Sexual Disorders

Interest, Desire, & Arousal by Traci Gould

Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

Men who experience male hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) have a little desire for fantasize about sex (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). They rarely initiate sexual activity with their partner and may avoid any sexual advances from their partner. In order for HSDD to truly be diagnosed it must be an issue that causes the person marked distress or interpersonal difficulty. Hypoactive sexual desire doesn’t have one known cause, but several possibilities. Causes may have been with a person all along or they may have happened suddenly. Lifelong HSDD has no known cause, but for HSDD to happen suddenly, there could be health reasons such as; lowered testosterone, or there could be psychological reasons. At times HSDD may be diagnosed as erectile disorder, because it is believed that all men have a healthy desire for sex all throughout their lives (Montgomery, 2008).

Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder

Women who experience female sexual interest/arousal disorder rarely engage in sexual fantasies or long for sex, but the flip side they do desire and enjoy sex (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). According to the DSM-5 lack of sexual interest or arousal are both combined into one diagnosis, which forms the female sexual interest/arousal disorder, this is because sexual interest or desire and sexual arousal seem to be more intimately connected to each other (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). In order to receive a diagnosis, one must have at least three of the following symptoms: “absent or significantly reduced interest in sexual activity, in sexual or erotic thoughts or fantasies, in initiation of sex or receptiveness to sex, in excitement or pleasure in most sexual encounters, in sexual responsiveness to erotic cues, or in genital or nongenital responses to sexual activity” (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Causes for female sexual interest/arousal disorder may have been with a person all along or they may have happened suddenly. Causes for this disorder include, hormonal issues, issues with the pelvic muscles, diabetes or relationship issues (Frank, 2008). A common myth that women are faced with when dealing with this disorder is spurred on by the pharmaceutical industry misleads women to believe that their sexual interest and arousal is inadequate and can be treated with the use of medicines (Clayton, 2014).

Erectile Disorder

Erectile Disorder (ED) in men involves the recurring inability to get and maintain an erection throughout sexual activity (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Causes may have been with a person all along or they may have happened suddenly. There could be medical issues that cause ED such as; diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or obesity. Depression, anxiety or relationship problems can be causes as well. Some myths regarding ED are, the belief that ED only happens when you are older, fact is, ED can happen at any age, but is more common in older men. Another is, once a man has ED there isn’t a way to stop it. Wrong, controlling sugar, getting regular exercise to help reduce weight and help your heart can be major improvements.


American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists. (n.d.). Certification Overview. Retrieved from:

Clayton, A./Huffington Post. (February 5, 2014). Women's low sexual desire is no medical myth. Retrieved from:

Frank, J./American Family Physician. (March 1, 2008). Diagnosis and treatment of female sexual dysfunction. Retrieved from:

Montgomery, K. A. (2008). Sexual Desire Disorders. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 5(6), 50–55.

Nolen-Hoeksema, S., (2014). Abnormal Psychology. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.

Sex Health Matters. (n.d.). Causes HSDD. Retrieved from:

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