Relationship between hypoactive sexual desire disorder and aging - My Sexual Health

Relationship between hypoactive sexual desire disorder and aging

Hayes R et al., 2007


Explore the association between Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) and aging. The American Foundation of Urologic Disease and the American Psychiatric Association stipulate that HSDD is only diagnosed when both low sexual desire and sexually related personal distress are present.

  • Design: Community-based, cross-sectional study.
  • Setting: Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy) and the USA.
  • Patient(s): Women aged 20-70 in sexual relationships participating in the Women’s International Study of Health and Sexuality (n=1998 Europe, n=1591 USA).
  • Intervention(s): No interventions were administered.
  • Main outcome measures: Self-administered questionnaire that included two validated instruments: Profile of Female Sexual Function(c) measured sexual desire; Personal Distress Scale(c) measured sexual distress. Women with low desire and distress were considered to have HSDD.


The proportion of European women with low desire increased from 11% amongst women aged 20-29 years to 53% amongst women aged 60-70 years. The proportion of American women with low desire displayed a trend towards an increase with age. In the 20-29 year age group 65% of European women and 67% of American women with low sexual desire were distressed by it. This decreased to 22% and 37%, respectively, in the 60-70 year age group. In Europe and the USA the prevalence of HSDD in the population did not change significantly with age (6-13% in Europe, 12-19% in the USA).


The proportion of women with low desire increased with age while the proportion of women distressed about their low desire decreased with age. Consequently, the prevalence of HSDD remained essentially constant with age. This may explain why no association between HSDD and age is often reported in the literature.