When someone has hypoactive sexual desire (HSD), there are diminished or absent feel­ings of sexual interest in, or desire for, sexual activity (Heiman, 2002). However, a per­son with a HSD can still function sexually even though he or she often does not feel in­terested in sex. Studies have found that 33% of women and 16% of men report a lack of sexual interest (Laumann et al., 1999). A large multicultural study on sexual dysfunction found that the prevalence of hypoactive sexual desire increased as women aged—10% of women under the age of 49 reported hypoactive sexual desire, whereas 22% of women between the ages of 50 and 65 and 47% of women between the ages of 66 and74 reported diminished interest or desire (R. W. Lewis et al., 2004).

HSD may be manifested in several different ways. There may be a lack of sexual fantasies, a reduction of or absence in initiating sexual activity, or a decrease in self-stimulation. Primary HSD, the less common type, is diagnosed when a person has a lifelong pattern of complete disinterest in sex. Secondary HSD, which is more common, refers to a problem in which desire was normal for a certain period of time but then diminished.

Human Sexuality in a Diverse World