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One in Six Report Health Affects Sex Life

Update Date: Dec 17, 2013 02:06 PM EST

Physical health can greatly affect other aspects of life. For example, people with more physical health are less likely to want to partake in social events, which could harm their mental health. In a new study, researchers found that around one in every six men and women reported that their health negatively affected their sexual life.

In this study, the researchers from Britain used data from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), which collects data on people's overall health and their sexual life. The researchers from UCL (University College London), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and NatCen Social Research, found that 17 percent of men and women stated that their physical health harmed their sexual life. Around 24 percent of men and 18 percent of women sought medical help, usually from a general practitioner.

Overall, the researchers found that 60 percent of men and women reported bad health. Around 60 percent of the people stated that they were satisfied with their sexual life. When researchers looked at the relationship between health and age, they found that the proportion of people who had sex recently, which was defined as the past four weeks, decreased as age increased. The proportion of people who had sex recently also decreased as reports of bad health increased.

"Our findings indicate that many patients with chronic ill-health are well aware of an effect of their health on their sex lives, but most (over three quarters) do not seek help from health professionals. This suggests a need to raise awareness, improve guidance, and build communication skills among health professionals in talking to patients who may be concerned about how their health affects their sex life," the study's lead author Dr. Nigel Field, of UCL said.

Based on the findings, the researchers stressed the importance of addressing sexual issues by health care professionals. Furthermore, the researchers stated that physicians should consider giving sexual advice to their patients as well. The study was published in The Lancet.

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