Sexual Interest/ Arousal Disorder

Nichole D

What is Inhibited Sexual Desire?

Sexual Interest Disorder (or ISD), is defined as a medical condition with only one symptom: low sexual desire. A person with ISD seldem if ever engages in sexual activities. They do not initiate or respond to their partners sexual advances. This condition can also be known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, sexual aversion, or sexual apathy (Sandy Calhoun Rice, 2015).


ISD can be caused by many different factors that could be emotional or physical. Some physical causes can be:

  • drugs (alcohol, nicotine, narcotics, stimulants, antihypertensives, antihistamines, or most psychotherapeutic drugs)
  • complications related to back, prostate, or vascular surgeries
  • failure of various organ systems (such as the circulatory and respiratory systems)
  • endocrine disorders (thyroid, pituitary, or adrenal gland problems)
  • neurological problems caused by trauma (such as spinal cord injuries) or disease (such as diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, tumors, and, rarely, tertiary syphilis)
  • hormonal deficiencies (low testosterone or androgens); and some fetal development abnormalities

Emotional causes of ISD include:

  • interpersonal problems (marital/relationship troubles, lack of trust between partners)
  • individual's psychological problems (depression, sexual fears or guilt, past sexual trauma, and so on) (Today, 2014).

Treatments For ISD

Myths And Misconceptions About ISD

Myth #1: A woman's hormones are the main driver of her desire.

Fact: People assume that if a woman does not want sex it is her hormones. This is not the case. According to Juan J. Ramos, a doctor at the Miami Institute for Age Management and Intervention, "The biggest misconception is that low sexual desire is all hormonal; But libido is a lot more complex than that, and overlaps with every sphere of human experience, including vascular health, mental health, nutrition, body image, stress level, and the quality of your relationship generally."

Myth #2: Emotional intimacy guarantees a good sex life

Fact: According to Kathryn Hall, author of Reclaiming Your Sexual Self, "lots of couples get really emotionally intimate and their sex life tanks anyway. For many couples, emotional intimacy makes them feel like they're best friends—but doesn't feed their desire. For many people, a far greater turn-on than emotional intimacy is feeling desired. "The secret is to forget about doing what you think is normal, and instead embrace whatever it is that makes you feel fun and young and sexy," says Hall. "Feeling desired is a prelude to feeling desire" (Dixit, 2008).

To Find A Therapist Near You?

First look for a therapist with credentials through the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT)

When looking at potential therapists, WebMD suggests that you ask the following questions:

  • What is your educational background?
  • Are you involved in professional education work or training?
  • What is your approach to therapy? What will happen during the session? What kind of time commitment is necessary?
  • What are your fees?
  • Have you had experience treating the problem I have?
  • What do you require of me? (For example, some therapists will only see a person who is in a committed relationship) (Staff, 2015).

For more information please visit the link to the AASECT website below...


Association, A. P. (2015). Treatment for Sexual Problems. Retrieved from

Dixit, J. (2008, February 5). Myths About Low Sexual Desire. Retrieved from Psychology Today:

Sandy Calhoun Rice, S. K. (2015, November 23). Inhibited Sexual Desire. Retrieved from Healthline:

Staff, W. (2015). Searching for Sex Therapy. Retrieved from WebMD:

Today, P. (2014, November 24). Sexual Arousal Disorder. Retrieved from Psychology Today: