Sexual problems may be experienced for many reasons, being one’s physical state as well as one’s mental state. Our physical state affects our sexual activity meanwhile, our mental state also plays an important role in our sex life. Depression is a very common mental disorder which is known to affect a person’s sex life.
Depression can cause one to feel sad and hopeless frequently. People that suffer from depression, often do not enjoy the activities that they used to enjoy prior to the depression. It is also common for people with depression to experience sleep difficulties. Sleeping difficulties may occur in such instances, one may either sleep too much or too little. Another sign of depression is a constant feeling of guilt and worthlessness. It is possible to experience a decreased interest or desire for sex as well.
Even though depression is more common among women, its effect on sexual functioning can be seen in both women and men. There are different sexual problems associated with depression. You might experience a reduction in your sexual drive as well as decline in fantasizing about sex. In women arousal and orgasm related dysfunctions are common, while in men premature ejaculation and delayed orgasm are. The severity of your sexual issues can be associated with the severity of your depression. Therefore, even the type of depression you are suffering from can have a different impact on your sex life.
You may find yourself in a cycle between depression and sexual problems. When someone experiences sexual difficulties, they may have increased feelings of worthlessness and sadness. Eventually, these can worsen depression and sexual dysfunctions too. It may seem like an everlasting circle but it is possible to break from it.
There are activities that you can do to boost your mood. Exercising and taking walks regularly can make you feel better, for instance. It can be difficult to find the energy and motivation to do this in the beginning, but as you progress, you will see its positive effects. Bear in mind that social isolation increases the risk of depression. Reach out to your friends and family when you need help. However, try to be mindful about not spending too much time ruminating about your problems with others as it might make you anxious.
Therapy and medication can be supported by the activities mentioned above, however it is best that you work on yourself by going to therapy. If you are already having treatment with antidepressants, keep in mind that they can have an effect on sexual functioning too. If you think your sexual problems are caused by medication, you should share your concerns with a professional. After your doctor decides that your sexual problems are caused by antidepressants, different types of adjustments can be made. Your doctor may change your medication, reduce its dosage, or prescribe another medication to decrease these side effects. Your doctor would act accordingly, depending on your condition.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Başak Turan is an intern at Willingness. She is a psychology graduate and currently a clinical psychology master’s student at the University of Bergamo, Italy.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.
Fabre, L. F., Clayton, A. H., Smith, L. C., Goldstein, I. M., & Derogatis, L. R. (2013). Association of major depression with sexual dysfunction in men. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 25(4), 308-318.
Thakurta, R. G., Singh, O. P., Bhattacharya, A., Mallick, A. K., Ray, P., Sen, S., & Das, R. (2012). Nature of sexual dysfunctions in major depressive disorder and its impact on quality of life. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(4), 365–370.