How Do You Know If You Have HSDD?

This post is a partnership with Right to Desire.


[ UPDATE: I left a couple of loooong comments below. I woke up thinking about how we normalize sexual dysfunction in women. I hope you get the chance to read and respond. ]

Last month we talked about HSDD, which stands for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder — or in other words,  women who have really low or non-existent sexual desire. It’s a medical condition that affects 1 in 10 women(!) that I had never heard of before until January. It’s been known by the medical community for about 50 years, but it’s taken until 2019 for people to start talking about this very common problem. (Ugh. Why don’t we take women’s health issues seriously?!)

During our earlier conversation, there were a ton of thoughtful comments, and I also received a whole bunch of emails from women who didn’t want to post on the blog (which I totally get). Many of the emails, and the comments, boiled down to: How would a woman know if she has HSDD?

Well it turns out Design Mom Readers are not the only women who were wondering that, and there’s an HSDD quiz that can help you out. Of course, ultimately, a doctor would need to make a diagnosis, but the quiz can help determine whether or not you should talk to a doctor. The quiz asks things like: How would you currently describe your sex drive? And, are you happy with your current sex drive? Plus it gives you answers to pick from so you don’t have to think too hard. : )

As I mentioned last month, I’m working with Right to Desire to help start conversations about HSDD. Why? Well, because I believe issues that fall under the umbrella of women’s health — which includes sexual health — should be talked about in more open and frank ways, so that women don’t have to suffer in silence. I’m also talking about HSDD in the hopes that if you’re a woman who is experiencing a lack of sexual desire, and it’s bothering you, then:

– First, you’ll know you’re not alone. It’s actually super common, and if we talk about it openly, everyone benefits.

– Second, you’ll know there are real studies behind HSDD, and there are sites where you can learn more about it. A lack of desire doesn’t automatically equal HSDD, so it’s smart to read up on it.

– Third, you’ll know that if you think you have HSDD, and you want help, you can get help. You don’t just have to live with it. And that it’s an issue you can confidently take to your doctor.

– Fourth, you’ll understand that sexual desire in women is not a joke, and it’s not a punchline. It can and should be taken as seriously as sexual desire in men. (Which, I’m sure you know, is taken very, very seriously by the medical community.)

Speaking of jokes and punchlines, the women at Funny or Die made a video all about HSDD. Yes it made me laugh — but it’s also really thoughtful. It made me grateful for women who are willing to speak openly about issues in their sex lives.

What are your thoughts? Has HSDD come up in any of your conversations since we talked last month? If you’re a woman who thinks they might be dealing with HSDD, did you find the quiz helpful? And how did you grow up thinking about sexual desire? Were you taught women don’t really want sex? Or that desiring sex was bad or made you a slut? Do you feel like you were more aware of sexual desire in men than you were of sexual desire in women? Or do you feel like you grew up knowing that your sexual desire was totally normal and healthy? I’d love to hear.

P.S. — What questions do you have for doctors about HSDD? I’m going to work with a doctor on next month’s post and I want to bring them your questions.

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