Help-seeking for sexual difficulties and the potential role of interactive digital interventions: findings from the third British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles

Hobbs, L. J., Mitchell, K. R. , Graham, C. A., Trifonova, V., Bailey, J., Murray, E., Prah, P. and Mercer, C. H. (2019) Help-seeking for sexual difficulties and the potential role of interactive digital interventions: findings from the third British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. Journal of Sex Research, 56(7), pp. 937-946. (doi:10.1080/00224499.2019.1586820) (PMID:30907691) (PMCID:PMC6816537)

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Abstract

Sexual difficulties are common and can negatively impact health and well-being. A wide range of support is available, but there are multiple barriers to accessing help. Interactive digital interventions (IDIs) for sexual difficulties have the potential to provide a convenient, wide-reaching, and cost-effective source of support, but little is known about who might use them. We explored the potential reach of IDIs by assessing the prevalence of help-seeking among people with distressing sexual difficulties, including who seeks which sources of help. Data came from sexually active men and women, ages 16 to 74, participating in Britain’s third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) (N = 11,637). Help/advice was sought by less than half of those with distressing sexual difficulties, and help-seeking was associated with younger age in women but not men. The most popular sources of support were family doctor (47.5% to 54.8%), Internet (22.0% to 25.6%), and family/friend (20.7% to 41.8%), with older participants (≥ 35), particularly men, preferring to seek help from a family doctor, and younger participants (<35) preferring to seek help from the Internet or family/friend. Despite a paucity of good digital support sites for sexual function, the Internet is a common source of help. As Internet access continues to increase, so too does the potential for well-designed IDIs to support those with sexual difficulties.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mitchell, Professor Kirstin
Authors: Hobbs, L. J., Mitchell, K. R., Graham, C. A., Trifonova, V., Bailey, J., Murray, E., Prah, P., and Mercer, C. H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Sex Research
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:0022-4499
ISSN (Online):1559-8519
Published Online:25 March 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Sex Research 56(7): 937-946
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
SPSHU11

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