APPROACH 2.0: Improving our understanding of Sexual Interest/Arousal disorder across gender identities


Researcher bios and how their research backgrounds relate to this study

Orli Hellerstein is an undergraduate honors psychology student at the University of British Columbia. APPROACH 2.0 is her honors thesis project, conducted under supervision of Faith Jabs (MA) and Dr. Lori A. Brotto (PhD). She is an experienced trainee, having worked in 5 laboratories focusing on research methods such as randomized control trial, survey, psychophysical data measurement, clinical interviewing, patient chart synthesis, and qualitative or quantitative data analysis. Her interests include diagnosis differences in minority populations, the minority stress hypothesis, interactions between psychopathology and sexual health, and etiology of mental disorders. She is thrilled to be a part of understanding how genderdiverse individuals differ in their experience of clinically low sexual desire as she believes it is essential to treatment.

Purpose of this research project

APPROACH 2.0 is a study that aims to explore how genderdiverse individuals (i.e., transgender women and gender non-binary individuals) experience distressingly low sexual desire. More specifically, this study will improve our understanding of the applicability of Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (SIAD) as a diagnosis for genderdiverse individuals. Participants will be invited to complete an eligibility screening and—once determined eligible—will complete a semi-structured clinical interview on SIAD with a trained interviewer and complete a set of demographic questionnaires online.  

How this research will help LGBT2SQ people and communities

The information obtained from this study will help our understanding of the processes involved in Sexual Interest/Arousal disorder, sexual desire, sexual aversion and sexual distress in different gender populations. While participants may not benefit directly from this study, results from this study may benefit transgender women and non-binary individuals by helping improve treatments for sexual difficulties and by increasing our understanding of sexual aversion and sexual well-being.


Self identify as a transgender women, nonbinary, agender
Are 19 years old or older
Read and write English fluently
Are experiencing difficulties with sexual arousal (e.g., difficulty becoming turned on or lubricated) and/or sexual desire (e.g., little to no interest in sexual activity) for the past 6 months
Have access to a computer and internet to complete the online study tasks
Experiences sexual attraction (including demisexual and grey-asexual people)


Eligible participants who complete both the interview and the post-interview online survey will be compensated up to 30 dollars by check.

Mitigation measures

Some participants may feel slight discomfort reflecting on their previous sexual experiences and responding to questions about their sexuality and sex-related distress. However, the level of discomfort should not exceed that felt by participants when reflecting upon these topics in their daily life. Participants will be informed prior to questionnaire completion that they may skip questions that they are uncomfortable answering.

The researchers will take all steps possible to minimize participant discomfort. Prior to participation subjects will be informed of their right to withdraw from the study at any point in time without negative consequences. Upon completion of the study participants will be provided a thorough debriefing and access to a list of mental health resources available to support them. Participants will be invited to contact the study coordinator or research assistant via phone or email so that they can address any concerns or questions they might have.

Promoting the Study

Participants will be (1) recruited through social media, (2) recruited through in-person postering in partnership with LGBT-focused organizations and academic institutions, (3) recruited through a database of participants who participated in past research and indicated an interest in being contacted for future research. We will recruit online using UBC Sexual Health Research’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). A new Facebook page will not be created for this study; instead, ads will be posted on the UBC Sexual Health