A prospective investigation of the relationship between depressed mood, sexual pleasure and desire in women with Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (SIAD)

Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (SIAD) is the most widespread sexual complaint in women, with reduced pleasure during sexual activity as one of the most common features. SIAD is associated with elevated depression symptoms, relationship distress, and presents a significant health care burden. Although low sexual desire is a common symptom of depression, little is known about how less severe depressed mood influences sexual desire in women who do not have depression.

The goal of Dr. Paterson’s study is to clarify how a depressed mood and reduced sexual pleasure and desire interact in women with SIAD.

Two studies will compare premenopausal women with SIAD but without depression to a healthy control group. In the first study, participants will complete electronic daily diaries for one month, in which they will provide ratings of sexual desire, sexual pleasure experienced with a partner and depressed mood. It is expected that women with SIAD will report less sexual desire, greater depressed mood, and less sexual pleasure than healthy women, and that the depressed mood will contribute to low desire by decreasing both the experience and memories of sexual pleasure. In the second study, women seeking help for SIAD and who also have depressed mood will receive mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioural therapy in a group format. This therapy will target sexual desire and depressed mood, and is expected to significantly improve both problems.

The results will help improve treatment options for women with SIAD by also demonstrating the importance of addressing depressed mood.