What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)

2 Minutes
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder
Jody Allen
Have you ever heard of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder or HSDD? Would you be surprised to learn that one in ten women may suffer from this disorder?

What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder?

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder is defined as the absence of sexual desires, fantasies and thoughts, or receptivity to sexual activity that causes great personal distress in an otherwise healthy relationship. Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder is most common in Perimenopausal or Menopausal women, although it is often overlooked because women presume their low libido is just a part of aging.

Symptoms must be present for at least a six month period for this disorder to be formally diagnosed.

What are the Symptoms of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder?

The primary symptom of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder is a persistent or recurrent deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity, which causes distress or interpersonal difficulties. This lack of sexual desire must be present for a significant period of time (typically around six months) and cannot be better explained by other factors such as a medical condition, medication side effects, relationship problems, or high levels of stress.

What Causes Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder?

The exact causes of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder are not fully understood and can vary from person to person. It can be influenced by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. Hormonal imbalances, certain medications (e.g., antidepressants), relationship issues, psychological factors (e.g., depression, anxiety), and cultural or societal factors can contribute to HSDD.

Can Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder be Treated?

There are various treatment options available for HSDD, and the most appropriate approach depends on the underlying causes and individual circumstances. Some common treatment options include:

Psychotherapy or counseling:

Therapy can help identify and address any underlying psychological factors that may contribute to HSDD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), sex therapy, or couples therapy may be beneficial.


In certain cases, medications such as flibanserin may be prescribed to increase sexual desire. Flibanserin is a medication specifically approved for the treatment of HSDD in premenopausal women. Flibanserin is a serotonin receptor agonist and antagonist that works on certain receptors in the brain. It is thought to increase sexual desire by balancing neurotransmitters involved in sexual response, such as serotonin and dopamine. Flibanserin has been shown to modestly increase sexual desire and the frequency of satisfying sexual events compared to a placebo in clinical trials. However, it is important to note that the response to flibanserin can vary among individuals, and not everyone will experience significant improvement in sexual desire.

Hormone therapy:

Hormone replacement therapy, such as estrogen therapy or testosterone therapy, may be considered in cases where hormonal imbalances contribute to HSDD. However, it's important to note that the use of hormone therapy for HSDD is still under investigation, and the effectiveness can vary.

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder


National Library of Medicine

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