In a society soaked with sexual imagery, it seems rather bizarre that some people have no desire for sex. But it is a startlingly widespread problem. Causing much heartache to the other partner, people who are disinterested in sex seem unable to identify the exact symptom for their lack of libido.

Symptoms of low sex drive in women:

  • Having no interest in masturbation or any type of sexual activity
  • Not having sexual thoughts or fantasies
  • Being concerned by the lack of sexual fantasies

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), now known as female sexual interest/arousal disorder, is a sexual dysfunction that causes a lowered sex drive in women. Many women will pass off the symptoms of HSDD as the inevitable effects of ageing or changes in their body. If your sex drive is affecting your quality of life, it may be time to talk to your doctor.

What are the symptoms of HSDD?

While it’s healthy for sexual desire to fluctuate, a woman with HSDD will usually experience a lack of sexual desire for six months or more. If changes in sexual desire are so extreme that it’s affected your relationships or self-esteem, it could be HSDD.

Symptoms associated with HSDD include:

  • little to no interest in sexual activity
  • few to no sexual thoughts or fantasies
  • disinterest in initiating sex
  • difficulty getting pleasure from sex
  • lack of pleasurable sensations when the genitals are stimulated

Symptoms of HSDD include:

  • little to no interest in sexual activity
  • few to no sexual fantasies
  • disinterest in initiating sexual relations, and little response to a partner’s efforts to initiate
  • difficulty gaining enjoyment from sex, approximately 75–100 per cent of the time
  • little to no genital sensations with sexual activity, approximately 75–100 per cent of the time

Symptoms will persist for six months or more, and adversely affect the quality of life. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, your body may be telling you to speak to your doctor. Your decreased sexual interest could be a sign of something more.

Am I at risk of developing HSDD?

All women will experience changes in sexual desire from time to time. The symptoms of HSDD will persist for six months or more. If symptoms have put a strain on your relationships or self-esteem, consider the following HSDD risk factors:

  • medical conditions that contribute to sexual dysfunction, such as diabetes or thyroid disorders
  • history of drug or alcohol use
  • history of abuse, whether physical or emotional
  • mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety
  • having a high-stress job that causes a significant amount of anxiety
  • lack of trust in intimate relationships

These factors don’t necessarily mean a woman will develop HSDD. However, the risk is higher. Understanding the underlying cause of symptoms will help your doctor evaluate you and offer the right treatment.


Intimacy plays a considerable role in a woman’s life. If you suspect your symptoms are the effect of HSDD, schedule an appointment with your doctor. HSDD is treatable, but a successful outcome hinges on understanding your body’s cues and being able to communicate them.