© 2022 HealthNews - Latest tech news,
product reviews, and analyses.

Desire Disorders: Lack of Sexual Desire or Interest in Sex


Key takeaways

The rise and fall of sexual desire is normal. However, if it is experienced for over six months and is causing significant distress, it may be considered a desire disorder and should be treated by a health professional.

There are two types of desire disorders, male hypoactive sexual desire disorder, and female sexual interest/ arousal disorder. Both disorders are prevalent and have similar causes and treatments.

Desire disorders are not to be confused with asexuality, which is a sexual identity.

It is common for an individual’s sexual desire to rise and fall throughout life. However, experiencing a persistent lack of sexual desire may indicate a desire disorder. There are two types of desire disorders, female sexual interest/ arousal disorder, and male hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Although there is no accurate prevalence rate of these disorders, they are considered very common and may last a short while or be persistent over a lifetime.

Female sexual interest/ arousal disorder

Female sexual interest/ arousal disorder is the persistent lack of sexual desire, sexual arousal, or a combination of the two. It is estimated to affect around 7.5% of women in their lifetime.

Causes

There are many different causes of female sexual interest/ arousal disorder. These include.

Mental health: Stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, low self-esteem, poor body image, and shame and guilt surrounding sex.

Relationship problems: Lack of trust or communication with a partner.

Hormones: Low levels of hormones, or hormone changes from pregnancy, menopause, and hormonal medications such as the pill.

Illness: Vaginal or pelvic infections, cancer, diabetes, thyroid dysfunctions, and arthritis.

Medication: Antidepressants and chemotherapy.

Substance abuse: Abuse of drugs and alcohol

Diagnostic criteria

To meet the diagnostic criteria for female sexual interest/ arousal disorder, a woman must experience at least three of the following criteria for a period of over six months. These symptoms must cause the woman to experience significant distress to be diagnosed and cannot be explained by another disease or disorder.

  • Absent or reduced interest in sexual activity.
  • Absent or reduced sexual thoughts or fantasies.
  • Absent or reduced initiation of sex (and unreceptive of a partner’s attempt to initiate sex)
  • Absent or reduced experience of pleasure from almost or all sexual activities (around 75%-100%)
  • Absent or reduced sexual interest or arousal from any sexual cues.
  • Absent or reduced genital sensations from almost or all sexual activities.

Female sexual interest/ arousal disorder can be either lifelong or acquired. For women with lifelong female sexual interest/ arousal disorder, a lack of sexual desire is experienced throughout their lifetime. For women with acquired female sexual interest/ arousal disorder, sexual desire has been present throughout their lifetime, but there is now a significant decline in desire. Additionally, female sexual interest/ arousal disorder can be either generalized or situational. Women who experience a generalized lack of desire experience it in all contexts and with sexual partners. In contrast, women who experience a situational lack of desire experience it in specific situations or with certain partners.

Treatment

As multiple causes of female sexual interest/ arousal disorder exist, treatment is individualized to address the underlying cause. Treatment often consists of a combination of psychotherapy, healthy communication practices, mindfulness practices, biological therapies, such as changing medication, and sex education.

Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder

Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder is the persistent lack of sexual desire. Although there is no consensus on its prevalence rate, it is estimated to affect between 3%-41% of men in their lifetime.

Causes

There are many different causes of male hypoactive sexual desire disorder. These include.

Mental health: Stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, low self-esteem, poor body image, and shame and guilt surrounding sex.

Relationship problems: Lack of trust or communication with a partner, partner experiences pain during penetration

Hormones: Low levels of hormones, decrease in hormones through aging.

Illness: Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes,

Medication: Antidepressants and chemotherapy.

Substance abuse: Abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Sexual Dysfunction: Erectile disorder, premature ejaculation.

Diagnostic criteria

To meet the diagnostic criteria for male hypoactive sexual desire disorder, a man must experience the following criteria for a period of over six months. These symptoms must cause the man to experience significant distress to be diagnosed and cannot be explained by another disease or disorder.

  • Absent interest in sexual activity.
  • Absent sexual thoughts or fantasies

Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder can be either lifelong or acquired. For men with lifelong male hypoactive sexual desire disorder, a lack of sexual desire has been experienced since they became sexually active. For men with acquired male hypoactive sexual desire disorder, sexual desire has been present throughout their lifetime, but there is now a significant decline in desire. Additionally, male hypoactive sexual desire disorder can be either generalized or situational. Men who experience a generalized lack of desire experience it in all contexts and with sexual partners. In contrast, men who experience a situational lack of desire experience it in specific situations or with certain partners.

Treatment

Multiple causes of male hypoactive sexual desire disorder exist, and treatment is individualized to address the underlying cause. Treatment often consists of a combination of psychotherapy, healthy communication practices, mindfulness practices, biological therapies, such as changing medication, and sex education.

Asexuality and desire disorders

While there are some commonalities between desire disorders and asexuality, it is important to note that Asexuality is a sexuality rather than a desire disorder. The main distinction lies in the presence of distress. While asexual people may experience distress with their sexuality due to a lack of social acceptance of asexuality, they are less likely to seek treatment for their lack of desire, as they don’t believe it needs to be “fixed.” Additionally, research has found that asexual people are more likely to experience a lifelong lack of desire. In contrast, women with female sexual interest/ arousal disorder are more likely to experience a lack of desire over a short period.

Conclusion

Although it is normal to experience a lack of sexual desire, it may be classified as a desire disorder if experienced for over six months and causes significant distress. Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder and female sexual interest/ arousal disorder are common sexual dysfunctions caused by a number of biological, psychological, and social factors. Treatment will examine all these factors in order to determine the underlying factors that need to be treated.

Resources

Female sexual arousal disorder with and without a distress criterion: prevalence and correlates in a representative Czech sample - The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Asexuality: An Extreme Variant of Sexual Desire Disorder? - Journal of Sexual Medicine

Evidence-based treatments for low sexual desire in women - Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology

The DSM diagnostic criteria for hypoactive sexual desire disorder in men - The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked