Female Libido Disorder – Fact or Fiction?

It has recently been suggested that “libido disorder” – or sexual dysfunction in women is merely something the drug companies created to boost their sales.  However, for the reported 43% of women suffering from sexual dysfunction, the symptoms and their accompanying consequences are very real, and not something most women want to talk about.

According to the Mayo Clinic, libido disorder is defined as “persistent, recurrent problems with sexual response or desire — that distress you or strain your relationship with your partner.”  It can occur at any stage in life and can be ongoing or only happen once in a while.  There are four types of “libido disorders”:

  • Low Sexual Desire – diminished libido or lack of sex drive
  • Sexual Arousal Disorder – the desire for sex is intact, however, becoming aroused or maintaining arousal during sexual activity is difficult
  • Orgasmic Disorder – persistent or recurrent difficulty in achieving orgasm (despite adequate arousal)
  • Sexual Pain Disorder – pain associated with sexual stimulation or contact

A recent article in the New York Times found that more and more women are reaching for over-the-counter solutions to their sexual problems.  In the absence of a government approved female counterpart to men’s potency drugs such as Viagra and Cialis, women are left to fend for themselves with what’s readily available in the pharmacy and chain store aisles.  The choices are limited at best.

A study released in the July 2013 issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility, found that pre-menopausal women who aren’t interested in sex and are unhappy about it have distinctive blood flow patterns in their brains in response to explicit videos, compared to women with normal sexual function.  Researchers hope that a clearer understanding of physiological differences in these women will provide novel therapy approaches as well as a method to objectively assess therapies, said Michael P. Diamond, M.D., the study’s senior author at the Medical College of Georgia.

Female libido disorder continues to remain a controversial topic even as it became an official diagnosis in the recently released May 2013 edition of the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).  The official diagnosis is “Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder.”


  1. Wynter

    I can understand why someone would ask if female sexual dysfunction would be a myth. As a women, my libido is often times elusive. If only it was as easy to treat as it is for men. In working with my doctor I’m starting to understand it’s not only physical but also physiological and psychological.