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Asexuality and HSDD | Did You Know?

Not everyone has a desire for sex.

Based on what we see in the media, that may be hard to believe. Doesn’t everyone want to have sex?

The answer is no. And there are at least two ways to look at the situation.

For some people, lack of sexual interest is a problem. They don’t feel much sexual attraction to their partner and don’t have sexual fantasies or thoughts. No medical condition can explain why. This may have been true all their lives or it may be a recent change. Either way, it causes them distress. Many are diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) and seek treatment.

For others, not wanting sex isn’t a problem. Typically, asexuals aren’t interested in sex. The key difference for asexuals, however, is that they don’t feel distress. They don’t see a need for treatment.

The distress distinction is an important one in light of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a reference book used by American mental health professionals to classify disorders based on symptoms. A new edition of the DSM is scheduled for release in 2013 and the HSDD section is being revised.

Some feel that asexuality is the low end of a continuum of sexual desire. If this is true, then could asexuals be diagnosed with HSDD?

It’s possible. But many asexuals feel that since they do not feel distress, there is no reason to diagnose them with a sexual dysfunction.


American Psychiatric Association – DSM-5 Development
“About DSM-5"

Archives of Sexual Behavior via
Brotto, Lori A.
“The DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in Women”
(Published online: September 24, 2009)

Journal of Sexual Medicine
Brotto, Lori A., PhD
“The DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in Men”
(Published online: June 1, 2010)