Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is defined as the persistent or recurrent extreme aversion to, absence of, and avoidance of all, or almost all, genital sexual contact with a sexual partner. Synonyms for HSDD include sexual aversion, inhibited sexual desire, sexual apathy, and sexual anorexia. HSDD is not rare, occurring in both sexes. It is the most common of all female sexual disorders, occurring in at least 20% of women in the United States.


Causes and Symptoms


HSDD may be a primary condition in which the patient has never felt much sexual desire or interest, or it may have occurred secondarily when the patient formerly had sexual desire, but no longer has interest. If lifelong or primary, HSDD may be the consequence of sexual trauma such as incest, sexual abuse, or rape. In the absence of sexual trauma, there is often a repressive family attitude concerning sex that is sometimes enhanced by rigid religious training. A third possibility is that initial attempts at sexual intercourse resulted in pain or sexual failure. Rarely, HSDD in both males and females may result from insufficient levels of the male sex hormone testosterone.




A recent study has reported that almost a third of nondepressed women with HSDD responded favorably to therapy with sustained release tablets of bupropion hydrochloride. The responders noted significant increases in the number of sexual arousals, sexual fantasies, and in the desire to engage in sexual activities. Other medication are now being tested in clinical trials to determine the effectiveness in treating women with HSDD