Psychological therapies are effective treatments for hypoactive sexual desire dysfunction (HSDD; formerly hypoactive sexual desire disorder), a common sexual dysfunction among women. Access to evidence-based treatments, however, remains difficult. Internet-based interventions are effective for a variety of psychological disorders and may be a promising means to close the treatment gap for HSDD.
This article describes the treatment protocol and study design of a randomized controlled trial, aiming to study the efficacy of cognitive behavioral and mindfulness-based interventions delivered via the internet for women with HSDD to a waitlist control group. Outcomes are sexual desire (primary) and sexual distress (secondary). Additional variables (eg, depression, mindfulness, rumination) will be assessed as potential moderators or mediators of treatment success.
A cognitive behavioral and a mindfulness-based self-help intervention for HSDD will be provided online. Overall, 266 women with HSDD will be recruited and assigned either to one of the intervention groups, or to a waitlist control group (2:2:1). Outcome data will be assessed at baseline, at 12 weeks, and at 6 and 12 months after randomization. Intention-to-treat and completer analyses will be conducted.
We expect improvements in sexual desire and sexuality-related distress in both intervention groups compared to the waitlist control. Recruitment has begun in January 2019 and is expected to be completed in August 2021. Results will be published in 2022.
This study aims to contribute to the improvement and dissemination of psychological treatments for women with HSDD and to clarify whether cognitive behavioral and/or mindfulness-based treatments for HSDD are feasible and effective when delivered via the internet.