Low Desire

What is Low Desire?

Sexual desire is an interest in being sexual and in having sexual relations with oneself or with a mutually consenting partner. Desire may vary and change in the same woman and at different stages of her life. Low sexual desire has been known and categorized under many different terms and diagnosis. Some of the most common terms used in the past are:

  • Low libido/desire
  • Sexual aversion disorder
  • Female hypoactive sexual desire disorder
  • Inhibited sexual desire disorder
  • Sexual anorexia

The most recent and up-to-date medical term for low desire in women is Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder. It may be difficult to seek help for low sexual desire due to feelings of embarrassment, frustration, guilt, disappointment, and sadness. However, it is important to know that you are not alone.

Low sexual desire and mismatched sexual desire is one of the most common intimacy problems facing couples. It is also very challenging to treat due to its complex causes.

What Causes Low Desire?

 

  • Incorrect or lack of sexual stimulation and foreplay prior to intercourse
  • Feeling exhausted or pressured to engage in sexual intercourse
  • Past or recent physical or psychological trauma
  • Relationship issues:
    • Communication problems
    • Distrust
    • Over dependence
    • Criticism
    • Resentment
    • Contempt
    • Blame
    • Defensiveness
  • Medications: Many medications can lower libido including antidepressants and anti-seizure medications.
  • Medical conditions:
    • Breast or pelvic surgery
    • Arthritis
    • Cancer
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Neurological diseases
    • Hormonal imbalance
  • Sexual shame related to cultural/religious upbringing or family values
  • Body image concerns
  • Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
  • Menopause and aging
  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childbirth
  • Pelvic pain
  • Unmanaged depression, stress, and anxiety

 

Treatments for Low Desire

  • Talk with your partner about sexual needs, wants, dislikes, boundaries, and desires. Read more on Tips for Talking With Your Partner.
  • Use the Sensate Focus Technique. This is a common and well-researched treatment for many sexuality and intimate relationship problems.
  • Explore ways to create more fun and pleasure in bed with lube, sexual education, toys, and erotic literature or videos.
  • Make lifestyle changes such as healthy diet and exercise.
  • Find a licensed therapist that specializes in relationship, and/or sexual issues.
  • Talk to your doctor about hormone therapy.
  • Seek treatment for depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.
  • Seek treatment for an existing medical condition.