The disorder of sexual desire hypoactive or inhibited sexual desire is considered a sexual disorder and is characterized by the lack or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity; as judged by a doctor, for this to be considered a disorder, you should cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulties.
It is then defined as interruptions in the sexual response cycle; this implies that the sexual response cycle is linear: First, one must experience desire; second, one must seek sexual stimulation and get excited, and finally, one must reach orgasm. . Because hypoactive sexual desire disorder is pervasive among women (approximately 1 in 3 women experience low sexual desire), how this disorder is understood has been questioned. It has been proposed that the female sexual response cycle is quite different from the male sexual response cycle in that it is not linear.
Many women report that they are not interested in sex and do not feel like participating in sexual activities. However, when they are sought after by their partner, they become aroused and want to engage in sexual activities. Therefore, a woman may not experience desire, but with proper stimulation, she can become aroused and, in turn, experience it. Essentially, the female sexual response cycle does not always begin with sexual desire (that is, thoughts and fantasies about sex).
What are the symptoms of hypoactive sexual desire disorder?
Symptoms must be present for at least six months and cause significant distress to the individual.
- Absence or reduced interest in sexual activity.
- Absent or reduced sexual thoughts or fantasies.
- Reduced or no initiation of sexual activity.
- Absent or reduced sexual arousal during most sexual activity.
- Absence or reduction of sexual interest or arousal in response to internal or external cues, such as masturbation.
- Absent or reduced genital sensations during sexual activity.
Why are there more women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder?
Some researchers believe that the increased number of female cases may be related to how most approach sexuality: Hypoactive sexual desire disorder can be psychologically and physically based. A woman’s sexual desire is often predicted by many factors in both arenas working together, including relationship health and satisfaction, partner and personal well-being, and physical and emotional responses to sexual intercourse.
The same researchers speculate that sexual disinterest among some women may be related to sexual inhibition, conditioned by long-standing cultural tradition. Furthermore, they suggest that a lack of sexual desire in some women may not be a disorder at all but may be a natural protective mechanism against having too many children, which has evolved. The theory is that if conditions are not favorable for having a child, the woman would not be interested in sex.
What are the causes and risk factors for hypoactive sexual desire disorder?
There are changes in sexual desires that occur naturally over time, and they can come and go depending on events in an individual’s life or matters related to the couple. When a lack of interest lasts more than six months and causes distress, the criteria for a sexual desire order can be met. The following are some of the causes:
The hormone and other changes during menopause can make it more prevalent in middle-aged postmenopausal women than in younger premenopausal women. Men can also experience hormonal changes, specifically low testosterone levels that interfere with sexual desire.
They are in a functional relationship. Most people living with this disorder who seek help are in a relationship; sometimes, a man or a woman will seek help at the request of their partner. Nine out of ten women who seek help do so because their partner is in danger.
Emotional or mental health problems. This can include issues with partner dissatisfaction, sexual communication and sexual performance, general life stresses, and potentially complicated psychological issues such as body image problems and depression.
Physical health conditions. These can include diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, hypothyroidism, and menopause.
Medications. Certain pharmaceuticals can interfere with sexual function, including morphine, codeine, chemotherapy drugs, and some psychoactive drugs.
Other causes such as:
- Negative attitudes about sexuality.
- Relationship difficulties, such as poor communication and abuse.
- The sexual functioning of a couple.
- Child stressors.
- Endocrine disorders, such as hyperprolactinemia.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- History of emotional or physical abuse.
- Psychiatric diagnoses, such as depression or anxiety .
- Stressors such as job loss and grief.
- Lack of affection or trust in a relationship.
- Sexual abuse
- Lessons learned that sex is dirty or immoral.
Treatment for hypoactive sexual desire disorder
Sometimes just having a frank conversation with your partner can solve it; you can also choose to speak with your doctor, who can ask about your relationship history and past psychological problems related to your sexuality and can look for underlying medical conditions. Ultimately, it can be helped by:
- Individual or couples sex therapy.
- Treatment of an underlying medical condition.
- Hormone therapy. Hormone balance therapy for women and testosterone supplements for some men with low levels can increase sexual desire.
- Add or change medication. Sometimes the problem can be solved simply by changing the medicines, from an older psychoactive drug that interferes with sexual desire, for example, to one of the newer drugs with fewer side effects. The addition of some medications for underlying conditions, such as Levodopa used to treat Parkinson’s disease, has been found to
- Or that it helps with male sexual desire, for example, by increasing the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Additionally, researchers are studying the safety and efficacy of various medical treatment options. These include a testosterone patch for women, which is especially helpful after menopause or surgical removal of the ovaries, where most testosterone is produced. Two antidepressants, flibanserin and bupropion, are among the drugs being studied to treat premenopausal women.
Whichever treatment option you choose, whether it’s entering couples counseling or if you have hopes for new therapies on the horizon, you don’t have to suffer from a sexual disorder silently. Ask your doctor for help or have a frank conversation with your partner today.
How to overcome sexual desire disorder?
Get a medical checkup . Make sure to rule out the physiological causes of your lack of desire when making an appointment with your doctor or gynecologist; ask if hormone replacement therapy, such as testosterone, would be appropriate. Be sure to evaluate the side effects of any medications or medical conditions that may be a factor in your situation. Talk to your doctor about taking herbal remedies or if dietary changes can help.
Make an appointment for counseling and psychotherapy. Counseling can effectively treat sexual desire disorder by addressing the emotional issues that may be behind the problem. Common problems that interfere with sexual desire include depression, stress, anxiety, and past sexual trauma.
Focus on what turns you on and remember the times you felt sexy. Ask yourself what you did differently, so was there more time for foreplay? Were there different times of the day, week, or month? Were you more active in your life?
Experiment with something new. Sex can get boring when you do the same thing repeatedly; you can be more adventurous and try things you haven’t tried before to find out if you like them. Explore and experiment until you know what turns you on, like back rubs, sexy lingerie, and hot baths.
Discuss your preferences. Finding out what you like and don’t like should be discussed openly with your partner, now is not the time to be embarrassed, and if you don’t address it directly, you won’t be able to solve the problem. When you can’t put into words what turns you on, you can consistently offer a “hands-on” demonstration.
Show your partner what to do. If that doesn’t work for you, read a book on how to improve your sex life together, it may spark some conversation, and you never know what might happen after that.
Work on your self-esteem and have a positive outlook on life. It can be personal problems that keep you from feeling good about yourself and your life, do not trust that the relationship is your only source of happiness. Take responsibility for your mental health – if you’re feeling negative, do something about it, take care of yourself, spend time with friends, develop new hobbies and activities, exercise regularly, and be kind to yourself.
Give your relationship a workout. Maybe you have some negative feelings regarding your relationship; this is the time to do something about it. Instead of blaming your partner, take responsibility for making things better, making you feel more affectionate towards your partner. Find a trained marriage therapist to discuss your difficulties and work on solutions.
Anger in the relationship. Couples face various issues that can affect their sexual desire, including destructive arguments, current or past affairs, external stressors, and a lack of quality time together.
Emotional problems. Emotional problems from your past, such as pain from past sexual abuse or feelings of betrayal, can affect sexual desire.
Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.