Prevalence of low sexual desire and hypoactive sexual desire disorder in a nationally representative sample of US women

Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jul 14;168(13):1441-9. doi: 10.1001/archinte.168.13.1441.


Background: We sought to estimate the prevalence of low sexual desire and hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in US women, focusing on their menopausal status.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study. From a probability sample of households, 2207 US women aged 30 to 70 years and in stable relationships (>or=3 months) were interviewed by telephone. The analysis focused on 755 premenopausal women and 552 naturally and 637 surgically menopausal women. Low sexual desire was defined using the Profile of Female Sexual Function desire domain, and HSDD was defined using the Profile of Female Sexual Function and the Personal Distress Scale.

Results: Prevalence of low sexual desire ranged from 26.7% among premenopausal women to 52.4% among naturally menopausal women. The prevalence of HSDD was highest among surgically menopausal women (12.5%). Compared with premenopausal women and adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, educational level, and smoking status, the prevalence ratios for HSDD were 2.3 (95% confidence interval, 1.2-4.5) for surgically menopausal women and 1.2 (0.5-2.8) for naturally menopausal women; the prevalence ratios for low sexual desire were 1.3 (0.9-1.9) and 1.5 (1.0-2.2) for surgically and naturally menopausal women, respectively.

Conclusions: Prevalence of low sexual desire is elevated among surgically and naturally menopausal women vs premenopausal women. Distress about low desire (HSDD) appears to be more than twice as prevalent among surgically menopausal women vs premenopausal women, although the estimate is fairly imprecise.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Libido / physiology*
  • Menopause / physiology
  • Menopause, Premature*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Probability
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology