Definition of Low Sexual Desire

Low libido, or lack of sexual desire is defined as a persistent lack of sexual fantasy, desire or interest, often resulting in distress or dissatisfaction. Low sexual desire may result in lack of arousal or desire for sex and can impact physiological sexual functioning. Low sexual desire affects up to 40% of women and approximately 15% of men. Often low sexual desire causes relationship conflict, impacting quality of life.

For women, low sexual desire may reduce sexual enjoyment including lack of arousal, little sexual enjoyment and difficulty achieving orgasm. Such dissatisfaction with the sexual relationship often causes further relationship discontent. Seeking assistance for low sexual desire can improve personal sexual satisfaction as well as improving intimate partnerships.

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Reasons for Low Sexual Desire

Some possible reasons for those suffering with low sexual desire include:

  • Ageing
  • Menopause
  • Medical complications
  • Partner sexual dysfunction
  • Medications
  • Relationship concerns
  • Communication problems

How Sex Therapy Can Help With Low Sexual Desire

Seeing a sex therapist for low sexual desire can be useful, often resulting in a deeper understanding of the causes, as well as suggestions to increase desire. A clinically qualified sex therapist will initially take a comprehensive sexual history, to understand personal, relational, generational and cultural influences on sexual desire. From there a treatment plan will be devised in conjunction with the client to facilitate optimum outcomes. Depending on the nature or causes of low sexual desire, sessions will incorporate talk therapy, psycho-education, homework exercises and partnered exercises where necessary.

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References:

  • Basson, R., Berman, J., Burnett, A., Derogatis, L., Ferguson, D., Fourcroy, J., … & Whipple, B. (2000). Report of the international consensus development conference on female sexual dysfunction: definitions and classifications. The Journal of Urology, 163(3), 888-893.
  • Dennerstein, L., Koochaki, P., Barton, I., & Graziottin, A. (2006). Hypoactive sexual desire disorder in menopausal women: a survey of Western European women. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 3(2), 212-222.
  • Rosen, R. C. (2000). Prevalence and risk factors of sexual dysfunction in men and women. Current Psychiatry Reports, 2(3), 189-195.