Not in the Mood? Unsure Why?

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) Could be to Blame

What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

More than 40% of women report little to no interest in sex at some point during their lives (Simon, 2013). A lack of interest in sexual activities does not mean you are sexually dysfunctional, but when this lack of interest is causing distress in your life, you could be diagnosed with HSDD (Hook, 2014).


Both men and women can be diagnosed with HSDD, however studies suggest that women are diagnosed more than double the amount of men, (Mayo, 2014) with roughly 12% of women and 5% of men in any given population being diagnosed, but this number may be extremely low, as these are only reported cases (Hook, 2014).

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Most Common Symptoms of HSDD

  • Diminished libido, or dwindling sex drive (Mayo, 2014);
  • Complete lack of sexual desire (Hook, 2014);
  • Changes in libido resulting in disinterest in sex for long periods of time, or on a reoccurring basis (Simon, 2013).

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF HSDD

  • Hormones - Hormone levels can change during a person's life. Hormone changes are most prevalent in middle-aged women, especially during or after menopause but they can occur at any time (Simon, 2013). Men can also experience hormone changes that can interfere with their sexual desire (Hook, 2014).
  • Emotional or Mental Health Issues - These issues can be sexually related such sexual communication or sexual performance issues (Hook, 2014); issues such as partner dissatisfaction (Simon, 2013); general life stress (Hook, 2014); or even deeply rooted psychological problems such as self-esteem, body image issues or depression (Hook, 2014; Simon, 2013).
  • Physical Health Conditions - Conditions such as arthritis, hypothyroidism, menopause, heart disease, and diabetes (Hook, 2014).
  • Medications - There are various medications that can interfere with a person's sexual function, including desire (Mayo, 2014). Some pharmaceuticals known to interfere with sexual desire include morphine, codeine, chemotherapy drugs, some anti-anxiety drugs, some anti-depression drugs, and some psychoactive drugs (Hook, 2014; Mayo, 2014).
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Common Myths and Misperceptions of HSDD

  • HSDD is extremely rare, and only freaks are diagnosed with it - HSDD is an extremely common condition (Pollets, 2008) Some studies report between 10-51% of women surveyed in various countries to have been diagnosed with this disorder (Pollets, 2008).
  • There is no hope once a woman has had a baby or gone through "the change" (menopause) - This is not true, just talk to your doctor about your concerns, there are various things that can be done to improve libido (Discovery, 2013).
  • HSDD is a female problem only - This is not the case at all. While women are diagnosed twice as frequently as men it is likely due to women's willingness to discuss their sexual concerns (Discovery, 2013).
  • Medications cannot possibly cause a lack of libido - Again, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Antidepressants alone, including Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil result in a loss of libido in more than 60% of patients (Discovery, 2013), other medications such as birth control pills are known to diminish libido as well (Mayo, 2014).
  • I can't ever have any interest in sex to have HSDD - This again is not true. A person's disinterest can be lifelong, acquired, generalized, situational, due to psychological factors, or a combination of any of these (Montgomery, 2008).

Medical Treatment Options

Effectively treatment for sexual dysfunction disorders often requires addressing underlying medical conditions or hormonal changes (Mayo, 2014). Medical treatments that can be used include:

  • Adjusting or changing medications that have sexual side effects (Mayo, 2014);
  • Getting treatment for underlying mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety (Hook, 2014);
  • Sexual therapy treatment for one or both partners (Mayo, 2014);
  • Treating a thyroid problem or other hormonal condition (Mayo, 2014). Two popular hormonal treatments are estrogen therapy and androgen therapy (Mayo, 2014).

What to do next

Low sex drive or disinterest in sex can be extremely difficult for you and your partner (Hook, 2014). You may feel embarrassed to talk about your sex life with your doctor, but if you have a persistent or recurrent disinterest in sex that causes you or your partner distress, you may have HSDD (Mayo, 2014). HSDD is a problem that can wreak havoc on an intimate relationship (Simon, 2013). However, you don't have to meet the medical definition of HSDD to seek help. If you are bothered by a low sex drive or even a decrease in your sex drive please discuss it with your doctor.


A satisfying sex life is important to both women and men's well-being at every age and stage of life (Mayo, 2014), and can be vitally important to a happy relationship or marriage as well (Pollets, 2008). Therefore you owe it to yourself and your partner to ask questions.

References:

Discovery Health. (2013). Hypoactive sexual desire disorder: “I’m not in the mood”. Retrieved from: http://health.howstuffworks.com/sexual-health/sexual-dysfunction/hypoactive-sexual-desire-disorder.htm

Hook, D. (2014). What is hypoactive sexual desire disorder? Retrieved from: http://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/hypoactive-sexual-desire-disorder.aspx

Mayo Clinic. (2014). Low sex drive in women. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sex-drive-in-women/basics/definition/con-20033229

Montgomery, K. (2008). Sexual desire disorders. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695750/

Pollets, D. (2008, October 1). Female sexual desire disorder. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindful-sex/200810/female-sexual-desire-disorder

Simon, J. (2013, November 24). Understanding hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Retrieved from: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/11/understanding-hypoactive-sexual-desire-disorder.html