Low Sex Drive Has an Emotional Impact

It's a common side-effect of menopause: low female sex drive, more formally called hypoactive sexual desire disorder. And a new study shows that low sexual desire in women has emotional repercussions for both men and women.

This study, called DESIRE(R) (Desire and its Effects on Female Sexuality Including Relationships), was the result of a survey of 5,098 women in Europe and was presented at the the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH) 2010 Annual Meeting in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The women were surveyed on a wide range of attitudes and behaviors relating to their experience of low sexual desire. The reports of their frequency and level of sexual desire over the last 12 months were significantly correlated with reports of their level of distress about their low sexual desire and with each of these negative emotional responses. Many of the women reported experiencing negative emotions, such as dissatisfaction with their sex life, guilt about sexual difficulties and distress about their sex life, frequently or always during the previous three months.

The DESIRE study methodology consisted of 65,129 women, ages 18-88 years, from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, participating in a demographically representative research panel. These women completed an initial screening comprised of the first four questions of the Decreased Sexual Desire Screener(R) (DSDS(R)). The DSDS is a five-question diagnostic tool that assists non-expert clinicians in the clinical diagnosis of generalized, acquired Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), with more than 85 percent accuracy. In total, 7,542 women answered "yes" to all four questions and did not attribute their desire problem to partner sexual issues or physical trauma and 5,098 women further chose to participate in the in-depth survey.

The study and patient registry are supported by unrestricted grants through Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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