Since most of us want intimacy in our lives, we'd like to think that once we get it, we'll be satisfied with it. But the truth is, dealing with sexual problems is really common. According to a study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UCL, and NatCen Social Research, 44 percent of sexually active women ages 16-21 have experienced a sexual problem lasting for three months or more over the past year. Young men also face this issue, with 34 percent of those in the study saying the same. One in eight women and one in 10 men reported a problem that caused them distress.
For women, the most common problems were difficulty reaching orgasm, which 21.3 percent reported, and lack of interest in sex, experienced by 22 percent of women. Other common problems were not enjoying sex, feeling anxious about sex, experiencing pain during sex, not getting aroused, and experiencing vaginal dryness or discomfort. Surprisingly, 3.9 percent of women said climaxing too quickly was an issue for them. As you might expect, though, that issue was a bit more common for men (13.2 percent), who also struggled with lack of interest in sex (10.5 percent), difficulty reaching climax (8.3 percent), and erectile dysfunction (7.8 percent).
As these data show, pretty much any sexual issue you might be struggling with is normal. A big part of overcoming these problems is shaking off the shame associated with them, Dr. Jennifer Caudle, Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine tells Bustle. If you're suffering from any of these problems, talk to your doctor about them. Chances are, they've heard it before. Talking to your partner can also help you not only overcome the issue but also grow closer with them.
It Could Be Your Partner
While the source of the problem will vary from person to person, if your issue is getting aroused or maintaining interest in sex, there's a chance it's not you — you could actually just be with the wrong person, says Caudle. Make sure you're genuinely into to your partner rather than settling for someone you're lukewarm about because you feel like you should be interested in them.
Check In With How You're Feeling
While you deserve to have the sex life you want, make sure you're working to overcome these issues because you genuinely want to, not just because you feel like you're abnormal or your sex life has to be the way sex is in porn or in the movies. For example, you don't have to orgasm every time you have sex. If you'd rather forget about that and focus on other parts of the experience, that's fine, too!
These Are Only Problems If You Think They Are
Sometimes, the pressure to orgasm or always want sex or get an erection — not the failure to achieve these things — is the real problem. "Understand that there are no rules about what is right and wrong," Caudle says, "and this will help take some of the pressure off." Sexual problems are only "problems" if you think they are, and that'll depend entirely on who you are and what you want.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy(2)