Sex = Living Well + Loving Well

How is “normal” female sexuality defined by cultural norms?

Historically female sexuality has been given little attention but, in 2015, women’s sexuality hits “prime time,” but not quite its “prime.”

What is hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD)?

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is the persistent or recurrent deficiency or absence of sexual thoughts, fantasies, and/or desire for sexual activity. It causes personal distress or interpersonal difficulties.


  • Women ranked having a healthy sex life higher than career satisfaction, home ownership, traveling and having a social life
  • 57 percent of women believed they were having too little sex
  • Women with HSDD are up to eight to 10 times more likely than women with normal desire to report feeling unhappy, disappointed, upset, frustrated, sad, ashamed, bitter and feeling like sexual failures

Female sexual drive and the central nervous system

  • Dopamine modulates sexual desire
  • Both norepinephrine and dopamine increase the sense of sexual excitement and the desire to continue sexual activity
  • Neurotransmitters modulate the secretion of many hormones
  • Hormones influence synthesis and storage of these neurotransmitters

Motivation and the desire for sex are based on psychosocial factors. These factors include:

  • Relationship conflict
  • Major life stressors
  • Boredom
  • Discrepant desire levels between partners
  • Cultural/religious prohibitions/guilt
  • Subclinical depression/anxiety/body image

Good news!

There are drugs in development or that have been approved for low desire. One drug is fibanserin or brand name Addyi. Here is some information about this drug:

  • It was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2015
  • The advisory committee hearing was June 4, 2015
  • It was approved on August 18, 2015
  • It will be available after October 17, 2015

More Information

To learn more about UH Women’s Health Institute, or to speak to a navigator, please call 440-720-3262.

Need to Refer a Patient?

Click here for Patient Referrals

Browse Services A-Z

Maps and Directions

Click here for directions