Low Sexual Desire


Also known as Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) or inhibited Sexual desire; In the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) the condition is considered a sexual dysfunction and is characterized as a lack or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity.

Studies consistently show that HSDD can affect both women and men, however most studies have been on women and the prevalence within the male population is limited, but some researchers believe women may be at least twice as likely to have HSDD, which is why much of the research has focused on women.

Physical factors that can also impact on sexual desire includes:

  • Mental Health conditions (e.g. Depression and anxiety)
  • Arthritis
  • Coronary artery disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, different types of cancers.
  • Decreased hormone levels (estrogen or testosterone). Older men may be at a greater risk of developing male HSDD because hormonal levels of testosterone gradually decrease with age.
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Medications

Information adapted from:


Psychological factors that can also impact on sexual desire includes:

  • Mental Health conditions (e.g. Depression and anxiety, etc)
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Negative emotions about sex (e.g. guilt).
  • Low self-esteem

People who experience HSDD, may be comfortable with their low levels of sexual desire or arousal and only regarded as a condition when it causes distress or impairments in the person’s life or interpersonal relationships.

HSDD is treatable and can be manageable, so the first step if you are concerned about a lack of interest in sex is to talk to a healthcare provider.  The treatment provided by Dave Wells may include sex therapy or counselling, alone or with your partner, to address any mental health, lifestyle, or relationship issues that may be present.  Medications may be evaluated as contributing factors, and underlying medical conditions may be addressed through collaboration with your general practitioner.