FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the goal of #DebunkingDesire?


Our goal for #DebunkingDesire is to share evidence-based information about low sexual desire in women to create and amplify lasting dialogues with women, their partners, their health care providers, and the media.




What is low sexual desire?


Up to 40% of women may experience low sexual desire at some point in their life. Any woman of any age can experience low desire. A woman who has low desire might experience symptoms like: Reduced interest in sex
No sexual thoughts
Avoiding sex
Reduced pleasure during sex Things that used to trigger your desire are no longer working No arousal Low sexual desire is also not (necessarily) just having a different level of desire than your partner. Sexual desire is different for everyone, and it's normal to not always be in the mood when your partner is!




How is asexuality different than low desire?


Low sexual desire is not the same thing as Asexuality, which is a distinct sexual orientation. Those who experience clinically low desire often feel distressed at their lack of desire, whereas those who are Asexual do not feel the same distress by their lack of desire.




How common is low sexual desire among women?


1 in 3 women experience low sexual desire.




What affects desire?


Sexual desire can be impacted by a number of things. Relationship difficulties, fatigue, mood, and body image can all have an impact on how someone feels about intimacy, but one of the biggest impacts on sexual desire is stress.




What is pleasure?


Sexual pleasure is the physical and/or psychological satisfaction and enjoyment from sexual experiences. This can be through partnered or solo sexual activities, and can include thoughts, fantasies, dreams, emotions, and feelings.




What is mindfulness?


Quite simply, mindfulness can be defined as present moment, non-judgmental awareness. It involves the practice of moving one’s attention to the here-and-now and focusing on sensations of the body and breath.




How can I receive ongoing information about the studies & initiatives?


Follow us on social media (links at the bottom of the page) and visit brottolab.med.ubc.ca.




What contributes to low sexual desire?


Sexual desire can be impacted by a number of things. Relationship difficulties, fatigue, mood, and body image can all have an impact on how someone feels about intimacy, but one of the biggest impacts on sexual desire is stress. Stress triggers a cascade of hormonal reactions to help our body and mind adapt to perceived threats. The more often this happens, the less effective the body is at responding to stressful situations. So, the more chronic the stress, the harder it is for the body and mind to adapt to it. As it turns out, this can impact different hormones and biological processes in the brain and body, resulting in a decrease in sexual desire.




Is it normal for sexual desire to fluctuate over time?


Sexual desire waxes and wanes over the years, over months, and even over days. Sexual desire is “responsive” just like other emotions. We feel happy when good things happen in our lives or we think, see, or do something that elicits happiness. Sexual desire works in much the same way in that it is responsive to triggers. We feel sexual desire when something triggers a sexual response and those triggers might include: seeing an attractive partner, feeling sexually aroused in your body, having an erotic thought or sexual memory, or being touched in a way that feels good. Sometimes there may be no triggers that elicit sexual desire in our environment, or we may have distractions and preoccupations that get in the way of responding to triggers. For women across ages and reproductive stages, ups and downs in sexual desire can be entirely normal.




Does feeling low sexual desire mean that I’m not attracted to or don’t love my partner anymore?


Many people believe that there is a 1:1 relationship between how much you love a partner and how good your sex is. Sometimes very happy and compatible couples experience sexual problems, and sometimes incompatible partners or conflicted relationships have great sex.




Are there ways to improve sexual desire without taking medications?


For many women, managing stress is key to improving their sexual desire. A myriad of studies have shown the strong link between chronic stress and sexual dysfunction in women, and stress can interfere with both emotional functioning and also thought patterns to decrease a woman’s motivation for sex. And it turns out that mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective ways of managing stress, and in turn, improving sexual desire.




Is there a “normal” amount of sex that someone should be having?


Sex drive, or sexual appetite, is not the same for everyone. It can be difficult to determine what your “normal” is because we are constantly bombarded with messages that tell us we should be wanting sex all the time, no matter the circumstance. But the reality is what your friends, partner, or the media view as a “normal” level of sex might not be “normal” for you, your lifestyle, or your relationship and there is nothing wrong with that.





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2019-2020 Debunking Desire

UBC Sexual Health Lab

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Funding: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Reach Award.