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Sexual arousal disorder is characterized by a lack or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity in a situation that would normally produce sexual arousal, or the inability to attain or maintain typical responses to sexual arousal. The disorder is found in the DSM-IV.[1] The condition should not be confused with a sexual desire disorder.

The term is often used in the diagnosis of women (female sexual arousal disorder), while the term erectile dysfunction (ED) is often used for men.

Signs and symptoms[edit]

In women, the symptoms of the disorder include:

However, whether lack of physiological arousal is a reliable symptom of the disorder is questionable. Research has shown that women with arousal deficits and women without arousal deficits show equivalent increases in physiological response during experience of erotic stimuli.[2][3]


Contrary to popular belief, the disorder is not always caused from a lack of sexual arousal. Possible causes of the disorder include psychological and emotional factors, such as depression, anger, and stress; relationship factors, such as conflict or lack of trust; medical factors, such as depleted hormones, reduced regional blood flow, and nerve damage; and drug use. The lack of sexual arousal may be due to a general lack of sexual desire or due to a lack of sexual desire for the current partner (i.e., situational). A person may always have had no or low sexual desire or the lack of desire may have been acquired during the person's life.


A psychologist will first consider any psychological or emotional problems; while a sex therapist will examine relationship issues; after which a medical doctor will investigate medical causes for the disorder. In order to receive this diagnosis, a women must, for at least 6 months, report at least 3 of the following symptoms: absent or significantly reduced interest in sexual activity, in sexual or erotic thoughts or fantasies, in initiation of sex or receptiveness to sex, in excitement or pleasure in most sexual encounters, in sexual responsiveness to erotic cues, or in genital or non-genital responses to sexual activity. This can be either lifelong or acquired.[4]


Depending on the cause of the disorder, hormone therapy or a blood-flow enhancing medication, like Viagra, may be appropriate.

Bremelanotide (formerly PT-141) is being studied in clinical tests to increase sexual desire in women. In 2014, Palatin, the company developing the drug, announced the beginning of a Phase 3 clinical trial to determine its effectiveness.[5]


  1. ^ DSM-IV, American Psychiatric Association 1994
  2. ^ Morokoff PJ, Heiman JR (1980). "Effects of Erotic Stimuli on Sexually Functional and Dysfunctional Women". Behaviour Research and Therapy 18 (2): 127–137. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(80)90107-2. 
  3. ^ Laan E, van Driel EM, van Lunsen RHW (June 2008). "Genital Responsiveness in Healthy Women With and Without Sexual Arousal Disorder". Journal of Sexual Medicine 5 (6): 1424–1435. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00827.x. 
  4. ^ Hoeksema, S. (2007). Abnormal psychology (4th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  5. ^ "Palatin Announces Start of Bremelanotide Phase 3 Program For Female Sexual Dysfunction". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2015-02-17. 

See also[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_arousal_disorder — Please support Wikipedia.
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602 news items

Digital Trends

Digital Trends
Wed, 20 Apr 2016 11:00:00 -0700

CMT's current patent application would focus on physical manifestations of sexual arousal disorder, as an extension of their work with stem cell therapies for erectile dysfunction. Sexual arousal disorders in women are much more comparable to erectile ...


Wed, 06 Apr 2016 03:52:30 -0700

Ever since Alfred Kinsey first observed copulating couples in his attic and Masters and Johnson recorded the cycle of human male and female sexual response, researchers have been on a quest to understand what makes us tick in the bedroom—and figure ...

Pulse Nigeria

Pulse Nigeria
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 04:37:30 -0700

Do you know that many women suffer a sexual health condition called 'sexual arousal disorder' (SAD)? If you did not know, know it now. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM), SAD occurs when a woman is only partially aroused ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Wed, 05 Dec 2012 01:53:41 -0800

A woman who suffered from a debilitating condition where she had constant, uncontrollable orgasms has committed suicide after years of battling her affliction. Gretchen Molannen, 39, was found dead in her home in Spring Hill, Florida, over the weekend ...
Everyday Health (blog)
Sat, 27 Oct 2007 00:00:00 -0700

Does the thought of sex leave you worried instead of worked up? You may be one of the millions of women who experience female sexual arousal disorder, which involves a stubborn libido and trouble becoming aroused. Here are the signs.


Sat, 17 Apr 2010 05:21:47 -0700

(CNN) -- Renee Rhodes stopped working for nine months last year for reasons she didn't quite understand. She felt the unrelenting sensation of "internal itching" in the palm of her left hand, the bottom of her left foot and between her legs. The ...
JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Tue, 22 Sep 2015 08:14:10 -0700

This is a new diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition), which combined the previously separate disorders of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) and female sexual arousal disorder. The prevalence of ...
Everyday Health (blog)
Fri, 19 Dec 2008 07:04:30 -0800

A woman's brain is such an integral part of sexual arousal that experts say some women can reach an orgasm with sexual thoughts alone. But the opposite is also possible: Women with female sexual arousal disorder can't get excited enough to even have ...

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