HOLD Study

This study is now complete.  

The most common sexual difficulty among women, affecting 7-23%, involves consistently low desire to have sex and/or low arousal during sexual activity. When women experience these difficulties for 6 months or more, they may be diagnosed with female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD). Although women in relationships are almost five times more likely than single women to have distressing low sexual desire, and relationship factors are highly influential to women’s sexual desire, there is no scientifically-based couple therapy to treat FSIAD.

The purpose of this study is to test a new, standardized, cognitive-behavioral couple therapy for women with FSIAD and their partners. We will test whether the couple’s therapy is feasible to administer, acceptable to couples, and effective as a treatment. Twenty couples in which a woman is diagnosed with FSIAD will participate in 16 sessions of couple therapy delivered by a therapist on a secure online platform. Women with FSIAD will complete surveys about their sexual desire and sexual distress before, immediately after, and 6 months after the treatment (primary outcomes); both members of the couple will also complete surveys about their sexual function (e.g., pain during sex, erectile difficulties), sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and mental health at the same three-time points (secondary outcomes). Cognitive-behavioral couple therapy is expected to be a feasible, acceptable, and effective treatment for women with FSIAD and their partners.

Results will be used to inform a larger, full-scale clinical trial of the treatment and to obtain competitive research funding to support the trial.