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Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder

In the last post, I presented an overview of female orgasmic disorder. In addition, I will share information on female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD) in this post.

We are desirous of great intimate moments with our significant others. We have fantasies from and before our earliest sexual experiences. We continuously update our erotic imagery to share or live out with a significant other.

Possessing erotic imagery gets us sexually aroused. For example, in a popular publication, a man shared that his wife can experience an orgasm just by thinking about it. Even if his assertion seems doubtful, the ability to get an orgasm by thinking about it is excellent for that couple. But for some women getting sexually interested/aroused is not as simple as thinking about orgasm and getting one.

What is female sexual interest/arousal disorder?

The American Psychological Association Dictionary defines FSIAD as "a condition in which a woman recurrently or persistently is unable to attain or maintain adequate vaginal lubrication and swelling during sexual excitement, causing marked distress or interpersonal difficulty."

What are the possible causes of FSIAD?

The possible causes of FSIAD listed here are not exhaustive; the reasons listed here are among the most commonly identified.

  • Psychological – trauma, low self-esteem, poor body image, anxiety, depression, relationship problems

  • Hormones – birth control pills, menopause, vaginal dryness

  • Medications – side effects that affect the woman's sexual interest, causes vaginal dryness

  • Inadequate sexual stimulation – the woman does not get aroused from self-stimulation or stimulation from her partner. Vaginal dryness even after stimulation.

  • Medical/treatments – decreased blood flow to the genitals, diabetes, chemotherapy.

Diagnosis and Symptoms

The symptoms manifest situationally, in generalized settings, or all contexts. A woman experiencing lower sexual arousal/interest than her partner is not sufficient to diagnose her with FSIAD. The diagnosis is also not made if the low sexual interest/arousal results from another condition. However, the presence of FSIAD symptoms should be addressed and not ignored.

Criterion A

The woman experiences the absence or reduction of:

  • Sexual interest

  • Erotic or sexual fantasies

  • Initiation of sexual activity, a lack of response to her partner's attempt to initiate sexual activity

  • Sexual excitement 75% - 100% of the time, the lack of sexual excitement/pleasures occurs in some situations, generalized circumstances, or all contexts.

  • Arousal/interest is sexual activity triggered by internal or external sexual cues such as sexting, erotic talk, or seeing sexual images.

  • Genital or nongenital feelings during sex most times of none at all about 75% - 100% of the time (situationally, generally, or in all contexts)

Criterion B

  • Duration – the symptoms have persisted for a minimum of six months (at least three symptoms of criterion A).

Criterion C

  • Due to the symptoms of criterion A, she experiences clinically significant distress from not having sexual interest/arousal.

Criterion D

  • The sexual dysfunction is not precipitated by or better explained by nonsexual mental disorder, violence, relationship distress, substance abuse, or a medical condition.

Subtypes of FSIAD

Like female orgasmic disorder, FSIAD has subtypes. Unlike female orgasmic disorder with five subtypes, FSIAD has four sub-types: when a woman is diagnosed with FSIAD, it is one of four subtypes.

  • Lifelong – the disruption in the woman's sexual interest/arousal since she became sexually active.

  • Acquired – the woman previously experienced normal sexual functioning, but her sexual interest/arousal has lately diminished.

  • Generalized – the stimulation method, situation, partner does not always result in the woman experiencing sexual interest/arousal.

  • Situational – the woman's sexual interest/arousal is limited to specific situations, for example, the type of simulation, situation, or partner.

The severity of the dysfunction is mild, moderate, or severe.

Treatment of FSIAD

FSIAD treatment depends on symptom presentation and the suspected cause of the condition. Suggested therapies may include sex therapy (education) and talk therapy (deal with the distress) with a licensed professional or medical doctor (hormonal treatment).

This blog post is a summary of FSIAD. Should you experience any of the symptoms listed above, contact your medical or mental health provider for further assessment.

Stay Naturally Curious


American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders 5th edition.

Hyde, J. S. & Delamater, J. D. (2011). Understanding human sexuality, (11th, ed.), McGraw-Hill.

Lacroix, N. (1995), The better sex guide, Anness Publishing Limited.

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