Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder In Women

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) affects around 10% of women across all age groups. It is defined in both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV-TR) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10, F52.0). HSDD has deleterious effects upon women’s overall health and/or couples’ well-being. It may cause psychological, emotional and/or relationship distress which, in some cases, is severe and debilitating. HSDD can be a major impediment to life satisfaction and happiness; it should never be considered trivial, unimportant or illusory. HSDD is a medical problem and the healthcare needs resulting from it frequently remain unmet. It deserves greater attention from healthcare professionals across all clinical disciplines.

The International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) believes that:

  • Women have the right to sexual well-being and to sexual healthcare, and that sexual well-being includes the opportunity for women to experience sexual intimacy and pleasure.
  • Women should have the right to have their concerns regarding their sexual well-being assessed and treated by the healthcare professional of their choice.
  • Women should have the right to choose whether or not to use evidence-based medical, psychological and behavioural interventions, either individually or in combination, as they, and their health professional advisers, agree is most appropriate to their individual circumstances.

These are individual rights and they should be available to all women, to enable them to make individual and personal choices about their sexual well-being and sexual healthcare.

The specific biological basis of HSDD, like that of depression, is the subject of ongoing scientific research.
However, there is already ample evidence that physiological, psychological and socio-cultural factors may all play important roles. ISSM strongly encourages research into HSDD, and the development of effective therapeutic interventions for this common and distressing condition.