Inhibited sexual desire

Alternative Names

Sexual aversion; Sexual apathy; Hypoactive sexual desire

Definition of Inhibited sexual desire

Inhibited sexual desire (ISD) refers to a low level of sexual interest. A person with ISD will not start, or respond to their partner’s desire for, sexual activity.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

ISD is a very common sexual disorder. Often it occurs when one partner does not feel intimate or close to the other.


The primary symptom is lack of sexual interest.

Signs and tests

Most of the time, a medical exam and lab tests will not show a physical cause.


Treatment must be targeted to the factors that may be lowering sexual interest. Often, there may be several such factors.

Expectations (prognosis)

Disorders of sexual desire are often difficult to treat. They seem to be even more challenging to treat in men. For help, get a referral to someone who specializes in sex and marital therapy.


Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/11/2010

Causes of sexual dysfunction

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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