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Not being interested in sex can be caused by many factors. Some include:

  • early past trauma

  • cultural influences

  • relationship quality/issues

  • stress/workload/ a need to fulfil multiple roles

  • a lack of sexual knowledge

  • sexual compatibility problems

  • the thoughts one has during sex

  • performance anxiety

  • inadequate stimuli for sexual arousal

  • lack of sexual assertiveness

  • issues relating to self and body issues

  • the meaning that we connect to sex

  • self-esteem, attitude and mood

  • social anxiety

  • communication problems

  • depression, anxiety and medications

  • menopause and aging

  • physiological illnesses

  • psychological issues

 

The key is to determine the driving factor as to why you are not interested in sex. There might be one contributing factor or many. Assessment and treatment may be more difficult if there are several problematic parts within the system interacting with others to create a complex web. Therapy is also likely to consider the issue from both intra-system perspective as well as from an intersystem approach.

 

Relationship functioning, for many, plays an integral role in the wellbeing of an individual’s sex life.
 

Robert Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love holds that problems stem from neglect of one of the parts in the system or from problems with the workings between the parts: Intimacy, Passion, Decision/Commitment. The goal of this therapeutic framework is to create healthy individual parts as well as a cohesive interaction between the parts. The model does not consider the parts in isolation. Therapeutic intervention, in this case is likely to involve the couple.

 

When the issue is driven from individual psychological factors such as depression or anxiety, body image, self-esteem attitude or mood, therapy is likely to be more focused on strategies for the individual.

 

When the lack of interest in sex is causing one or both, a level of distress, intervention is recommended. Things rarely get better if left alone and sexual issues are known to cause other relationship issues.

 

Prolonged stress, left unaddressed is linked to a range of significant health issues including asthma, obesity, headaches, depression and anxiety. Depending on the cause(s), with intervention you may start to see an improvement in the situation relatively quickly.  

NOT INTERESTED IN SEX?

More & more people are presenting for sex therapy with a lack of desire for sex. For a couple, this can often cause a lack of understanding, blame, shame and judgement. For the single person, a lack of interest in sex can mean confusion and avoidance of relationships and intimacy.

Many individuals have no interest in sex and are perfectly happy and fulfilled in their relationships but others feel highly distressed by their disinterest and over the years can try many things to bring about change.
 

When does the lack of interest in sex become sexual desire disorder? There is still controversy over terms relating to sexual desire issues however currently to meet criteria for a disorder, according to the DSM,

There must be at least three of the following:

Absent/reduced:

  1. Interest in sexual activity

  2. Sexual / erotic thoughts or fantasies

  3. Sexual excitement / pleasure during sexual activity in approx. 75%-100% of sexual encounters (in identified situational contexts, or if the condition is generalised, in all contexts)

  4. Sexual interest / arousal in response to any internal or external sexual / erotic cues

  5. Genital or non-genital sensations during sexual activity approx. 75%-100% of sexual encounters (in identified situational contexts, or if the condition is generalised, in all contexts)

  6. Initiation of sexual activity, and typically unreceptive to a partner’s attempts to initiate


In addition, the symptoms have persisted for a minimum of approximately six months, and cause the individual significant distress. The dysfunction is also not better explained by other conditions, for example illness, mental health etc.
 

The issue can be categorised as either:

  • Lifelong: the problem has always existed from the first sexual experience

  • Acquired: acquired at some point in the lifespan after a period of normal sexual functioning

  • Generalised: occurs in all situations and with all partners

  • Situational: occurs in only certain situations / partners

  • Mild: causing a mild level of distress

  • Moderate: causing moderate distress

  • Severe: causing severe distress

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