Psychiatric Disorders

Major Depression

Sexuality is commonly affected by mood disorders. Specifically, diminished sexual desire is often seen as a feature of depression (42). Schreiner-Engel and Schiavi looked at the relationship between HSDD and depression using an unconventional strategy (35). They examined couples where one partner reported generalized HSDD (22 of the men and 24 of the women—all of whom were euthymic at the time) and compared them to a control group. Interestingly, they found that those with sexual desire difficulties had a significantly higher lifetime rate of affective disorder—almost twice as high as the control group. Furthermore, the authors theorized that there may be a common biological etiology to the two disorders, or, that affective psychopathology may contribute to the pathogenesis of the desire disorder.

Bipolar Disorder

There is little information on sexual dysfunctions in untreated euthymic patients who have a bipolar disorder. However, manic patients are often described as "hypersexual" but the meaning is often not clear. "Hypersexual" could refer either to either an increase in sexual desire, or an increase in sexual activity (which may result from factors other than sexual desire such as having an exaggerated opinion of one's desirability).


Finding an untreated population of people with this disorder is unusual as is any attempt to establish the nature of sexual desire in this condition that is separate from medications.

Anxiety Disorders

In a study of sexual dysfunctions and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in men, three groups were compared: (i) untreated patients (n = 15), (ii) PTSD patients treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (n = 27), and (iii) normal controls (43). Untreated and treated PTSD patients had significantly poorer sexual functioning in all domains examined, including sexual desire.

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