Low Desire/HSDD

Low sex drive and Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

A prevalent sexual health disorder affecting persons of all ages

A disinterest in sex that causes distress in your life may be the result of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) or low sex drive. The condition affects approximately 12 percent of women and roughly five percent of men. Sexual desire and responsiveness are typically different between men and women. Because sexual desire is personal in nature, HSDD is clinically diagnosed when the person is unreceptive to sex. It can be difficult to diagnose because one of the most common sexual complaints among couples is a disparity in sexual desire. However, a sexual health expert can best evaluate, diagnose and treat the disorder.


Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder can be psychologically and/or physically based. There are several risk factors associated with HSDD including:

  • Hormones, pain, dryness
  • Low testosterone
  • Medications
  • Emotional or mental health issues, including stress
  • Physical health conditions or a chronic illness
  • Sleep problems
  • Aging

Symptoms of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder can vary

If you experience a lack of interest in sexual activity that affects your quality of life or causes distress, talk to your doctor. Symptoms of HSDD can vary, but the solution could be simple. Talk to your health care provider if you experience any of the following:

  • Little or no interest in sexual activity bringing major distress to different aspects of your life
  • Physical symptoms, such as vaginal pain during intercourse, can be a consequence of HSDD
  • Little to no sexual thoughts
  • Disinterest in initiating sexual activity
  • Experiencing little or no satisfaction from sex

Talk to your provider about treatment options

Determining if there is an underlying medical condition is important in evaluating the presence of HSDD. A comprehensive health history can uncover conditions related to HSDD. Medications, testosterone and hormones fluctuations, and chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, all can affect sexual desire. If your low libido has psychological causes, you may need to talk with a therapist. You and your partner may benefit from counseling. There are also several self-help options that may boost your desire. Regardless of whether you are clinically diagnosed with HSDD or low desire or not, the following can help your overall health:

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat well-balanced, whole food meals
  • Engage in daily activities including exercise and engaging with friends
  • Practice stress management

Your health care provider can talk with you about the safety and efficacy of treatment options that would work best for you.


To find a specialist experienced in treating low sexual desire and HSDD, visit the Cincinnati Sexual Health Consortium provider page.


The following national organizations provide additional information on Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder.

International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health


International Society for Sexual Medicine



The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists