Sex problems & celibacy common for the Tinder generation, reports find

© Lucy Nicholson
Significant numbers of young British men and women experience distressing problems relating to sex, such as anxiety, inability to climax, or lack of interest, an in-depth study has found.

Some 44.4 percent of sexually active young women aged 16 to 21 and a third (33.8 percent) of young men reported experiencing at least one sexual problem which lasted for at least three months, according to the survey.

The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) report found that young people experience problems almost as much as older people.

Its publication follows a report by San Diego State University, in California, which found millennials are increasingly practicing celibacy in their early 20s.

Natsal-3 surveyed 1,875 sexually active and 517 sexually inactive men and women aged 16 to 21.

The most common problem for women was difficulty in reaching climax, which over a fifth (21.3 percent) of female participants said they experienced.

Other common sexual problems experienced by women included lacking enjoyment in sex (9.8 percent), feeling physical pain as a result of sex (9 percent), and feeling anxious during sex (8 percent).

For young men, reaching a climax too quickly was the most common problem, which 13.2 percent said they experienced. Other problems included difficulty keeping an erection (7.8 percent) and lacking enjoyment in sex (5.4 percent).

Lead author Dr Kirstin Mitchell said: “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.”

A similar report on sexual attitudes published by academics at San Diego State University found young people in their early 20s are less sexually active than preceding generations.

Researchers found that 15 percent of 20 to 24-year-olds reported they had not had a sexual partner since they were 18. The same figure for Generation X – those born from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s – was just 6 percent.

Psychology professor Jean Twenge, who worked on the study, said: “Online dating apps should, in theory, help millennials find sexual partners more easily.

However, technology may have the opposite effect if young people are spending so much time online that they interact less in person, and thus don’t have sex.

Twenge added that media reports about sexual abuse at universities in the US may also be turning people to celibacy.

This is a very risk-averse generation, and that attitude may be influencing their sexual choices,” she said.