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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

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
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
Sexual difficulties are common and can negatively impact health and wellbeing. 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 their potential reach 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 aged 16-74 participating in Britain’s third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (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 (47.5-54.8%), Internet (22.0-25.6%), and family/friend (20.7-41.8%), with older participants (≥35), particularly men, preferring to seek help from a family doctor, and younger (<35) 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.
0022-4499
Hobbs, Lorna
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Mitchell, Kirstin R.
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Graham, Cynthia
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Trifonova, Viktoriya
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Bailey, Julia
e3ac6f71-de4e-4031-91f4-884643dfcd4d
Murray, Elizabeth
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Prah, Phil
c65833db-3291-4e1c-ae10-dcdba57d24ff
Mercer, Catherine
12e314bb-7543-4f77-b01f-a379defb78b7
Hobbs, Lorna
20b5bd76-a613-4c3e-baee-fe80679335f0
Mitchell, Kirstin R.
525c7c26-d6b5-4cd2-9ab5-10b20a07d200
Graham, Cynthia
ac400331-f231-4449-a69b-ec9a477224c8
Trifonova, Viktoriya
214fd68a-9220-4eaa-b8ed-39f09d5660f5
Bailey, Julia
e3ac6f71-de4e-4031-91f4-884643dfcd4d
Murray, Elizabeth
e08c6b00-813f-4dcb-93b9-fb1782ab23dd
Prah, Phil
c65833db-3291-4e1c-ae10-dcdba57d24ff
Mercer, Catherine
12e314bb-7543-4f77-b01f-a379defb78b7

Hobbs, Lorna, Mitchell, Kirstin R., Graham, Cynthia, Trifonova, Viktoriya, Bailey, Julia, Murray, Elizabeth, Prah, Phil and Mercer, Catherine (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. (doi:10.1080/00224499.2019.1586820).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Sexual difficulties are common and can negatively impact health and wellbeing. 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 their potential reach 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 aged 16-74 participating in Britain’s third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (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 (47.5-54.8%), Internet (22.0-25.6%), and family/friend (20.7-41.8%), with older participants (≥35), particularly men, preferring to seek help from a family doctor, and younger (<35) 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.

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Hobbs Natsal 3 FINAL Accepted - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 19 May 2020.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 19 February 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 March 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428465
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428465
ISSN: 0022-4499
PURE UUID: 5b3c9c87-a7cf-4890-b2e0-eef32da6a81e
ORCID for Cynthia Graham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7884-599X

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Date deposited: 28 Feb 2019 17:30
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 00:43

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Contributors

Author: Lorna Hobbs
Author: Kirstin R. Mitchell
Author: Cynthia Graham ORCID iD
Author: Viktoriya Trifonova
Author: Julia Bailey
Author: Elizabeth Murray
Author: Phil Prah
Author: Catherine Mercer

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