I’ve partnered with the #righttodesire campaign to bring awareness to female Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder
I’ve been talking about sex more this month than I think I ever have online, and it’s been really eye-opening to see how much other women are wanting to talk about it as well. Sarah and I announced we were doing an episode on low sexual desire a couple weeks ago and our podcast facebook community lit up with comments and questions from women who experience low sex drive. (If you want to read through that conversation, you can join the closed Selfie community here. It’s a great space for asking questions and getting feedback in a more intimate setting than regular facebook.) Here are a few of the comments women had:
I think it would be helpful for me if you address when one partner has low desire and one VERY high, and how to come to terms with that so neither party feels uncared for or less valuable. It’s a drag to feel like you’re letting your partner down or form them to feel like they’re not desirable or that you don’t love them in the way they feel loved.
Sexual desire for women is usually more emotionally tied. Women are often denied the space and capacity for it. I think male partners who are failing at the sex game are those that are willfully ignorant to this fact.
I think if I had someone helping with life, I’d feel like having sex. LOL As in, a wife for me! Ha. My issue is being a parent to four kids, working a lot, taking care of a house and I can’t switch back into “me” mode. All of that other stuff is so not sexy. Trying to do lots of self-care and put date nights on the calendar but it’s harrrrrd.
One of the things that emerged from my discussion with Gabby is the fact that having a low sex drive does not necessarily mean you have Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. HSDD is a defined medical condition with biological components. It’s the most common form of sexual dysfunction in women, and it’s been recognized in medical communities for nearly half a century. But it isn’t a blanket description for all women who have low sex drive, and it’s important to note that if a woman has a low sex drive and feels fine about that fact, that’s okay! One of the markers of defining HSDD is that a person has subjective distress about their low sex drive . . . they are dissatisfied with it, and for most women with the disorder, they have had times in their past where they were more satisfied with their sexual appetite. The essential feature of female HSDD is a deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity that causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty. Desire is not a switch, desire is in the brain, and your brain may be working against you when it comes to sex.
The following are some of the symptoms of HSDD:
- You experience low sexual desire no matter the type of sexual activity.
- Your lower sexual desire or lower interest in sex is bothering you.
- Your level of sexual desire or interest in sex has decreased.
- You were satisfied in the past with your level of sexual desire or interest in sex, but no longer are
Lack of sexual desire can have a biological basis. Multiple studies show the brain controls desire differently in women with a healthy sexual desire with women with HSDD. And there is ample science behind this: brain scans show markedly less activity in areas of the brain that are important in sexual response for women who suffer with HSDD. While these studies have revealed there is a biological connection to HSDD, a medical provider can diagnose HSDD with a few simple questions. The problem is that many doctors have not been educated in HSDD, and most aren’t even asking. If you want to a doctor well-versed in HSDD, the Right to Desire website as a telemedicine component that can allow you to talk with a qualified doctor who gets it.
It is estimated that 1 in 10 women suffer from HSDD, and those numbers certainly seemed consistent in the conversations I’ve been having. If you want to learn more, check out the Right to Desire website, watch the funny but informative video below, or listen to our Selfie Podcast episode on HSDD.