Introduction: Sex steroids and genital surgery are known to affect sexual desire, but little research has focused on the effects of cross-sex hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery on sexual desire in trans persons.
Aim: This study aims to explore associations between sex reassignment therapy (SRT) and sexual desire in a large cohort of trans persons.
Methods: A cross-sectional single specialized center study including 214 trans women (male-to-female trans persons) and 138 trans men (female-to-male trans persons).
Main outcome measures: Questionnaires assessing demographics, medical history, frequency of sexual desire, hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), and treatment satisfaction.
Results: In retrospect, 62.4% of trans women reported a decrease in sexual desire after SRT. Seventy-three percent of trans women never or rarely experienced spontaneous and responsive sexual desire. A third reported associated personal or relational distress resulting in a prevalence of HSDD of 22%. Respondents who had undergone vaginoplasty experienced more spontaneous sexual desire compared with those who planned this surgery but had not yet undergone it (P = 0.03). In retrospect, the majority of trans men (71.0%) reported an increase in sexual desire after SRT. Thirty percent of trans men never or rarely felt sexual desire; 39.7% from time to time, and 30.6% often or always. Five percent of trans men met the criteria for HSDD. Trans men who were less satisfied with the phalloplasty had a higher prevalence of HSDD (P = 0.02). Trans persons who were more satisfied with the hormonal therapy had a lower prevalence of HSDD (P = 0.02).
Conclusion: HSDD was more prevalent in trans women compared with trans men. The majority of trans women reported a decrease in sexual desire after SRT, whereas the opposite was observed in trans men. Our results show a significant sexual impact of surgical interventions and both hormonal and surgical treatment satisfaction on the sexual desire in trans persons.
Keywords: Cross-Sex Hormone Therapy; Gender Identity Disorder; Sexual Desire; Sexual Functioning; Transsexual.
© 2013 International Society for Sexual Medicine.