iCliniq logo

Ask a Doctor Online Now

HomeHealth articlesstressWhat Is Inhibited Sexual Desire?

Inhibited Sexual Desire - A Sexual Dysfunction.

Verified dataVerified data

4 min read


Inhibited sexual desire (ISD) is defined as a lack of interest in or pleasure from sex. People with inhibited sexual desire will have no interest in initiating sex.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Raveendran S R

Published At October 10, 2022
Reviewed AtNovember 28, 2022


Inhibited sexual desire is an inability to experience sexual desire or arousal. Recent studies show that 32 % of women and 15 % of men suffer from low sexual desire. It can be a symptom of a variety of different physical or mood disorders and conditions. Inhibited sexual desire may affect the way you feel about yourself and your sexuality. Read on more to know about its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.

How Is Inhibited Sexual Desire Explained?

A medical condition that can cause a lack of interest in sex is known as inhibited sexual desire (ISD). Inhibited sexual desire differs from low libido, which is the term for feeling less interested in sex than usual. Inhibited sexual desire also differs from erectile dysfunction (ED), where the affected individual has trouble getting or keeping an erection; ED is not necessarily related to the sexual desire level but can be one symptom of inhibited sexual desire. Specifically, inhibited sexual desire does not equal any specific disorder.

How Does Inhibited Sexual Desire Occur?

Sexual desire problems are common in men and women. In fact, almost all adult men and women will experience some type of sexual dysfunction during their lifetime. Inhibited sexual desire is more common in older adults, but it can affect anyone. Inhibited sexual desire can be a sign of:

  • Stress.

  • Depression.

  • Anxiety.

  • Relationship problems.

  • Lack of intimacy or communication with one's partner.

  • Lack of trust in relationships.

  • Lack of sleep.

  • Sexual abuse or trauma from past experiences.

  • Sexual hormonal imbalance.

  • Recent pregnancy.

  • Body image issues.

  • Aging.

  • Breastfeeding.

It is important to note that inhibited sexual desire may also be due to medical reasons. The most common physical causes include:

  • Diabetes.

  • Heart problems.

  • Endocrine disorders.

  • Neurological diseases.

  • Multiple sclerosis.

  • Thyroid disease.

  • Addison’s disease.

  • Stroke.

  • HIV.

  • Hormonal imbalance.

Medication side effects are another potential cause of inhibited sexual desire. Some medications that can cause inhibited sexual desire include:

  • Antidepressants.

  • Anti-anxiety medications.

  • Opioids.

  • Chemotherapy.

  • Antihypertensive drugs.

Patients taking these medications should discuss treatment options with the doctor so that they can help find an alternative medication that does not have the same side effect profile as the current drug regimen. In some cases, the dose of medication may need to be lowered or stopped altogether for the patient and their partner to experience libido.

How Does ISD Affect Women?

Inhibited sexual desire is a common concern among women. It can range from low libido to total lack of interest in sex, and it can affect a woman’s quality of life. Many women with inhibited sexual desire have never had an orgasm or any other kind of sexual satisfaction and find it difficult to express their sexuality because they feel inadequate or unattractive.

Inhibited sexual desire in women may be caused by stress and anxiety (such as the stress of taking care of children), past trauma or abuse, hormonal issues such as menopause or thyroid problems, depression or other mental health conditions, medication side effects (including birth control pills) and relationship problems.

How is Inhibited Sexual Desire Treated?

As with many other physical and mental ailments, a medical professional can help the patient understand the nature of the condition and determine whether there is a solution. Treatment for inhibited sexual desire is often administered in combination with sex therapy.

Based on certain conditions, the doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT), antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, hypnosis, or cognitive behavior therapy.

When the doctor is not able to find any physical causes for the problem, patients may be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist specializing in sexual disorders. A psychologist can help identify underlying causes and develop strategies to deal with them. A psychiatrist can prescribe medications to treat psychological problems that may affect the sex drive. Psychologists and psychiatrists can also help patients work on improving communication skills with partners, which helps the patient and partner to meet each other’s needs.

Inhibited sexual desire is treatable. Here are some of the best options:

  • Medication - Some medicines help increase chemical levels in the brain, which can improve mood and make patients more interested in sex.

  • Psychological Therapy - Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective for treating inhibited sexual desire because it helps to recognize and alter thought patterns that may be causing problems with one's sexuality. Cognitive-behavioral therapy also teaches communication skills to help improve one's relationship with their partner.

