Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (FSIAD)

Because of some biological, psychological, or socio-environmental factors, some females, though sexually active, but does not feel sexual drive or not be able to arouse during sexual activity. To define this problem, doctors may use the term FSIAD, which stands for female sexual interest/arousal disorder

What is Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (FSIAD)?

FSIAD is a condition presently diagnosed underneath sexual dysfunction. Be that as it may, FSIAD is likely to occur when the body does not respond to sexual stimulation. According to new guidelines articulated in DSM-5, female sexual interest/arousal disorder is a common sexual dysfunction when a female is not aroused during sexual activity. Low sexual arousal in women was formerly and somewhat pejoratively known as frigidity (an inability to attain orgasm during sexual activity). One frequently requested question is who gets FSIAD? First, women with FSIAD are known to show lower tactile sensitivity, i.e., their sense of touch is not heightened as it must be during sexual activity. Secondly, older women are likely to be affected more by this disorder

Common Manifestation and Symptoms

Women with FSIAD may not participate in persistent signs and symptoms, and these symptoms usually come and go. Periodically, they may experience some symptoms, sometimes indicating zero symptoms. As per DSM-V criteria, there are six typical symptoms of FSIAD

  • Women may see their sexual desires deteriorating, though this may happen due to a lack of sexual arousal or because of anxiety and stress when one is mourning from FSIAD

  • Women in this dysfunction are not stimulated or aroused during sexual activity, so they may not think of having sex

  • They may not show any mutual interest when their partner initiates sexual activity

  • As tactile sensitivity accumulates, women may no longer feel pleasure in sexual activities, and sexual moves may no longer excite them

  • Reduction in sexual cues like reading an erotic book, watching erotic movies, peeking for porn tapes, etc

  • Erogenous zones do not fetch a good sensation while having sexual intercourse. This may convey that the genitals lack stimulation

Causal Factors:

Factors that may direct female sexual interest/arousal disorder depend on various aspects. They may include biological and psychological.

  • Biological causal factors − FSIAD can be caused by biological factors which occur with the use of SSRIs for anxiety and depression or the occurrence of certain medical illnesses (e.g., spinal cord injury, cancer treatment, diabetes). The prominent factor that may lead to FSIAD is decreased estrogen levels that occur during and after menopause. Many hormonal factors can lead to FSIAD though there is no ethical evidence to defend this aspect. Hormonal levels may determine the ability to get aroused. Hormonal changes which lead to FSIAD may occur during menopause, birth control pills, or pregnancy. Precisely some anatomical issues can lead to FSIAD when there is inadequate blood flow to the vaginal tract, nerve damage to the pelvis, and particular infection in the vagina or the bladder

  • Psychological causal factors− FSIAD can be caused by diverse psychological elements when a woman suffers from an emotional and mental health trauma. Women with low self-esteem have a greater chance of carrying this disorder. As they always sense that their worth stands low in society. Women who have been through body shaming and have a poor body image may feel low self-esteem, thus allowing this disorder to arise. One piece of evidence also suggests that when women are not comfortable with their partners have a high prevalence of this disorder. Relationship problems with their partners create an uncomfortable environment, which may lead to FSIAD. Possible reasons can also state that women who have been sexually abused at the early stages of their life can dislike or develop disgust for engaging in sexual activities.


Being sure of FSIAD, treatment can differ from woman to woman. Few are instructed to opt for therapy, others have been prescribed medicines, and some go for therapy and medication depending on the cause of the underlying disorder. A German study showed that estrogen levels could be increased in women with FSIAD by using oral contraceptives. In addition, sustained use of bupropion, an atypical antidepressant, can improve sexual arousal and frequency of experiencing orgasm in women. Another drug approved by the food and drug administration in August 2015 was flibanserin, which helps to increase the levels of sexual arousal

Apart from medications, there are several psychotherapies to cure the underlying disorder. A therapist focuses on education, communication training, cognitive restructuring dysfunctional beliefs about sexuality, and sexual fantasy training. Addressing couples to focus on pleasurable sensations brought about by touching without the goal of actually possessing intercourse can help their sexual connection grow, and a sense of comfort can be established. A sex therapist can guide in finding able pleasure sensation in a particular part of the body, and they can also assign homework to enhance the quality of fantasy practice.

It is likely that women's sexual desire and arousal principally depend on their relationship status with their partner; thus, lighting a spark in their relationship status can improve their quality of sexual life


Female sexual interest/arousal disorder can occur in women at some point in life, causing low arousal levels in sexual activity, where the symptoms are not persistent and depend from woman to woman. While it is frustrating not to experience pleasurable sensations, one can seek treatment as this disorder can be cured with medications and psychotherapies, depending upon the severity of the issue. 


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