According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition*, Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder is a condition where the woman feels virtually no sexual interest. It may be that the disinterest has been lifelong, or it could have resulted after she had fulfilling sexual activities in the past. While some people experience the lack of sexual desire in all instances, others may find it exists only in some cases. The disorder is diagnosed in terms of mild, moderate and severe.

Before diagnosing the disorder, all other factors must be considered. A health professional should conduct a thorough health exam to find out if there is any other condition that exists. If there are findings of another illness, that should be treated. In addition, there may be other mental disorders that exist which could result in the lack of sexual interest. There may be anxiety, depression, stress or other factors in the person’s life that can affect her interest in sexual activities. Any other disorder must be diagnosed and treated.

While not much is known about the disorder, research is ongoing.

*The DSM-5 is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

How is Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder DSM-5 302.72 F52.22 Diagnosed?

In order for Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder to be diagnosed, the individual must meet a minimum of three criteria. In addition, these signs must be continuous for at least half a year. The criteria are:

  • No—or a greatly diminished–involvement or desire for sex.
  • The person doesn’t imagine or think about sexual activities.
  • The woman doesn’t begin/inaugurate sex with a spouse or significant other.
  • There is not enjoyment when participating in sex.

Follow a Healthier Lifestyle (Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder DSM-5 302.72 F52.22)

It’s important for anybody, including the individual who is diagnosed with Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder, to ensure she’s living a healthy lifestyle. The woman should talk to her health professional to identify if any prescription medications she is currently taking have an effect on the condition.

The individual should abstain from smoking cigarettes, alcohol and drug use.

In addition, stress can be a factor in greatly diminishing the desire for sex. Stress plays a big role in many parts of life, and sexual activity is one of them. If there’s stress, it’s crucial to find out what is causing it. By working with a therapist, the individual can find out the triggers that are causing her to be stressed, as well as ways to cope with it.

The environment for sex should be comfortable with no interruptions, if possible. If there’s a television, cell phones and other items that could cause disruption from sexual activities, those things should be taken out of the room in order to provide an area that’s set aside for the couple.

The individual who’s experiencing Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder shouldn’t feel negative about it or chastise herself for having the disorder. This will only cause stress for the person, and the stress will only make the situation worse. The spouse or partner can help to make the situation as stress-free as possible. He shouldn’t make the woman feel guilty about her condition, as it will only aggravate an already stressful situation.

Is There Treatment for Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder DSM-5 302.72 F52.22?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help the individual with Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder. The therapist will work with the person to find out what the causes are and how to cope with them. It’s also a belief that the disorder can stem from something that has happened in the past which has caused the lack of interest in sex. It can be from remembering something traumatic that happened in childhood. Or, it may be caused by intruding thoughts of a partner’s unfaithfulness. The therapist will help the individual in addressing these painful memories in order to find resolution. It’s important, as with all therapy sessions, not to skip visits in order to be able to address the problem. In addition, the spouse or partner may be asked to attend sessions to learn how to support the individual, as well as learn communication skills and find out more about the disorder.

It may be helpful for the individual to gain information about the anatomy, especially the sexual organs, in order to know more about how they work and to find out what is considered normal in regard to sex. A health professional can provide factual information.

How to Tame Stress

In general, living a life with a high amount of stress is never healthy. If you have Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder and feel that stress may be playing a part in causing it, there are many ways to help combat it. The following are some suggestions that you can incorporate into your everyday life to relieve stress.

  • Whether you’re at a job, tending to the children or trying to accomplish any number of things on the “to do” list, there’s bound to be a time when stress strikes. If you can give yourself a mini vacation—15 minutes at least—and get away from the task at hand, you may feel a fresh, new outlook on the situation. Whether you sit quietly and imagine a serene setting or a favorite vacation spot or step outside and visit the garden or just take in the beauty of nature, it will give you a better perspective when you return to the chore.
  • Get the basketball and shoot some hoops or grab the baseball and bat and head to the field. Exercise is important, even if it’s for less than a half hour a day. Taking a jog or walking will get you out in the fresh air and your body moving. Not only is it great for your body, it gives your mind a boost.
  • Make sure you include humor in your life. It’s so important to find the funny things in life to counteract the stress. If you have a friend that makes you laugh, give him a call or go out for a cup of coffee. You’ll find laughing works to ease a lot of the stress. Or, if you can’t take a break and want to find some humor, read a few jokes or funny sayings on the Internet.
  • If you have a family member or a good friend that you can confide in, fill them in on how you’re feeling. Just sharing the stress with another person and having him listen as you vent your frustrations takes a weight off of you. And, the other person may be able to share some insight into the situation that can help.
  • Yoga and deep breathing exercises are great for reducing stress. Even if it’s for just a few minutes, the idea of getting away by yourself in another room can greatly reduce the stress your body is feeling.