  • Physical therapy.

  • Exercise.

  • Techniques for managing stress and relaxation include meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and mindfulness, which may help reduce anxiety and increase sexual health.

Talking to one's partner when feeling stressed or suffering from depression is a good idea. If the partner is causing stress or depression, that may be a good reason to seek therapy oneself. If one is facing issues with one's partner, one could consider talking to someone trained in couples counseling or find support groups dedicated to helping people with intimacy issues.


The physiological and psychological factors can lead to inhibited sexual desire, as well as the ways that our culture often stigmatizes sexuality in older women and creates more barriers for them. Sex can be a really important part of life regardless of any medical issues or age-related effects. Partners with inhibited sexual desire should work together to set up a system so that neither partner feels pressured into having sex when one or both of them is not in the mood. It is important to be aware of the many reasons behind inhibited sexual desire, and if one suspects that they have it, they should seek help. The physician may also recommend other treatments, such as behavioral therapy or couples counseling, in order to address any underlying issues inhibiting sexual desire.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Causes For Low Sexual Desire?

Many factors can result in suppresal sexual desire, which includes: 
 - Anxiety or depression.
 - Low self-esteem.
 - History of sexual abuse.
 - Erectile dysfunction.
 - Vaginal dryness.
 - Certain medications.
 - Certain medical conditions include diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, and so on.
 - Aging.
 - Lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking.


What Is the Treatment of Hypoactive Sexual Desire?

The treatment for hypoactive sexual desire includes sex therapy and medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps in recognizing problems with sexuality. Physical therapy, exercise, and relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing help to reduce hypoactive sexual desire.


What Are the Causes of Erectile Dysfunction?

The causes of erectile dysfunction include:
 - Stress.
 - Anxiety or depression.
 - Relationship problems.
 - Diabetes.
 - Hypertension.
 - High cholesterol levels.
 - Hypothyroidism.
 - Hormonal imbalance.
 - Sleep disorders.
 - Smoking.
 - Alcohol.
 - Epilepsy.
 - Peyronie's disease.


How Is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?

Treatment of erectile dysfunction includes medications, testosterone therapy, penile injections, and penile implants. Regular exercise reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction. Psychological counseling helps reduce stress, anxiety, or depression and thereby helps with  erection.


How does Erectile Dysfunction Affects Man?

The inability of the penis to achieve or maintain an erection is called erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction in men causes reduced sexual desire, feelings of depression, lack of self-confidence, socially isolation, and mentally instablity.


What Are the Most Common Endocrine Disorders?

The most common endocrine disorders include
 - Diabetes.
 - Thyroid disorders.
 - Polycystic ovary syndrome.
 - Low testosterone.
 - Osteoporosis.
 - Adrenal insufficiency.
 - Gigantism.
 - Cushing's disease.
 - Precocious puberty.


What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Endocrine Problems?

The common signs of endocrine problems include:
 - Weakness.
 - Fatigue.
 - Mood fluctuations.
 - Abnormal blood glucose or cholesterol veles.
 - Weight abnormalities.


What Is the Most Common Female Endocrine Disorder?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common female endocrine disorder. It is often characterized by small cysts on the surface of the ovary but can also occur with larger cysts or egg-containing sacs inside the ovary. Prevention includes maintaining a healthy weight and exercise regimen throughout your life.


What Are the Blood Tests Available for Endocrine Disorders?

The blood tests for endocrine disorders look for changes in levels of these hormones, which include: 
 - Cortisol test.
 - Thyroid gland test.
 - Prolactin tests.
 - Blood glucose test.


What Are the Medications Used for Endocrine Disorders?

Endocrine disorders can be treated by taking medications that stop the production or action of hormones in the body. They are
 - Enzyme inhibitors.
 - Antithyroid drugs.
 - Hypoglycemic drugs.
 - Long-acting insulin .
 - Hormone-regulating drugs.


What Is the Most Common Endocrine Disorder in the Elderly?

Primary hyperparathyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder, in which the parathyroid glands produce excessive parathyroid hormone. When there is too much parathyroid hormone, the body cannot regulate calcium levels properly, which can lead to damage to bones, teeth, and tissues throughout the body.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Raveendran S R
Dr. Raveendran S R



Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Ask your health query to a doctor online


*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy