Women With Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

I just read this news article today. It appears that scientists beavering away at Wayne State University in Detroit have found that women with low libido exhibit brain patterns which are different from highly sexed women.

Women who lack sex drive have different brains, say US scientists
    • Low libido not just psychological
    • Highly sexed women's brains work differently
    • Controversial condition does exist - scientists

WOMEN who have a low sex drive could now have a scientific explanation for their lack of desire after US experts found their brains behave differently to other females.

Those with a low libido have distinct patterns of brain activity compared to those with a healthy sex drive, according to a study by Wayne State University in Detroit, suggesting that a long-term lack of interest in sex is not just all in the mind.

Certain areas of the brain that normally light up when processing information about sex fail to do so in women with a condition known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), doctors said.

Dr Michael Diamond said that his study offered “significant evidence” that the controversial condition does exist as a physiological disorder, rather than being purely psychological.

The latest study involved 19 pre-menopausal women with clinically-diagnosed HSDD and seven women with normal sexual function.

They were asked to watch television for half an hour, during which time a blank blue screen, everyday shows and erotic videos were alternated every minute.

At the same time, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans showed differences in how the women’s brains reacted to sexual stimuli, with particular changes seen in regions known to play a role in emotional or sensory processing.

Dr Diamond, who was due to present the latest study to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, said: “The study indicates that there are some similarities between women with normal sexual function and those with HSDD, but that there are certain areas of the brain that have different characteristics."

“There are some parts of the brain that light up, that show increased blood flow in certain regions in women with normal sexual function, and other regions that are the opposite.

"The insular cortices, an area where there’s interpretation of emotions, is the area where there’s a difference in changes in blood flow between the two groups.”

Read at: http://www.news.com.au/world/women-who-lack-sex-drive-have-different-brains-say-us-scientists/story-e6frfkyi-1225943952147#ixzz13W7baERr

I have a few thoughts about this.

Firstly, this may well become a standard reason given by a refuser (i.e. sorry hon, its just the way I am - check out the research).

Secondly, if your partner has HSDD, would you consider it an acceptable enough 'medical' condition for you to remain in your sexless marriage or would you feel that it would go some way towards helping you leave your sexless marriage?

Thirdly, do you think it would play a role in how favorably or unfavorably you are viewed should you seek a divorce? 

Most importantly, when will a portable scanner be mass produced so we can scan prospective partners for the preferred brain patterns. Then the sex people can be with the sex people and the non or low sex people can be with the non and low sex people .

Just a few thoughts. I'd love to know what you think.




LaoTzu LaoTzu
41-45, M
17 Responses Oct 26, 2010

It truly sucks! I guess, a person who decides they do not love their spouse can just think about quitting their marriage. In my case, I started out believing things would improve over time. I am for the first time with someone who is perfect for me in every way and it turns out, or looks like, she may have this HSDD. I wish there was more information giving practical professional help. I mean, lets assume we are here because we have tried all the obvious. I don't need advice on how to show my wife affection, or romance, or bring her flowers, or help her with the dishes etc. What would be super helpful is tell me how, I tell her we need to seek professional help without making her feel that she is no good? That would be a freaking gynormous help for starters.

My questions are:
1...but many of the spouses here were so called" normal sexually", at least for awhile. You would think that this type of individual would always be a very low libido person. Unless there is some association that hormones play, that decrease the libido even further.

and...my next question,
2... why didn't they test the men? They have to have the same problem. This group is pretty well evenly divided among man and women ....

Would I consider it "acceptable": The answer to that is... it depends. I have a certain inherited physiologically oriented disorder for which there is an easy way to treat it simply by taking a pill each day. While I don't believe that anything of this nature exists yet I know it is possible for treatments to be developed.

I would certainly agree with this theory - the only thing I can tie it to from my own research is a lack of oxytocin production capability in the hypothalamus, and the two theories are not necessarily incompatible.

The short version: Now? Hell no. A few years down the line when they can reliably treat it? Different story.

Do I think this would play a role in the way that I was perceived for seeking divorce: Maybe it would, but honestly I don't care at all. The short reality of it is that I'm not happy, it's the person who I married that is making me unhappy, she's not going to change, so I will do what is best for me. I've spent a lifetime trying to do what was best for others and now I'm going to take care of me, and to hell with what others think about it.

Scanner: sounds like overkill. You can probably do this with base biometric feedback. Expose two people to the same base stimuli to establish baseline readings and then expose them to the normal/blue/erotic stimuli and measure their response to see if they are similarly engaged.

Basically, a slightly more in depth version of a lie detector test. This could be made now, but would still have to be administered by trained professionals.

