Inhibited sexual desire (ISD), Hypoactive sexual desire disorder ( HSDD ) or loss of libido are terms used to describe a low level of interest in sexual behaviour. A person with this disorder will usually not initiate sexual activity and will also not respond to their partner's initiation.
Studies have shown that loss of or low sexual desire is a very common problem in women with some suggesting that upto one third of women between 20 to 60 years of age can at some point be affected.
There is no clear definition of low sexual desire in women, because their is no accepted normal range or frequency of sex. Sexual behaviour and desire will also vary from time to time in one's life. But if the decrease of sexual desire in a women is to such a degree that is causing her distress and affecting her relationship with her partner, then it is significant and she should seek help from specialists.
Unlike men whose sexual complaints are mainly erectile dysfunction, sexual problems in women are more multifaceted and is usually a combination of physical, biological, interpersonal and psychological factors.
Management of low sexual desire in women can be challenging since it requires understanding and cooperation from both the partners.
Counselling - This can be done by the andrologist or by a psychologist or psychiatrist with experience in this field. Both partners should be counselled together. It should be done in a private, relaxed setting. Several sessions may be needed for trust and understanding to develop between the patients and counsellor, so that they can discuss their inhibitions and fears openly. Couples need to be counselled to be more sensitive and aware of the sexual needs of their partners. They need to spend more time with each other and become aware of ways to sexually arouse their partner. There are ways in which sex can be made more interesting. They need to resolve their conflicts and show affection to arouse sexual desire.
If the problem is thought to be caused by another medical condition or as a side effect of a medication, your doctor could treat the underlying condition or try and change the medication. You should not change medication without medical advice.
If vaginal dryness is causing pain, oestrogen vaginal creams can be tried.. Testosterone therapy is not licensed for use in women with low sexual desire, though many andrologist prescribe them. Watching romantic movies or reading books with sexual content together can help some couples to be sexually aroused.
Good sexual activity between partners is very important in building a happy and fulfilling relationship. It brings a couple close together making them feel good and secure in each others company. Lack of sexual desire can thus leave them feeling frustated and angry. This can impact on their love and understanding and can slowly drive them apart. So it is very important that any symptoms of low sexual desire are recognised early and help sought in time.