IN the perfect world, every time you get between the sheets will be a magical experience.
But in reality it doesn’t always work that way.
Lots of people will go through various problems throughout their life when it comes to sex.
Now health subscription brand EveAdam has uncovered the 10 most common difficulties encountered in bedrooms in the UK and in the US.
Their study involved analysis of Reddit threads compared with Google search data.
The findings revealed that erectile dysfunction was the most searched term at 286,000 searches per month.
And Cardiff was the city googling the term the most.
Here are the top 10 most common sex issues… and how to combat them:
1. Erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is very common – it affects about half of men aged between 40-70 year olds.
It can be a symptom of other medical conditions, such as diabetes or being at high risk of heart disease, so it’s important to talk to your doctor.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and clinical lead at Patient.info, told The Sun Online: “It’s also vital to remember that excess alcohol is an extremely common cause of ED.
“In recent years, several tablets have been developed to treat ED – Viagra is perhaps the best known but there are several others, which work for different lengths of time.
“They’re effective for about 4 in 5 men and are now available from many pharmacists, as well as on prescription.
“It’s really important not to be tempted by cheap email offers of ‘miracle cure’ tablets for ED – they’re often counterfeit, which means they may not work and can even be dangerous.”
Most women use contraception at some point.
There are dozens of different types, which may or may not include hormones.
Dr Jarvis said: “If your current contraception isn’t suiting you, it’s important to speak to your GP or family planning clinic.
“For instance, if you’re taking the contraceptive pill, it may be possible to change you to a different one which suits you better.
“Or you may prefer a long acting form of contraception such as the copper coil, a hormone-releasing coil or an implant, which you don’t need to remember to take every day or use every time you have sex.”
3. Vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness becomes much more common after the menopause, when levels of the female hormone oestrogen drop.
Dr Jarvis said: “If this is your main problem, a topical form of HRT, such as pessaries, gel or a vaginal ring, can often solve the problem.
“Several non-hormonal vaginal moisturisers are also available from the pharmacist.
“However, vaginal dryness can also arise because of lack of arousal or anxiety – if you think this might be the case, speak to your GP.”
4. Premature ejaculation
Premature ejaculation is common and isn’t due to a serious underlying medical condition.
Dr Jarvis said: “One of the most common causes is anxiety and it’s more common in younger men.
“Sometimes just relaxing and taking your time about sex is enough to solve the problem.
“Otherwise, there are creams and tablets available on prescription.”
Lots of women worry about conceiving, but often there is no cause for concern.
Many couples take several months to conceive, but six in seven will conceive within a year of trying and more than nine in 10 conceive within two years.
Dr Jarvis said: “If you have been having regular sex for at least a year, you and your partner should visit your doctor together.
“Your GP can arrange some tests to see if early referral to a specialist clinic is needed.
“If these tests are normal, your doctor won’t usually be able to refer you until you have been trying for at least two years.
“However, if you’re not having periods or have very irregular periods, or if the woman in the couple is over 36, you may be referred sooner.
“There are a variety of treatments depending on whether a cause (such as low sperm count or blocked fallopian tubes) is found.
“Being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, being physically inactive and smoking can all reduce your risk of conceiving.
“Getting into good physical shape may increase your chances of getting pregnant, and can certainly help you to have a healthy pregnancy.”
6. Pressure to conceive
Getting pregnant is your decision – ideally your decision as a couple.
Nobody else should have any say in when you start trying for a baby.
Dr Jarvis said: “If you feel friends or members of your family are trying to put pressure on you, speak to your partner and get their support for both of you to have a gentle chat with those people.
“If you’re feeling the pressure yourself – for instance if you’re trying to get pregnant and it’s not happening – the best thing you can do is remember that most people don’t get pregnant straight away.
“Many couples take several months to get pregnant and women who get pregnant the first time they try are the exception.
“Take steps to get yourself in good physical shape – stopping alcohol and smoking, exercising regularly, losing weight of you’re overweight, taking a daily folic acid supplement. And then enjoy trying!”
7. Performance anxiety
Performance anxiety is really common – it’s anxiety about performing a specific act or task, and one of the most common anxieties is in relation to sex.
It often leads to a vicious cycle… perhaps you had too much to drink on one occasion and couldn’t perform in the bedroom.
This preys on your mind and next time you’re planning to have sex, your anxiety level increases.
Anxiety makes it harder to get or keep an erection, so you can’t perform next time and so on.
Dr Jarvis said: “The best way to reduce performance anxiety is to relax and take things slowly, although this can be easier said than done.
“You may think that alcohol will help ‘loosen you up’ but actually, it can often have a negative impact on your ability to perform.
“If you’re worried about performing with your partner, talk to her about it – she may be really relieved, as she may believe you were avoiding sex because you’d gone off her.
“Set the tone with a romantic date, away from distractions and stresses, and take things slowly.
“If this doesn’t work, you may find it helpful to ban sex for a few weeks but still cuddle and be close – this takes the pressure off the need to get an erection, which may mean you’re more likely to achieve one.
“If it’s having a significant impact on your life, speak to your GP – sometimes counselling can help.”
8. Low libido
There are lots of reasons for low libido in both men and women.
Sometimes they’re hormonal – men may have low levels of testosterone, and low libido is common after the menopause in women.
“Relationship problems are a common cause – you may not feel like sex with your partner but fancy other people.” says Dr Jarvis.
“If you’re a man, continuing to get early morning erections can be a sign that there’s a psychological cause.
“Or it can be a symptom of depression.
“If it’s bothering you, speak to your GP – the treatment will depend on the cause.”
9. Body image issues
Body image issues have always been around but they have undoubtedly become more common with the rise in social media.
So many of us depend on ‘likes’ for our self esteem, and forget that the images other people put out on social media are doctored to look more beautiful.
Dr Jarvis said: “Taking some time off social media is sometimes all that is needed.
“However, it’s important to remember that poor body image is closely linked to eating disorders, and to be aware of the warning symptoms.
“Poor body image is also closely linked to depression – it can be a symptom or a cause of depression.
“If it’s affecting your life, speak to your GP – counselling may help you to identify what’s causing your body image issues and help you to become more realistic and realise you’re beautiful just as you are.”
10. Weak pelvic floor
Millions of women in the UK have weakness of their pelvic floor, which can lead to leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, run or jump.
Lots of factors – including childbirth, menopause, constipation and being overweight – can make it worse.
“For most women, regular pelvic floor exercises can make a major difference, and can sometimes solve the problem completely,” says Dr Jarvis.
“You’ll need to learn how to do them properly, and to do them regularly for several weeks before you notice a significant improvement.”