I have this. And it's so confusing and frustrating. I've enjoyed relationships, cuddling, etc. But I've just never felt any genuine interest in having sex with someone. And every time I've tried anything sexual with a partner it's felt forced, unpleasant, or even a little scary. I'm worried I'm going to be alone because of this. Really feel for anyone going through the same thing never mind their "normal" married partners...

The portable scanner would be the perfect, objective tool to determine if your partner is truly in love (or capable of loving) or just a terrific actor. I wish I'd had it 23 years ago. My wife does not light up those brain sections!

Two things the researchers should have included: 1) do people ever change? Will a "non-lighter" ever light up those dim sections of the brain? 2) if the woman is administered testosterone, will that help to light up those sections of her brain?

well, I guess if you could rate it, folks could add it to their dating profile, like their credit rating...<br />
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Deffo a market for such things... will probably bring as much as love to people as sharing credit scores.

No way! I think that if the government can mandate premarital blood testing for STDs, they had better mandate testing with this portable scanner. Better than a polygraph, I believe that it may prove if true interest exists.

Just think, it would be like a guy's penis. If he's attracted, the old "penometer" will rise and indicate his attraction. I think this is true with women's nipples, but they are harder (no pun intended) to detect.

Yep. When I am highly attracted to a man, I'd be willing to guarantee that different areas of my brain show up in contrast to when I'm not attracted to a man....

Currently living in a sexless marriage, or at least one that I consider sexless. I am a very healthy 40yo male and if I want any "happy time" with my wife, it takes a few days and a lot of begging to finally get her to consent. She says she has no drive. Please spare me all the insults, I ran across this article while searching "how long do women live in a sexless marriage" to try and determine what an acceptable "waiting" period is.

A refuser should add this article to their arsenal of excuses.<br />
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Because for me, I was HSDD for 14 years. Then an old flame contacted me and I was healed overnight. Literally.

It seems like HSDD was your version of "I'm just not that into you" but with a medical diagnosis. I'm glad you've been cured : )

I love the idea of rethinking public spaces and societal norms. I was musing to WP earlier that by catering to both sides of the equation, if the sex-inclined people found sex-inclined people, if sexlessness is a genetic predisposition, it might well be slowly bred out. ROFL!!

I'm envisaging some kind of New Age divining rod that starts clicking as you approach any person who is sexually compatible. . .! This will necessitate a complete re-think by the civic fathers as to the meaning of "public spaces". . . ! Shopping Centres may need to include "Recreation Rooms" as well as Rest Rooms. . . Parks may need to increase their numbers of rotundas! Churches might even want to set aside part of the Church Hall for Private Worship . . .<br />
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What other societal adjustments do you forsee being necessary?? (And Lao, if you manage to create a proto-type, you will never have money worries ever again!! LOL)

LOL!! @WP - it would be kinda cool no? <br />
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On a more serious note. Yes, brain pliability (notice how its liability with a p in front), plays a role as does willingness to work on it. LIC and a few others made reference to desire. So, given that the brain is pliable and that it boils down to willingness of the refuser to work on the issue. I am wondering if one can work on desire, especially if a refusing spouse has no desire for one, does not love one that way.

I saw something several weeks ago on TV. Secrets of the Mind where they did before & after scans on couples. <br />
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There is a guy that does brain scans Dr. Daniel Amen, Amen clinics, Southern California?<br />
Has written a few books on the subject.. Change your Brain Change your Life and The Brain in Love amongst others.<br />
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Good sex does start in the brain. <br />
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The legitimacy of the recognition of the medical field of certain disorders can sway in either direction to be used as a standard point of deflection by a refuser OR it could be used to work towards change, as the brain pliable as stated above & new pathways can be created. I imagine the decision made will have a lot to do with how the parties brain functions. <br />
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We are all different & there is so much that we do not yet know nor understand. Interesting stuff. Life! Have a Good One!

Could be the proverbial chicken or egg dilemma. Does lack of sex cause changes to the brain OR does a brain malfunction cause the sexlessness? Have not read the study, but I am curious. Is it a neurotransmitter problem or a physical change to the structure of the brain? If its the former, it has pharmacological potential. If its the latter, well...lobotomies are no longer performed.

short version: lack of a loving sex life leads to depressed brains. <br />
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Golly gee, I could have told you that.

Well now!! There you go...identifying the brain signature - turn it into a very simple app. Everyone will want it. We can even have a proximity alert - so the app can show up the closest potential matches - for those who pre-record their own settings and preferences.

There goes my idea for a patent on an iphone application for scanning refuser brain waves.