Loss of Sexual Desire In Women

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

For a lot of women, aging, stress, relationship issues and other problems is wreaking havoc on their sex life. The medical term for this is hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). It is the most common female sexual dysfunction affecting women of all ages. In fact, a recent study indicated that about 35% of women in the United States from ages 18-59 suffer from this problem.

This female sexual dysfunction is usually caused by a combination of mental and physical factors which cannot be fixed just by popping a pill unlike in the case of men and erectile dysfunction. Life is unfair, I know. According to Sheryl Kingsberg PhD who is a renowned sex psychologist, this is because women’s sexuality tends to be fairly complicated and multifaceted.

What Is Low Sexual Desire?

Unlike most people think, experts say that frequency of sexual intercourse is not directly connected with sexual desire or satisfaction. When it comes to sexual concerns, there really is no normal frequency or set of norms that should be followed. Also, things usually change with time. If it works for you and your partner then there is no problem.

However, when a woman experiences a considerable decrease* in interest in sex or loss of sexual desire and this is having a huge impact on her life and is causing distress, then it can be considered HSDD or low sexual desire.

Common Causes of Low Sexual Desire

  • Relationship issues: Lack of emotional satisfaction from the relationship, birth of a child, unresolved conflicts, financial problems, and other interpersonal relationship issues can lead to decreased* sexual desire.
  • Hormonal changes: The primary female hormones estrogen and progesterone along with testosterone affects sexual drive in women. Experts believe that testosterone plays an important part not just in men’s but also in women’s sexual desire.
  • Medical problems: Medical conditions like thyroid disorders and psychological problems like depression can cause low or loss of sexual desire.
  • Medications: Certain medication like blood pressure lowering drugs, antidepressants and oral contraceptives can negatively affect sexual desire in women.


Since there are many possible causes of low or loss of sexual desire in women, treatment also varies. Treatment options include sex therapy, relationship counselling, altering medication dose or changing medications, addressing medical problems, testosterone therapy and vaginal estrogen creams. The first and most important step in treating sexual desire problems in women is consulting your doctor who can find the cause or refer you to a specialist.