Effects of Depression on Sex

Many people with clinical depression end up developing sexual problems as well. Men, in particular, experience problems such as erectile dysfunction, reduced libido, and an inability to have an orgasm. The thing is that depression alone can leave a dent in your desire to engage in sexual activities but many prescription drugs can also cause a variety of sexual side effects. While there is a link between depression and sex, it is possible to treat certain sexual disorders caused exclusively by depression. Let's find out more about it.

Know the Connection Between Depression and Sex


Both men and women with depression can develop sexual problems. When dealing with chronic depression, it is common to have no interest in sex, take longer to orgasm, and feel no pleasure while having sex.

Connection Between Depression and Sexual Problems

Many people do not know it but it would not be wrong to suggest that your brain is the main sex organ. All sexual desires start in your brain and then make their way down. There are neurotransmitters in your brain responsible for increasing your blood flow to the sex organs, but these neurotransmitters fail to communicate properly when you are depressed or have other mood disorders. As a result, you will have no or very low sexual desire, which can be extremely damaging to your relationships.

Antidepressants and Sexual Problems

In order to treat depression, your doctor would prescribe antidepressants, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While these antidepressants may help prevent depression symptoms, they can cause several side effects and affect your sexual health in a negative way. Antidepressants work by affecting neurotransmitters in your brain – they also affect nerve pathways. The same neurotransmitters and nerve pathways are responsible for regulating the sexual response. That is the reason why you are likely to develop sexual problems when you take antidepressants.

What Can Be Done to Help?


You may have gathered the fact that there is a direct relationship between depression and sex, and that is mainly because the same nerve pathways and neurotransmitters are involved here. Here are a few things to help manage things better.

1. Treat Depression

You should not stop taking your antidepressants because you think they are interfering with your sexual health. You should inform your doctor about your symptoms and let them decide the best treatment option. In most cases, treating your depression symptoms is your doctor's first preference. You need to understand that you will feel better sexually once you can manage to keep your depression symptoms under control. Keep in mind that sometimes depression does not affect your sexual health in a negative way, but it changes your views about sex. If you really feel negative effects of antidepressants, you may want to talk to your doctor and try non-pharmaceutical methods. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy works great for many people diagnosed with clinical depression. Remember, you may not get immediate results from the CBT, but you will be in a better position to manage both depression and your sex life.

2. Keep in Touch with Your Doctor

When you are taking antidepressants, you are likely to experience several side effects over time. It is important to work with your doctor and inform them about whatever new issues you have developed. They will consider your symptoms and then find the most suitable treatment option. For instance, they may lower the dose of your medication, which alone can fix many sexual problems. Just ensure that you do not change your dose yourself. Let your doctor decide what is best for you.

3. Break the Pattern

As mentioned already, your brain plays a big role in making you feel aroused, but you will find it difficult to think straight when you have been thinking in a negative way for so long. In other words, you have to learn how to stop thinking too much about things that have gone wrong in your life. You need to unlearn a few things, and that is where psychotherapy may prove helpful.

4. Talk to Your Partner

Understand that your partner is also suffering because of your depression. Therefore, it is important to talk to them and ensure that they are completely aware of your situation. Ask for their help and work with your doctor together to understand all available treatment options. By talking and working with your partner, you can also find new ways to enjoy sex. Sometimes, your body responds well to extended foreplay, and that is where your partner can help. If you have altered views regarding sex, be sure to let your partner know it. Do not think too much about how depression is affecting your sex life because the more you think, the harder it becomes to get out of your depression.

5. Exercise Regularly

One great way to deal with depression and sex problems is to have an active lifestyle. You should exercise regularly to pump up your heart rate. You do not have to engage in strenuous exercise routines; in fact, you can get good results simply by going for a short walk. Spending no more than 20-30 minutes doing some physical activity can work wonders to treat depression and improve libido.

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