Dealing with depression is hard enough, but when you couple that with issues related to your sex drive and your ability to enjoy sex – well, that’s when things really become an issue. Sexual health is incredibly important, whether you are in a relationship or not. But if you do happen to be in a relationship, dealing with the effects that depression can have on your ability to enjoy sexual interaction can be pretty frustrating. It is also a subject that isn’t as well understood by most people as it should be.
Even though there is a reduction in the stigma associated with sexual issues, it does still exist. This, too, can be a barrier to people getting information and help regarding these issues. But it is important to understand how things like depression and other mental health issues can have an impact on your sex life. These things can be difficult to think and talk about, but there is no way to gain an understanding or to find help if you don’t address the issue. And while sex isn’t everything, it is an important component of a healthy and satisfactory relationship, so issues in this area can lead to bigger problems over time if left unaddressed.
Let’s take a look at four of the ways that depression can negatively impact your sex life.
1. Depression can kill your sex drive
Depression is a condition that many of us deal with at different periods throughout our lives. If we are one of the lucky ones, it is something that will fade as our life gets less stressful or we resolve issues. But for some of us, depression is a constant struggle. It is hard for people to seek help for mental health issues at the best of times, but if you happen to live somewhere where the stigma is still felt, or that health care isn’t easily accessible, you are likely one of the people trying to manage the issue untreated.
One of the biggest side effects of being depressed is that it can cause issues with your libido. Many people who are depressed note that they have a far lower sex drive than they did before they were depressed. This can even manifest in difficulty getting aroused or climaxing during sex as well.
A way that depression can affect your sex drive that might be less obvious is that it can cause chronic fatigue. Just think about it – if you are constantly exhausted, sex is probably one of the last things on your mind. These things can compound and create a real issue in relationships if left untreated. It is something that is an issue for both men and women, though it can affect them in different ways.
2. Erectile dysfunction can be an issue
We can see that when it comes to depression and sex drive, the relationship is often a negative one. From low libido to chronic fatigue, it gives us far more to deal with than simply having the blues. This can really be the case with men. A common side effect of having depression for men can be some form of erectile dysfunction. Men may have difficulty getting or staying aroused. This can, in turn, lead to anxiety and, perhaps, even worse depression. It is not an understatement to say that depression really can affect every area of your life.
It’s common for people who suffer from depression to feel that things they used to enjoy or want to pursue no longer sound good, or they may seem like way too much work or hassle. This goes for sex and intimacy with your partner as well. Not only can this be frustrating for the person who is dealing with the problem, but it can also be difficult for the person’s partner. If communication is lacking, your partner might not really know what is going on and be confused and hurt.
While it is really hard, especially for men, to talk about these things, it is important to try to do so. It can help you feel like you aren’t alone and when your partner is part of your journey back to wellness, it can even deepen the bond of your relationship. In some ways, dealing with the sexual side effects of depression or, as we will see, being on antidepressants, is a way that a couple can face something difficult together. It isn’t easy to talk about the connection between depression and erectile dysfunction, but it is a common problem and you are not alone.
3. An inability or difficulty reaching orgasm
Many women who suffer from depression find that even if they do have sex, they can’t always enjoy it. Many women (and men, too) who suffer from depression may have a difficult or complete inability to achieve orgasm. This is incredibly frustrating for the person who suffers from it and makes them not even want to try to have sex.
It can also be an issue for one’s partner, too. They can take this to heart and feel like they are lacking in some way. This is, again, why it is so vital to keep an open line of communication open with your partner. They need to know how you are feeling and what you are going through. Not only will it help them take your issues less personally, but it will involve them on your journey to finding solutions. You will notice that we talk about communication a lot and this is because of how vital it is to a healthy, happy, and functioning relationship. Even when couples have issues, such as one of them dealing with sexual side effects from mental health issues, having a good level of honest communication makes the situation so much easier.
Just imagine being a partner who doesn’t understand why their partner suddenly doesn’t want to have sex or doesn’t seem to enjoy it anymore. If you don’t know that there are emotional issues that are underlying these issues, what else can you do but take it personally? We do understand that it isn’t easy to have these discussions, but your relationship and your mental health will be so much better for it.
4. The thing about antidepressants
For many people, antidepressants are the most effective solution for their depression. Many try therapy, lifestyle changes, and the like, and they do not get any relief. This is when many people turn to prescription antidepressants, which can do a great deal towards helping someone get back into a good mental place. But just as depression can cause problems with sexual satisfaction, so too can antidepressant medication. Both men and women on antidepressants will often report sexual side effects, the most common being a lower libido.
This can be frustrating, especially if sexual side effects are a big deal already. For women, antidepressants can make it really difficult to achieve arousal. Furthermore, it can also make it difficult or even impossible for a woman to climax. Men, too, can experience issues with it being difficult to get or maintain an erection. It can be hard to see why someone would go on antidepressants with all these sexual side effects, but for some people, it is worth it for the positive effects it can have across the rest of their lives.
It should be noted that for many people, being on the medication for a longer period of time will reduce the negative sexual side effects. However, for some people, those never go away. The relief one sees in their depression may make the side effects they deal with worth it. Others may look for alternative solutions. Just because you have sexual side effects related to your medication doesn’t mean they can’t be overcome. Often, some behavioral changes or changes in how you think about foreplay and sex can be the solution to this new set of issues.
For those who want to continue to see the improvements they get from antidepressants, but are still suffering from sexual side effects that are hampering their relationships, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor.
You are not alone
For people who are dealing with issues related to sexual satisfaction and depression, it can often feel like you are the only one dealing with these issues. And it isn’t easy to talk about or ask for help, especially when it comes to things of a sexual nature. But the thing is, these are common issues that a lot of us deal with. Depression, whether temporary or a chronic condition, can be debilitating. It is one of those things that can affect almost every area of our life. We often find things that used to be enjoyable blasé, including sex.
Men and women alike suffer from negative sexual side effects and depression. The most common ways this presents itself is through a lowered libido or an inability to achieve orgasm. It can also be difficult to get aroused. If you happen to be in a relationship when you are experiencing these issues, it is a problem, not just for you. Your partner is going to notice that you don’t seem as into sex as usual, or that you aren’t getting the same degree of enjoyment that you once did. Though difficult, we strongly recommend that you open an honest dialogue with your partner about what you are facing.
This will help you not feel so alone and include your partner in your process of regaining mental wellness. They might also have ideas for how to address some of the sexual issues as well. See it as an opportunity for you, as a couple, to address the issue as a team. Your relationship will be better for that honesty and communication.
Disclaimer: #Dating’s blog posts are for you to view at your discretion, and the sexual health insights presented are for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and readers should seek professional guidance if appropriate.