The following feelings and behaviors are common among individuals who are experiencing ISD:

  • feeling irritated, tense, pressured, angry, or disgusted in arousing situations, as Bobby does during explicit conversations about sex, for instance, or as Dan does when Barbara puts on a sexy negligee and attempts to seduce him
  • finding that the first stirrings of sexual desire are immediately followed by negative or distracting thoughts or imagesmemories of something your partner did that was insensitive or irritating, images of your mother as she looked the day she caught you playing doctor with a neighbor, flashbacks of an unpleasant sexual experience, distracting thoughts about work or your children, and so on
  • never or rarely fantasizing about sex or thinking about anything related to sex
  • rarely recognizing or responding to sexual cues and barely reacting to people, places, things, or situations that are erotic or sexually provocative
  • needing intense stimulution to create sexual excitement or finding that only one or a few very specific sexual cues turn you on
  • feeling no desire for an attractive and appropriate partnerlike your spouse or loverand perhaps even feeling disgust or repulsion in your partner's presence
  • feeling desire for unattainable or unavailable partners like Playboy centerfold models or rock starsbut feeling no desire or shutting it down in the presence of a real partner or whenever the possibility of actually having sex exists
  • fearing and/or mistrusting a partner who is actually loving and giving
  • rarely engaging in sexual activity despite ample opportunities and/or repeatedly and routinely refusing your spouse's or lover's sexual invitations
  • going out of your way to avoid sexual situations or situations that might lead to sexual situations
  • engaging in sexual activity primarily for reasons other than sexual desire, such as obliging a partner
  • find that when you do make love, sexual pleasure is limited or fleetinglike eating a meal when you are not hungry

Most of us have responded to sexual situations in at least one of these ways at one time or another. However, one or more of these signs do point to sexual desire problems if they are your usual or most frequent responses to situations and potential partners that in reality are safe, acceptable, and perhaps even optimal for sexual activity, or if they concern you or your partner or create conflicts between you.
Men's Health-Erectile Dysfunction

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