Depression and Your Sex Life
Yuck! Depression! Don't worry, you are not alone. Many people will suffer from symptoms of depression at some point in their lives.
Has depression hurt your sex life? Yes, the effects of depression are powerful and can be damaging to you even if you are not a sufferer of a clinical depressive disorder. You may feel the pain of depression even if you are just feeling blues, especially to your sex life. Has your sex drive disappeared altogether? That's not the only tremendous blow depression can deliver to your sex life. Your orgasms can become insubstantial and you might not have the same energy levels and interest in intimacy that you once had. Yes, sadly the things you once found pleasurable may no longer feel good anymore. Good news! Depression doesn’t have to completely destroy your sex life! You can manage your depression and simultaneously maintain your sexuality.
How Depression Impacts Sex
How? Remember to focus on your depression first. When you feel depression coming on, it's normal to be nervous about how your sex life may be affected. Some people get so worried about possible negative side effects antidepressants may have to their sex drive, that they avoid getting help from their doctor. This is a big mistake because through ignoring your depression you can actually make it worse. But by making your mental health treatment a priority, the effects depression will have on your entire life may be less, including the impact it can have on your sex life.
Should I speak with my doctor about medication? Absolutely. If your doctor feels that taking antidepressants is necessary for you, discuss the different options available. Your doctor's primary focus may be on treating your mental health condition and not so much with your sex life. It's up to you to bring up all of your concerns with your physician, and keep in mind that you can also look into alternative forms of treatment, like therapy or herbal remedies. Don't forget that it's very important to have open communication with your partner. Quite common in relationships, one partner suffers from depression and the other does not. Couples often blame their lack of sex life on the depression, but in reality it is the lack of communication that ruins their sex life and even contributes to further depression.
The Good News
You need to speak with your partner honestly in order to share what you are feeling and experiencing. Certainly they may be disappointed for the lack of physical intimacy, but your openness might help them understand as to the reason why and so feel less let-down by your lack of interest. Help them to remember that it is the depression that is causing you to lose interest in sex, it's not your partner's fault. Also, don't forget to show them love and affection in other ways!
Simplify sex! Don't let sex overwhelm you and make you give up before you even try. Breaking it down into steps and taking them slowly. Reflect upon what your personal favorite parts of sex are and do these things. Do you like hugging or kissing more? Do you like massage? Cuddling? You never know, taking things one at a time may surprise you and lead to something more. If depression makes your usual ways of having sex sour or impossible, explore other ways of having sex. There are many other ways to be sexual other than what's traditionally in your mind. Go deeper than foreplay by venturing into erotica and explore fantasy through experimentation. You might get yourself and your partner aroused by watching an adult film or by wearing sexy lingerie. Even reading a spicy romance novel may do the trick.
Sex gives you an endorphin rush that can often alleviate mild depressive symptoms, so when you feel ready for sex - go for it! When you’re depressed, it can be beneficial to simply put yourself through the motions of sex. Stress and depression are linked, so have fun and loosen up as you go. Don't over think things, just relax, and see what happens. Taking care of yourself is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Depression is a terrible experience to go through and it’s easy to let it envelope you. But remember it's important to be kind to yourself. Try to eat well and get as much sleep as you can. Try going for a walk every day, maybe with your partner. Exercise can get you out in the fresh air and this may give you a boost. Similar to sex, it also releases endorphins in the brain.
Yes, you can manage your depression while feeling sexy and attractive at the same time.
- Jeff Stein
I would love to say that throughout the course of my marriage, having a healthy, routine, sexually intimate regimen with my wife was our normal. However, not only would I be lying to you the fine reader, but I would also be lying to myself.
Over the nearly twenty years that my wife and I have been together, one of our constant struggles has been to have a consistent and regular sex life together. I will stipulate that I am the male portion of our union, so obviously my perspective is different from my wife’s. The frequency of our sexual relations will probably never be enough. However, I would prefer to steer clear of that aspect of this discussion.
The greatest obstacle in any marriage is to keep life out of the bedroom. What I mean is this: The bedroom both physically and figuratively should be off-limits to the stressors of life. The bedroom should be a sanctuary to have a respite, brief or otherwise, from life. It should be an oasis in the desert of despair. It should be a sabbatical for every night. In my experience it has been the complete opposite. I suspect, and in some cases know, that I am not alone.
The bedroom has become the hideout of spouses throughout the land. It is the place where we go to pout, to vent, to get hotter under the collar, to argue, to fuss, and to fight. On many occasions rather than being the place we should be able to run from the stressors of life, it becomes the incubator in which the poisons of relationship grow and hatch. Sure, we want to have some privacy in regards to our struggles. We don’t want everyone in the house to know what is going on, because it’s our business our problems and they just need to butt out. However, our naivety in these matters shines like the brightest star. As if no one will know that we are in the midst of a relationship struggle if we retire to the bedroom and make it the boardroom of our marriages.
I am not a complete idiot - I know that in relationships there will be struggle and strife, but how and where we deal with the struggle and strife can speak volumes to how our intimate life will digress or progress.
We are of the current generations that do not know how to make up. I am sure you have heard the cliché that ‘Make-up sex is the best sex.’ In today’s relationships, there is little to no making up and even less make-up sex. The greatest challenges today for relationships is trying to hold everything in and not trusting or sharing the struggles with our spouses. The lack of ability to share life with our mates creates yet another stressor on our relationships.
We try often to do life as individuals rather than in relationships. The Bible even shows us that God designed us to be in relationships. Relationships are work. Many of our marital vows went something like this, ‘For better or worse, in sickness and in health.’
Here’s a newsflash, we will all face those ups and downs in our relationships. They will affect every facet of our relationship. We would do well to make a pact with our spouses. Certain places and parts of our marriages are off limits. Our bedrooms and our intimate lives belong to us, and no one or no thing can infiltrate us.
(n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.xojane.com/sex/sex-with-depression
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