Toward a More Evidence-Based Nosology and Nomenclature for Female Sexual Dysfunctions—Part I

Leonard R. Derogatis, Michael Sand, Richard Balon, Raymond Rosen, Sharon J. Parish

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction A nomenclature is defined as a classification system for assigning names or terms in a scientific discipline. A nosology more specifically provides a scientific classification system for diseases or disorders. Historically, the nosologic system informing female sexual dysfunction (FSD) has been the system developed by the American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III through DSM-5). Experts have recognized limitations of its use in clinical practice, including concerns that the DSM-5 system does not adequately reflect the spectrum and presentation of FSD. Aim To review the central considerations and issues that underlie the development of a new evidence-based nomenclature that reliably and validly defines the categories of FSD and will effectively function in clinical and research settings, serve as a basis for International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes, and provide regulatory guidance for interventions designed as FSD treatments. Methods The International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health conducted a 2-day conference on nomenclature for FSD in December 2013. Key opinion leaders representing diverse areas of expertise discussed ideal characteristics, existing DSM definitions, and current and future ICD coding to develop consensus for this new nomenclature. Main Outcome Measure A comprehensive appreciation of the parameters and characteristics essential to a new FSD nomenclature and terminology that will serve as the principal nosology for the description and diagnosis of FSD. Results A critical appraisal of the essential elements of a classification system for diagnosing FSD was accomplished. The applicability of DSM-5 FSD definitions was challenged; and the considerations for developing a new nomenclature were discussed, including comorbidities, clinical thresholds, alternative etiologies, and validity. Conclusion The essential elements for developing a valid, reliable, credible, and clinically applicable nosology for FSD were enumerated as a preamble to constructing the actual nosologic system (Part II).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1881-1887
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition
  • Female Sexual Dysfunction
  • Female Sexual Interest Arousal Disorder
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Nomenclature
  • Nosology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Toward a More Evidence-Based Nosology and Nomenclature for Female Sexual Dysfunctions—Part I'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this