Explaining how it feels to have hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is kind of daunting. After all, the main symptom of HSDD is what you don’t feel—the sexual desire that you used to have. (Another primary symptom of HSDD is that your low sexual desire, or lack of sexual desire, is frustrating to you, but we’ll get to that in a bit.)
Before going any further, it’s important to know that it’s not abnormal to find one’s sex drive stuck in neutral from time to time. When work is crazy. Or home is crazy. Or you’re crazy-exhausted and JUST WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE FOR A LITTLE WHILE.
But with HSDD, the lack of interest in sex is different. It’s ongoing. Maybe you still do it once in a while. Maybe you feel obligated to. But you haven’t wanted to have sex for months. Or even years. With HSDD, lack of desire may start to feel like your new normal. But ongoing low sex drive in women can be a serious sexual dysfunction and may bring a host of negative feelings that disrupt your life and sense of self.
With HSDD, lack of desire may start to feel like your new normal.
First among these is that your low sexual desire itself really frustrates you. The fact that it’s frustrating is essential for a diagnosis of HSDD. In other words, if you don’t mind that your sex drive has driven away, it’s not HSDD. Women who have HSDD would like to have their sexual desire back, thank you very much.
But in addition to the lack of desire for sex, what are some other ways that HSDD can impact your life and your relationship? Although every woman’s experience is unique, here are some examples from surveys of women with HSDD:
- 92% said that they felt they were letting their partner down1
- 69% said it had affected their body image (and not in a good way)2
- 57% said it made them feel ashamed1
- 51% said it made them feel less confident2
Here’s another stat we want you to know: 73% of women who were experiencing low sexual desire (but were not yet diagnosed with HSDD) said that they hadn’t told their healthcare provider about it. Why? One of the top reasons was that they were too embarrassed.2
Let that sink in for a moment. Many women who have low sexual desire, who are frustrated by that and want to get their sex drive back, don’t tell the person best equipped to help them.
It simply doesn’t have to be that way. Low sex drive in women is nothing to feel embarrassed or awkward about. Or ashamed of. Or to hide. It’s not a personal failing. Millions of women have HSDD. It’s a medical condition and medical professionals can treat it.
Sexual desire is a part of your overall health and you deserve to have it.
But we understand that talking about something as intimate as having a low sex drive, while sitting on an examination table, can be a challenge for even the most vocal women. So we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you start that conversation.
Remember: sexual desire is a part of your overall health and you deserve to have it. If you have any of the symptoms described above, you’re certainly not alone. It’s time to unblush and speak up. Talk to your healthcare provider and find out what you can do to take back your sexual desire.
- Leiblum SR, Koochaki PE, Rodenberg CA, et al. Hypoactive sexual desire disorder in postmenopausal women: US results from the Women’s International Study of Health and Sexuality (WISHeS). Menopause. 2006;13(1):46‐56.
- Kingsberg SA. Attitudinal survey of women living with low sexual desire. J Womens Health. 2014;23(10):817-823.