About HSDD

Studies show that a large percentage of adult women worldwide suffer from sexual complaints, with low desire consistently reported as the most common1-4. As a result, many women are dissatisfied with their sex lives, which often affects their social and emotional wellbeing.

This has been classified as a clinical condition, referred to as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) in the DSM-4, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

HSDD is defined as a persistent lack or absence of sexual interest.

The neurobiological mechanisms of HSDD can vary, so there are still subgroups with distinctive causes and symptoms.

But all women suffering from this condition experience distress.

If you think you may have HSDD, speak with your physician or mental health care provider about completing a diagnostic questionnaire.

HSDD is outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-4) as the following:

A. Absence or significantly reduced sexual interest:

  1. Absent/reduced interest in sexual activity
  2. Absent/reduced sexual/erotic thoughts or fantasies
  3. No/reduced initiation of sexual activity; unresponsive to partner’s attempt to initiate sexual activity

B. The problem causes clinically significant distress

C. The sexual dysfunction is not better explained by:

  1. Non-sexual mental disorder
  2. Severe relationship distress (e.g. partner violence) or other stressors
  3. Effects of a substance/medication or another medical condition

HSDD may be lifelong (no prior history of normal functioning) or acquired (history or normal functioning).

It may occur only in specific circumstances (situational) or may affect all aspects of sexual experience (generalized).

contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have HSDD


  1. Laumann EO, Paik A, Rosen RC. Sexual dysfunction in the United States: prevalence and predictors. JAMA 1999 Feb 10; 281(6):537-44.
  2. Laumann EO, Nicolosi A, Glasser DB, Paik A, Gingell C, Moreira E, Wang T; GSSAB Investigators’ Group. Sexual problems among women and men aged 40-80 y: prevalence and correlates identified in the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors. Int J Impot Res 2005 Jan-Feb; 17(1): 39-57.
  3. Shifren JL, Monz BU, Russo PA, Segreti A, Johannes CB. Sexual problems and distress in United States women: prevalence and correlates. Obstet Gynecol 2008 Nov; 112(5): 970-8.
  4. McCabe MP, Sharlip ID, Lewis R, Atalla E, Balon R, Fisher AD, Laumann E, Lee SW, Segraves RT. Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunction in Women and Men: A Consensus Statement from the Fourth International Consultation on Sexual Medicine 2015. J Sex Med 2016 Feb;13(2): 144-52.
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