Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD): What It Is And Effective Treatments

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) is a sexual issue that causes a clear loss of interest in sex and sexual activities. Even though both men and women can have HSDD, it mostly affects women.

Many signs and symptoms can be present, but the most prevalent ones are a lack of response to sexual stimulation as well as the lack of sexual fantasies or ideas.

In addition to losing interest in sexual activity, those with HSDD also lose the motivation to start sexual encounters on their own.

In other words: no mojo. 

What Is HSDD?

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a term used in medicine to describe different kinds of significantly reduced sexual desire. “Hypoactive” indicates that behavior or physical activity has started to slow down.

“HSDD is defined as the persistent and recurrent loss of desire in sexual activity, sexual thoughts and sexual stimulation, causing heightened stress in the woman. This clinically significant stress can involve sadness, a sense of grief, and feelings of incompetence, loss and frustration. The significant personal distress caused by HSDD is integral to the diagnosis,” says OB-GYN University of Colorado.

“Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is also diagnosed when the woman’s symptoms cannot be attributed to a different type of sexual disorder, medications or medical and psychological conditions. Another facet of an HSDD diagnosis is that these deficiencies of interest and response last for six months or longer.”

It is hard to diagnose and treat because scientists still don’t know much about the biology of sex drive. It is also underdiagnosed because patients, and even some doctors, don’t want to talk about this very personal and emotionally upsetting ailment.

HSDD shares the same root causes as low libido. Some of these include anxiety and stress, depression, alcohol and drugs, aging, hormonal imbalances, and the use of certain medications.

Relationship troubles, body image issues, menopause, fatigue, sexual abuse, and prior trauma can all cause HSDD. It might also be caused by cancer, diabetes, heart problems, multiple sclerosis, or problems with the bladder.

Current Treatments For Female HSDD

“Treatment for hypoactive sexual desire disorder addresses the psychological, social and biological aspects of the condition. Treatment decisions are always customized to each woman to meet her specific situation and needs,” says OB-GYN University of Colorado.

HSDD can affect anyone at any age, but that doesn’t mean you have to endure it forever. Thankfully, HSDD is treatable in a number of ways.

Treatments include:

Psychotherapy: Counseling and psychotherapy, along with medication, have been shown to be effective ways to treat HSDD. Sex therapists address the issue with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and mindfulness-based CBT.

Lifestyle Modifications: Many people don’t realize how much of an impact changes to their lifestyle can have on improving their low libido. Exercise and relaxation strategies like mindfulness and yoga can help boost sexual desire. Eating a healthy diet to preserve hormonal balance and reducing intoxicants like alcohol and drugs may also increase sexual desire.

Medications: Addyi (flibanserin) was authorized by the FDA in 2015 to treat premenopausal generalized HSDD. Flibanserin is a nonhormonal daily drug that stimulates sexual desire. 

Other drugs can also be used to treat HSDD with off-label use. 

These include:

  • Testosterone, typically used for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women to help balance reproductive hormones, which impact sexual arousal, sex drive and distress. Use of systemic hormones is only recommended for postmenopausal women.

  • Bupropion, an antidepressant shown to increase sexual function, arousal and orgasm in women with HSDD. This is a daily medication that is especially helpful in HSDD associated with SSRIs, a type of antidepressant.

  • Buspirone, a drug for anxiety disorders that can increase sexual interest. This can be taken prior to sexual activity and is especially helpful in HSDD associated with SSRIs.

See Your Doctor

All medication options require patient monitoring, as off-label medicines for HSSD have not been adequately assessed.

Our sexual desires and interests shift and evolve as we do as individuals. While this may not be a major concern for most, it can become one for those who experience a prolonged decline in libido or sexual desire.

In such circumstances, one can be suffering from HSDD, a disorder that is surprisingly widespread among women.

Therefore, if you have been suffering a lack of sexual attraction for some time and suspect you may have HSDD, it may be beneficial to seek medical assistance. With the help of modern medicine, counseling, and behavioral changes, one can not only fight HSDD and its consequences but also have a fulfilling and exciting sex life!


Have you or anyone you know experienced life with HSDD? Share with us in the comments!

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