Hypoactive sexual desire disorder or HSDD is characterized by often low drive or low libido, which may be characterized by low initiation, low motivation, or lack of motivation to engage in sexual activity, and lack of receptivity to partner’s interest in having sexual encounters. HSDD may lead to low levels of confidence, decreased mood, loss of self-esteem or sense of femininity. It also may have a significant impact on the relationship with a woman’s partner, who is affected by this condition and may, therefore, have a very negative effect on quality-of-life.
Distressing low sexual desire is the most prevalent sexual disorder and women of all ages. While desire problems increase with age, distress about low desire decreases with age, so this is actually a problem that’s relatively constant across the ages and affect somewhere around ten to twelve percent of all women.
Barriers to identification and diagnosis
These barriers include:
- lack of time, lack of knowledge or training in sexual disorders and their treatment;
- reimbursement issues;
- coding issues;
- they may have personal issues with talking about sexuality that may not be an area of comfort;
- a condition when they suffer from what we call ageism, in other words, they don’t believe older patients have sex;
- they may have biases or negative attitudes toward people with alternative sexual behaviors;
- they made up indoors homosexuality, or polyamory, or other variations and sexual behavior.
Identification and diagnosis of FSD in patients can be improved in a few different ways. Firstly I think there needs to be increased patient awareness or patient education. And this can be done through pamphlets, or in physicians offices, or questions on intake forms as well as patient handouts that patients are given as they leave the office.
To improve identification a diagnosis of FSD in patients clinician behavior really could play a very big role in improving the detection. Clinicians need to ask screening questions, general questions that allow women to know that this is a topic of discussion. They can focus on the specific life phase or experience of the patients such as childbirth or menopause and related to the possibility of changes in sexuality. Intake forms could have questions about sexual dysfunction and give the message to patients that the topic can be raised. Clinicians can also engage in programs that offer education that can raise their knowledge base about sexual disorders and their management.
Women often feel when they have a low sexual desire that it’s bit mysterious. “What happened when I used to see my partner, used to get excited or hot when he walked in the room?”, or she would feel anticipation about it, you know the possibility of sexual event in your future. And women will say that feeling has just gone away, that urge, that drive, that enthusiasm. And they find themselves in fact sometimes even being avoidant of the possibility of sexual encounters. And women often see this is very mysterious: “What happened to it? I don’t know what happened to it?”
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