What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Migraines?
June 18, 2024
What is Exhibitionistic Disorder?, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
June 28, 2024

What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

A lack of sexual fantasies or thoughts about sex and a desire for sexual activity characterizes HSDD. There’s no interest, and it lasts at least six months with marked distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. It’s not spontaneous like in the ebb-and-flow cycles but a chronic condition that may affect quality of life.

What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

Causes of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

The most common causes of HSDD are the complex interplay of multiple factors: physical, psychological, and relational.

·       Physical Causes: The physiological factors for HSDD are hormonal imbalances, medical conditions, and some medications. Certain conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and menopause can alter the levels of some hormones, thus causing low sexual drive. Medicines used to treat depression, high blood pressure, and other diseases have side effects that can diminish libido.

·       Psychological Causes: In HSDD, a huge contributing factor is psychological. One may experience low sexual desire due to stress, anxiety, depression, or trauma. It occurs when these mental health conditions interfere with the brain’s response to any sexual stimuli in such a way that it becomes hard to feel interested or experience pleasure from sex.

·       Relational Factors: HSDD can also stem from relationship problems. Conflict, lack of emotional closeness, poor communication—these all can foster an atmosphere in which sexual desire wanes. In many cases, working through these relational issues is necessary to enhance sexual desire.

Symptoms of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

The most prominent symptom of HSDD is a lack of sexual interest that brings about distress oneself or interpersonal problems. This might be manifested in the following ways:

  • Lack of Interest Persistent: A lack of desire for sexual activity that is continuous over a long period.
  • Diminished Sexual Thoughts: A decrease in sexual thoughts and fantasies.
  • Distress: Individual distress or impairment in the relationship due to a lack of sexual desire.

The critical thing to note here is that HSDD is diagnosed when a lack of sexual desire is not because of another medical condition, psychological disorder, or substance use.

Treatment of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

Treatment for HSDD usually tries to get at the root causes and may include medical, psychological, and relational interventions.

Medical Treatments: Other treatments may include hormone therapy, as there are many probable imbalances in hormones—especially in women with postmenopausal conditions. Next on the list is adding drugs such as flibanserin and bremelanotide, which have been approved to help treat HSDD in premenopausal women concerned with low sexual desire.

Psychological Therapies: Psychotherapy, especially CBT, will help to resolve some deeper, underlying psychological issues that may be accountable for HSDD. It can also offer people ways to deal with stress and anxiety, which might enhance sexual desire.

Relational Interventions: Couples therapy can be beneficial in working through relational issues that inhibit sexual desire. If a couple receives guidance from a qualified therapist, communication, conflict resolution, and emotional closeness can all grow lethargic, making the more natural emergence of sexual interest easier to achieve.


If you or your partner presents with symptomatology that may point to HSDD, professional assistance by a healthcare expert should be sought. Early intervention will prevent the deterioration of this condition and improve the quality of life.

Dr. Rahul Mathur
Consultant Neuropsychiatris

Skip to toolbar