What Is Going On Inside Me? Lived Experience of Married Women Exhibiting Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in Long-term Relationships: A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

2 Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


Introduction: Sexual satisfaction, as a basic human need, has a determining effect on human health, and its absence can cause physical and mental pressures that will threaten individuals' health. Low sexual desire is a common disorder affecting married women and can greatly influence their well-being and disrupt their everyday life. This study aimed to analyze the lived experiences of married women suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder in long-term relationships considering cultural drivers.

Method: This qualitative study was conducted based on the descriptive phenomenology approach. The research data were collected through 20 in-depth and semi-structured interviews and then they were analyzed using Colaizzi's method of data analysis. The participants were also selected through purposive sampling. A mean score of 22.6±2.9 was obtained for full-scale score of Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and 107.11±3.2 for Marital Conflict Questionnaire-Revised (MCQ-R). This study was conducted in the 2019–2020 period at the Rahyaab sexual health clinic in Mashhad, Iran.

Results: The four core themes extracted from the data were (1) incessant everyday life in long-term relationships, (2) de-sexualized roles, (3) traces of old wounds, and (4) misinterpretation of religious teachings.

Conclusion: Personal conflicts and neglected foreplay priorities were the primary causes of married women's low sexual desire in long-term relationships. Couples workshops aimed at preserving and revitalizing relationships and individual treatment of affected women are some potential solutions for alleviating the suffering of this group of women.


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