Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) is described as having the following characteristics:
- persistently or recurrently deficient (or absent) sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity
- marked distress or interpersonal difficulty in response to this deficiency
- lack of another explanation known to affect sexual function.
In other words, a person once had a healthy desire for sex which they have lost, and there is no other explanation for that loss of interest or desire. In addition, the loss of this desire is noted by the person and the change is causing distress, relationship difficulty or both. (Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition)
In clinical practice, HSDD is easily identified using the Decreased Sexual Desire Screener (DSDS), a simple screening test that asks 4 yes/no questions:
- In the past, was your level of sexual desire or interest good and satisfying to you?
- Has there been a decrease in your level of sexual desire or interest?
- Are you bothered by your decreased level of sexual desire or interest?
- Would you like your level of sexual desire or interest to increase?
A “yes” response to each of these questions is required. In addition, a fifth question asks whether a number of conditions, drugs, or circumstances might be responsible for the decreased desire or interest:
- an operation, depression, injuries, or other medical condition
- medications, drugs, or alcohol you are currently taking
- pregnancy, recent childbirth, or menopausal symptoms
- other sexual issues you may be having (pain, decreased arousal or orgasm)
- your partner’s sexual problems
- dissatisfaction with your relationship or partner
- stress or fatigue.
Only when all of these items are excluded as possibilities can a diagnosis of HSDD be made. (Source: OBG Management, July 2015, sidebar)
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