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What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder — also called HSDD — is when you’re not interested in sex (have no sex drive or a low sex drive), and it bothers you. It’s one of the most common sexual problems that people have. This could be a lifelong concern, or it can happen over time. It may be a problem all of the time, or only happen in certain situations. 

People who have HSDD have little or no thoughts or fantasies about sex, don’t respond to their partner’s sexual signals or suggestions, lose desire for sex while having it, or avoid sex all together. 

What causes HSDD?

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder may be caused by: 

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Relationship problems

  • Issues with your body image

  • Stress

  • Tiredness

  • Sexual abuse or trauma in your past

  • Low sex hormone levels

  • Medical problems like cancer, diabetes, heart problems, multiple sclerosis, or bladder problems

  • Medicines like antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, chemotherapy, and feminizing hormone therapy

  • Menopause

  • Recent pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding

Are there HSDD treatments?

If you think you have HSDD, make an appointment with your nurse or doctor, like the ones at your local Planned Parenthood health center, to discuss your concerns and treatment options. Your nurse or doctor may ask about your health, any problems you may be having, and your sex life. Try to be as honest as you can about what’s going on so they can give you the best care. Doctors and nurses are experts, and they’ve seen and heard it all. You may also get a physical exam or have blood drawn to check for any medical issues.

Your treatment will depend on the cause of the problem. Your nurse or doctor can help you figure out which treatment is best for you. 

Treatments to help increase your sex drive may include:

  • Kegel exercises - these can increase blood flow and feeling to your genitals

  • Talking with your partner about your likes and dislikes sexually 

  • Exploring porn (movies, magazines, websites, or other entertainment) that brings you sexual pleasure

  • Masturbating, possibly with vibrators or other sex toys if that feels good

  • Reducing stress to improve your mood through things like getting more sleep, meditation, and breathing exercises

  • Limiting alcohol and stopping smoking and using drugs

  • Exercising regularly to improve your mood and give you more energy

  • Talking with a counselor who specializes in sex and relationship problems

Medicines that may help include:

  • Flibanserin (AKA Addyi) — A pill you take once a day to increase sexual desire (if you’re premenopausal).

  • Bremelanotide

  • Estrogen — A ring, cream, or tablet that you put in your vagina (if you’re in menopause). This can make the muscles in your vagina become stronger and stretchier, which will increase blood flow and wetness.

  • Testosterone therapy

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