Sex, Depression, And Your Relationships
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Have you ever thought about what you feel is the most important part of a relationship? Many people, like myself reflect on our past relationships, and make a list of what we want from a significant other or your soul mate to be. You have to remember that you will not find all the characteristics in one mate, but that you will have to learn how to compromise. How do rank sex on your list? Many people try to devalue the importance of sex in a relationship. But, it's just as important as respect, love, and communication, intelligence, and so on.
Depressed Partner Not
"In The Mood"?
Sex is great, for the most part. But, what if you have a partner that is totally and always not “in the mood”. This can drastically impact your relationship. Furthermore, your sex life can become even more difficult when you partner suffers from depression, and there are several reasons why individuals who suffer from depression are “not in the mood”.
Depression is a medical condition in which a person feels sad, hopeless, unimportant, and often is unable to feel that they are living their lives in a normal way (2015). Therefore, your partner’s feelings of hopelessness will more than likely affect their sex life. Jeff Stein’s article, Can Depression Ruin Your Sex Drive is great source of information about how depressed people feel about sex, and about other reasons why they have a low sex drive. Stein explains that depression impacts every aspect of a person’s life and their desire to have sex may decrease (2015). Remember that it is not your fault if your depressed boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse is not in the mood. A depressed person may feel inadequate, which can negatively affect their feelings about sex, so it's really not about you.
Anti-Depressants and Sex
Furthermore, depressed people who are on medication will have a lack of sex drive. How? Many of the popular antidepressants, such as Lexapro, have side effects that decrease a person’s libido. Antidepressants are drugs used to help individual cope with depression (2015), and their side effects may result in the feeling that it's impossible to achieve an orgasm. However, don't panic. It's only a side effect of the antidepressant, and a healthy sex drive will return once the antidepressants are discontinued after treatment. Dale Kiefer explains in is his article, Depression and Sexual Health, that 70 percent of people with depression will experience sexual dysfunction, and that women are more likely to experience sexual dysfunction (2012).
The next question you should ask yourself is "how do I deal with my partner, who suffers from depression?" The first thing your must decide is if you want to be in a relationship with a person who suffers from depression. It can be a hard dealing with someone with depression because you may not understand why he or she always feel sad or worthless. Depressed people are often very critical and over analyze situations and their feelings. Most depressed people have an all or nothing attitude, and they may feel that they don’t deserve you - This may cause them to act out and attempt to sabatoge the relationship. So, if you decide to continue to be in a relationship with a depressed person, be prepared for some challenges, and remember to be supportive.
How To Help A Depressed Boyfriend, Girlfriend, or Spouse
The best thing that you can do for a person who suffers from depression is to be supportive. In other words, be your partner’s support system. Your partner will start to trust you. However, it is also important to educate yourself about depression, and the symptoms of depression. Depression is a complex disorder, but getting general understanding about the mental disorder will guide you through your relationship.
More importantly, be patient and sensitive. This is most important part of being in a relationship with a depressed person, because patience and sensitivity can open the flow of communication. Depressed people have difficulty opening up to other people, so it may be helpful to participate in couples therapy, and assisting your partner through the therapy process can lead to a quicker road to recovery.
Couple’s therapy can improve communication within your relationship and give you a better understanding about depression. Therapy, good therapy, will reveal the underlying reasons for why your partner is depressed. For example, if your partner negatively responds to you when you raise your voice during an argument, it can be the result of being in an abusive relationship. You will learn how to not reveal what your partner considers a “red flag”. After attending several sessions with your partner, you can start working on improving the sexual aspect of your relationship.
OK - What if everything mentioned in this article doesn’t work, and I have tried everything else as well? If you have tried to do everything to mend your relationship based on the information in this article, than the best thing you can do may be to walk away. You can lead a horse to water. But, you can’t make him drink it. This may be hard to do, but sometimes it is the best thing for both of you. However, check-in with yourself before you make any significant life decisions, and determine the best solution to your problem.
- Heather Browning, MBA
Kiefer, D. (March 29, 2012). Depression and Sexual Health. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
Merrian-Wbester Dictionary. Depression. Retrieved January 21, 2015
Merrian-Webster Dictionary. Antidepressant. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
Stein, J. (n.d.). Can Depression Ruin Your Sex Drive?. Retrieved January 21, 2015.