Lack of sexual interest is the most common sexual complaint in women

Posted by: admin on: May 20, 2011

The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), which defines psychiatric disorders, defines Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) as ‘‘persistently or recurrently deficient (or absent) sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity’’ that causes ‘‘marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.’’

Epidemiologic surveys have suggested that from 25 to 50 percent of women report prolonged periods of reduced sexual interest.

A lesser but still significant number, on the order of 7 to 15 percent, may meet criteria for HSDD, where loss of sexual interest results in significant distress, and cannot be explained by a co-morbid medical or psychiatric condition, medication side effect, or substance abuse. As a clinician who cares for women I can attest for the common nature of this complaint, and feel frustrated by the lack of therapeutic options.

Sexual complaints are common within our culture, however they present differently in men and women. Men complain more about function and women complain more about desire. Disinterest in sex that creates distress in one person may not create distress in another.

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