Stress caused by work difficulties, financial worries and tiredness are said to affect up to 15million Britons. Their subsequent lack of desire in the bedroom is putting their relationships in danger.
The pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk UK in collaboration with Relate carried out a survey of 2,037 over-16s. In the survey, 50 percent people reported stress or medical issues had affected their sex lives with loss of libido or discomfort the biggest problems.
However, three in five admitted to struggling when it came to discussing their personal problems. Denise Knowles, a relationship counsellor with Relate, said: "This research really emphasises the extent to which sexual problems, including stress, take on a bigger significance within the relationship.
"I have worked with many couples who are so embarrassed about intimate health complaints that it has caused a huge breakdown in communication and put serious pressure on the relationship. Talking to a partner or a professional candidly about the issue is not easy, but it may save a great deal of emotional strain," Knowles added.
In the survey, it was found that women aged over 55 were most susceptible to sexual health problems. Seven out of ten in this group reported that their age had left them suspecting their partner found them unattractive.
Less than half of the respondents reported that they regularly discussed their sex lives. Dr Annie Evans, a women's health specialist at Nuffield Hospital in Bristol, said: "Sometimes it's easier to ignore sexually-related health problems than to address them.
"However, it's important to seek advice and help, as many treatments are available. "By ignoring physical symptoms, both men and women leave themselves at risk of the problems becoming more serious and less easy to put right," Dr. Evans added.