Sexual problems

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This section explains where to go for help and advice if you are having sexual problems.

What is a sexual problem?

Sometimes both men and women can have problems that affect their sex life. These include:

  • loss of interest in sex
  • being unable to get or keep an erection
  • premature ejaculation (coming too soon)
  • pain during sexual intercourse or difficulty with penetration
  • difficulty having an orgasm.

Why do sexual problems occur?

Sexual problems can have physical or psychological causes, sometimes both. Physical reasons include illness, infection or side effects from medications. Psychological causes can be linked to relationship difficulties, uncertainties about your sexuality, and previous sexual experiences. Many sexual problems are temporary.

Where can I go for help and advice?

The first step is to talk to someone about your problem. This could be at your general practice, contraception, GUM or sexual health clinic or a helpline.

Some contraception services and some GUM and sexual health clinics offer psychosexual counselling. Your general practice may also be able to refer you to a counsellor on the NHS, but there might be a waiting list.

The following organisations have useful information and can help you access relationship and psychosexual counselling. Some might charge a fee for their services.


College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists

Sexual Advice Association