You are here:

What is FSIAD?

The World Health Organisation defines FSD as “the various ways in which an individual is unable to participate in a sexual relationship…she would wish.” 

Women suffering from Female Sexual Dysfunction, or FSD, experience a recurrent or persistent inability to enjoy satisfactory sexual intercourse. They usually have decreased sexual desire and arousal, and may experience pain during intercourse. The condition often seriously impacts women’s lives and their relationship with their partner.

The term FSD covers a wide variety of problems, including Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder, Female Orgasmic Disorder and Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder. These disorders are specified in the latest version Diagnostic and Statistical Manual  of Mental Disorders, DSM 5.


Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder, or FSIAD, is a persistent lack or absence of sexual interest or arousal. Women suffering from this condition experience marked distress or interpersonal difficulty. The official diagnosis requires that the complaints cannot be accounted for by any major mental disorder and that the condition is not due solely to the effects of a substance or general medical condition.

The latter addition is important, as many antidepressants as well as, for instance, birth control pills, mood stabilizers, tranquillizers and other medications have been shown to decrease libido. 


In the previous edition of the DSM (DSM IV-TR), two separate disorders were described for low sexual desire and low arousal. These were labeled Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) and Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD), respectively. The significant overlap between sexual desire and arousal was the main reason for merging these diagnoses into one. Much of Emotional Brain’s research predates the DSM 5 diagnosis, but in essence deals with the same group of women, experiencing the same complaints.