Objective: Little is known about the natural history of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). We examined the sociodemographic, relationship, help seeking, sexual function, and medical characteristics of women with a clinical diagnosis of generalized, acquired HSDD by menopause status.
Methods: This study was a cross-sectional baseline data analysis from the HSDD Registry for Women (N = 1,574, from 33 US clinical sites). HSDD was clinically diagnosed and confirmed. Validated measures of sexual function, relationship factors, and health, as well as newly developed questions on help seeking were assessed using the questionnaire.
Results: Participants were predominantly married or living with a partner (81.7%) and represented a range of race/ethnic backgrounds and ages (mean ± SD, 42.9 ± 11.9 y). Most (56.8%) described their HSDD severity as “moderate to severe,” with 26.5% rating the problem severe. Nonetheless, most women (69.8%) reported being happy in their relationship, and 61.8% were satisfied with their partner communication. Postmenopausal women had lower Female Sexual Function Index total scores, indicating worse sexual function (14.0 ± 7.5) than premenopausal women (16.7 ± 6.8, P < 0.001), although both groups had similarly low scores on the sexual desire domain (3.4 ± 1.3 vs 3.3 ± 1.4). Less than half of the overall sample had sought professional help, among whom hormonal treatments had been used by 23.7% of postmenopausal women and by 7.6% of premenopausal women.
Conclusions: Most women with HSDD were in long-term partner relationships with high levels of overall relationship satisfaction. Postmenopausal women were more likely to seek help for their disorder, despite similarly high levels of distress associated with HSDD. Further research is needed to examine treatment outcomes.