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Low Sex Drive in Women: What Is My Body Telling Me?

Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, PhD, LCSW, CST on October 24, 2017Written by Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN on October 24, 2017
hsdd

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), now known as female sexual interest/arousal disorder, is a sexual dysfunction that causes a dramatically lowered sex drive in women.

While many women will experience a lowered sexual desire at some point in their lives, symptoms of HSDD persist for six months or more.

If symptoms are so intense that they’ve harmed your intimate relationships or quality of life, it may be time to talk to your doctor.

Listening to your body is key to communicating your symptoms to your doctor. With the proper understanding of your symptoms, your doctor can suggest the right treatment to improve your sex drive and overall well-being.

Do I have symptoms of HSDD?

Symptoms of HSDD include:

  • little to no interest in sexual activity
  • few to no sexual fantasies
  • disinterest in initiating sexual relations, and little response to a partner’s efforts to initiate
  • difficulty gaining enjoyment from sex, approximately 75–100 percent of the time
  • little to no genital sensations with sexual activity, approximately 75–100 percent of the time

Symptoms of will persist for six months or more, and adversely affect quality of life.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, your body may be telling you to speak to your doctor. Your decreased sexual interest could be a sign of something more.

Am I at risk of developing HSDD?

All women will experience changes in sexual desire from time to time. The symptoms of HSDD will persist for six months or more. If symptoms have put a strain on your relationships or self-esteem, consider the following HSDD risk factors:

  • medical conditions that contribute to sexual dysfunction, such as diabetes or thyroid disorders
  • history of drug or alcohol use
  • history of abuse, whether physical or emotional
  • mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety
  • having a high-stress job that causes a significant amount of anxiety
  • lack of trust in intimate relationships

These factors don’t necessarily mean a woman will develop HSDD. However, the risk is higher.

Understanding the underlying cause of symptoms will help your doctor evaluate you and offer the right treatment.

Should I seek treatment for my symptoms?

HSDD is a fairly common condition. However, due to the lack of awareness surrounding it, it’s hard to diagnose.

Signs it’s time to talk to a doctor about a low sex drive include:

  • loss of interest in or pleasure from sex
  • strains in intimate relationships due to a low libido
  • negatively affected quality of life
  • loss of interest in social activities
  • low self-esteem
  • symptoms that persist for six months or more

In seeking medical advice for HSDD, some women may not know where to begin. Medical professionals that treat HSDD range from primary care physicians to gynecologists, psychiatrists, and sex therapists. It’s best to speak with your primary care doctor first. Once they have evaluated your symptoms, they can refer you to the right specialist.

Takeaway

Intimacy plays a considerable role in a woman’s life. If you suspect your symptoms are the effect of HSDD, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

HSDD is treatable, but a successful outcome hinges on understanding your body’s cues, and being able to communicate them. 

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