Last modified on May 22nd, 2020
- Acquired – HSDD started after a period of normal sexual functioning
- Life-long – the woman has always had no/low sexual desire
- Global – she has a general lack of sexual desire
- Situational – she still has sexual desires, but lacks sexual desire for her current partner
Sexual Desire DisordersThe DSM-IV-TR category of Sexual and Gender Disorders is divided into three parts, one of which is Sexual Dysfunctions. One of the groups of sexual dysfunctions is “Sexual Desire Disorders” (SDD) of which there are two kinds: (a) hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) and (b) sexual aversion disorder (SAD). The former is the subject matter of this article.
Sexual Aversion Disorder (SAD)
Causes of Hypoactive Sexual Desire DisorderHypoactive sexual desire disorder may occur in a woman at any age. It may be present in adolescence and can persist throughout a woman’s life. However, HSDD often occurs during a woman’s adulthood, often times following a period of stress. The source of hypoactive sexual desire disorder may be multi-factorial illness, medications, and psychological issues.
MenopauseHSDD in women is more common as a result of menopause. Reduced estrogen to postmenopausal levels can lead to dryness of the vagina making sex painful which reduces motivation. The gradual decline of the hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone together serve to decrease drive.
Physical ProblemsPhysical ailments such as diabetes, heart diseases, vaginal yeast and urinary tract infections, neurological disorders, pelvic surgery, chronic liver disease and kidney diseases can all lead decreased or low sexual desire.
Psychological ProblemsPsychological causes such as stress from work and family, relationship communication problems, anxiety, depression, and previous traumatic sexual experiences can also contribute to the development of this disorder.
Physical abuseA lifelong or primary HSDD where a woman has never felt any sexual desire not exhibited interest in sex could be as a possible result of incest, sexual abuse or rape.
Repressive Cultures/Belief SystemsCertain repressive family attitudes towards sex which are often enhanced by rigid religious trainings can force individuals to think of sex as an immoral activity.
Unpleasant Initial Sexual ExperienceInitial failed attempts at sexual intercourse or pains from first sexual experiences could also lead to HSDD.
Insufficient Sexual Hormone LevelsLow levels of testosterone may cause HSDD in males and females. However, while some argue that increasing testosterone levels even in those without low levels may also serve to increase sex drive; others are of the opinion that HSDD in males and females rarely results from insufficient levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone.
Relationship BoredomA woman experiencing stagnation or boredom in a relationship can develop an acquired HSDD.
Medication Side EffectsThe usage of antidepressants for depression, antihypertensive medication, and oral birth control pills may interfere with sex drive, arousal, and orgasm leading to the development of HSDD.
Sexual Function ImpairmentImpairment of sexual functions such as vaginismus (an involuntary contraction or spasm of the pelvic floor muscles and outer third of the vagina resulting from an unconscious desire to prevent vaginal penetration thus making it impossible or very painful) can develop into HSDD. This may be due to incompatibility in sexual interest between the sexual partners. This can also occur in the presence of a sexually demanding partner.
DyspareuniaDyspareunia or painful intercourse due to surgery, injury or infection may also cause HSDD. Also inadequate lubrication at the time of penetration from insufficient foreplay can also cause painful intercourse.General symptoms of HSDD in patients include infrequent and eventual absence of sexual activity; less enjoyment of sexual activities than she used to; avoidance of sex; and have fewer or no erotic dreams and sexual fantasies. In a selective and focused HSDD, there might be zero interest in having sex with their partners but have normal or increased real/fantasized sexual desires toward other men.
Treatment options for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder
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