Sexual attitudes among young people contributing to unhealthy sex lives
Too many young women are finding sex a chore, not a pleasure, according to new research published by the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3). Their survey of the sexual health of 16-21-year-olds found that 44% of young women had experienced at least one sexual problem in the last year, affecting their ability to enjoy sex.
“This is very depressing data, which points to a failure to teach our children that sex should be enjoyable and empowering,” said Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker. “That is why we are calling on Theresa May to introduce mandatory sex and relationships education in all schools, delivered by specialist teachers, as part of our #100daysofMay campaign.”
The authors of the Natsal-3 research, which was carried out by academics from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), University College London and NatCen Social Research, are clear that early education is key to enjoying a healthy sex life. Lack of knowledge, anxiety or shame gives rise to lifelong sexual difficulties that damage both sexual enjoyment and adult relationships.
The research also identified significant differences between women and men: almost twice as many women as men said they lacked enjoyment in sex or felt anxious during sex, while 8% of women experienced no excitement or arousal during sex (compared with 3.2% of men).
“It is not surprising that young women and men experience sex differently, when study after study shows the impact that online pornography is having on young people’s attitudes to what ‘real’ sex looks like,” Walker said. “It is essential that we tackle these attitudes around pleasure, consent and respect through education.
“Right now, the support young people are given depends on where they live and many schools are failing to cover even the basics,” Walker continued. “We have given the Prime Minister until 22 October – her 100th day in office – to show her commitment to gender equality by confirming that she will make SRE compulsory for all children. This research proves again how urgently our young people need this.”
Published August 03, 2016