Lack of sexual desire is the main difficulty that couples come to sex therapy worldwide.

Low sexual desire most common found in women, but recently began to increase and the number of men. Some researchers have attributed this with the fact that women have become more sexually active and men require sexual contact.

Low sexual desire can take various forms:

  • when the desire is reduced to a specific partner;
  • the desire is reduced because of a specific situation;
  • the desire is reduced because of some type of sexual contact;
  • an extreme form, when the desire of sex does not arise. Desires may not ever be in life, or the abyss for good in a certain situation.

Low sexual desire is distinguished from aversion to sex, fear of any genital contact. Some researchers attribute these States to the same continuum (Schover), while others believe that it is absolutely different phenomena (Kaplan). The types of fears can be very different: fear of Contracting STDs, fear of pregnancy, a reminder of the sexual trauma from the past experience of one's own abnormality and inadequacy.

Symptoms of low sexual desire

In the classification of disorders in DSM–5 that is what is written about low sexual desire:

"Low sexual desire is permanent or situational reduction or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sex. The decision about reduced or absent sexual desire adopts a therapist, based on factors such as gender, age and living conditions of the client. Not necessarily occur with concomitant disorder, such as depression."

Among practitioners there is still no consensus about how to define so called "normal" frequency of sex. For example, if a person has no desire, but wants to make a pleasant partner, would this be considered low sexual desire?

the Criterion about the imagination is also controversial, as at present, rather little research on how often needs to occur sexual fantasies and what should be their content.

But the main problem of all this is that making the final diagnosis rests with the therapist.

Sexual desire is less studied in comparison with the phases of the plateau, excitation, orgasm, refractory period, and it is of the most complex, because it includes behavior, communication, emotions, fantasies and thoughts.

If you classify sexual desire based on the number of sexual contacts, the peak of sexuality in men, according to Kinsey, we have to end adolescence, and then begins to decline. Women peak at 30 years and then also begins to decline.

LoPicollo and Friedman conducted a study on pairs to identify the difference between a "real sexual activity" and "desired sexual activity." The results showed that couples desire sexual activity more than real sexual contact. Therefore, to measure sexual desire only for actual sexual activity is not effective. Between the human desire to have sex and the actual operation there are several important aspects: (1) interest to his partner (2) actions or psychological state, which can not be combined with sexual activity (3) difficulties in couple relationships, which limit sexual expression. Therefore, in addition to the frequency of actual sexual contacts is important to pay attention to the desire to have sex.

In the late 20th century has become a popular approach of masters and Johnson and Helen Kaplan to work with low sexual desire, but it was more based on changing behavior, not to mention the emotional conflicts inside couple.

in women to a greater extent desire is not spontaneous and it depends on the context of relationships (but also for men the same all the same maybe!!!)

causes of low sexual desire

psychological causes

  • Hormonal imbalance - a global loss of desire, age, chronic pain, diabetes, the pill and antihistamine
  • Side effects of medications

Psychological causes

  • Excessive social pressure to be "sexually active"
  • Negative beliefs (especially religious) beyond expectation upbringing in a strict and religious family
  • in a couple: miscommunications, lack of physical contact, addiction, differences in sexual interests, lack of mutual consent, expectations that any physical contact must always lead to sex, conflict, the inability of the partners to hear each other.Lack of sexual desire is an expression of a broader conflict pairs.
  • Fear of closeness and intimacy. The lack of desire supports distance so as not to converge.
  • Neprorabotanny and unexpressed anger towards a partner
  • Fear of rejection by partner
  • Fear of negative evaluation
  • influenced by the presence of other sexual difficulties, anxiety, depression.
  • Sexual trauma (violence, abuse)
  • Traumatic pregnancy (missed abortion, miscarriage, abortion)
  • Traumatic childbirth
  • Stress (job, child etc)
  • Frustration
  • Lack of Masturbation
  • Aversion to oral sex
  • Stereotype, what partner should begin having sex
  • Lack of emotional intimacy. The partner of the person with low desire can also be difficult. He may feel rejected and scared. This increases the pressure that leads to resistance on the other, and this creates a vicious circle

What to do?

  • Hormone therapy if the result of the medical tests will include a lack of hormones
  • Treatment of depression (pharmacological treatment and psychotherapy)
  • with alarm
  • guilt
  • Working with traumatic experience
  • an Expression of anger partner
  • Work with fear of intimacy
  • Masturbation. Effective among women, because girls with childhood masturbate less than boys
  • Study pleasant physical contact (non-sexual and sexual (genital) character)
  • couples Therapy if the problem is connected with the relationships (respect, trust, intimacy, emotional security)
  • Sexual development: sexual education, sexual communication, sexual fantasies, create around themselves a positive sex environment


  • David C. Macphee , Susan M. Johnson & Monika M. C. van Der Veer “Low sexual desire in women: The effects of marital therapy”
  • Gilles Trudel, Lyne Landry& Yvette Larose. “Low sexual desire: The role of anxiety, depression and marital adjustment”
  • Genring, D. Couple Therapy for Low Sexual Desire: A Systemic Approach”
  • Leslie R. Schover, PhD & Joseph LoPiccolo, PhD. “Treatment effectiveness for dysfunctions of sexual desire”
  • Lynda Dykes Talmadge, PhD & William C. Talmadge, PhD.“Relational sexuality: An understanding of low sexual desire”
  • Peggy J. Kleinplatz, Maxime Charest, Shannon Lawless, Marlene Neufeld, Robert Neufeld, Danielle Pratt, A. Dana Ménard, Bogdan Buduru & Lianne Rosen. “From Sexual Desire Discrepancies to Desirable Sex: Creating the Optimal Connection”
  • Roger C. Katz& David Jardine. “The relationship between worry, sexual aversion, and low sexual desire”
  • Trudel, G. "Review of psychological factors in low sexual desire"

Cousine Maria
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