional and psychological effects were also attached to sexual dysfunction as 9 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women told researchers that they had been left feeling distressed by a sexual problem in the last year.

“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 Dr. Kirstin Mitchell, The Independent reported.

Although concerns about preventing sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies among young adults is important, Mitchell believes her finding show just how important the issue of sexual satisfaction in young people. Unfortunately, the study also found that just four person of men and eight percent of women who experienced these physical and emotional sexual problems sought professional help.

“Education is required, and counseling should be available, to prevent lack of knowledge, anxiety, and shame progressing into lifelong difficulties,” the study concluded.

In addition to talking to a health professional about sexual difficulties , other research has suggested that experience may help ward off some sexual problems, especially those that have emotional rather than physical origins.

“The more often you have sex, the more confident you become about having it — both your own ability and the ability of the relationships in which you’re having the sex," April Masini , relationship expert and author previously told Medical Daily in an email.

Source: Mitchell KR, Geary R, Graham C, et al. Sexual Function in 16-21-Year-Olds in Britain. Journal of Adolescent Health . 2016

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