When we think about depression, we know that there are emotional and mood changes that can make life difficult for us. Moreover, there are also other physical symptoms that come with depression, like weight gain or weight loss, irritability, change in sleeping habits and appetite, and loss of energy among other symptoms. One of the major yet least talked about effects of depression is a loss of libido or sex drive, and in a society that makes sex a taboo subject, talking about the loss of sex drive in depression can be really stressful. An important thing to also remember is that while there is loss of libido due to depression, the medications (like SSRIs) can make the loss of libido even worse. This means that you may not have any desire to have sex, and even when you push yourself to become intimate, it might be less than fulfilling and reaching orgasm can seem almost impossible. It can seem really hard to manage the loss of sex drive along with the other debilitating symptoms of depression, but it’s always one step at a time when it comes to healing depression. Below are some small and manageable ways you can deal with the loss of libido during depression:
1. Focus On The Depression
It’s tempting to try and save your sex life and not focus so much on depression, but this ends up being counterproductive in the end. For example, people might know that the medications for depression can drastically affect their sex life, and end up opting to not take the medication to avoid this. This not only makes the depression worse, but can also drastically affect your mental health in the long run. It is important to address all the symptoms that come with depression, sex drive included, but the depression is the first and most important issue to address. Once you’re in a better place mentally, you can begin to focus on the related issues.
2. Share With Your Partner
In a relationship, one partner may have depression while the other doesn’t, and this might put a huge strain on the relationship. When couples approach a therapist, they complain that the depression is ruining their sex life and thus their relationship. However, not many couples see that their communication patterns could also be taking a toll on their sex life. It can feel embarrassing for a person to admit that they doesn’t want to have sex, especially when the partner is trying to relight a spark, and this can make people feel uncomfortable about sharing. Honesty and open communication are especially important at this time because they help you to achieve deeper intimacy. Once emotional intimacy is achieved, it can be easier to get to the physical intimacy together. Talk to your partner about your worries, apprehensions and fears, This also helps your partner to understand what you are going through better, and can make is easier for both of you to tackle the depression together.
3. Look At Different Ways To Enjoy Sex
Sex doesn’t always have to be penetrative. There are so many other ways that you can enjoy sex together, like focusing completely on foreplay, or making it all about oral sex. One of the main things that can deter a depressed person is the effort they have to put in to have sex, and it can seem overwhelming to push away the depression and focus on pleasing the partner. There are a lot of things that relate to sex, such as making out, erotic massage, mutual masturbation, dry humping or even cuddling. Prioritize the things that make help you enjoy sexual activity, and focus on them instead of going all the way every time. This helps to build a foundation for a better sex life as you tackle the depression.
4. Sometimes, Push Yourself A Little Bit
It’s perfectly normal to not have sex when you’re feeling really down, but sometimes, it can become a habit to say no instead of trying to push away the depression. It is extremely important to make sure you never force yourself to do something you don’t want, but you might be surprised at being able to enjoy an activity despite thinking you wouldn’t have. A lot of people have reported enjoying sex in the middle of a session after realizing that sex can actually be fun. It is easy to forget the things that you liked doing when you’re in the throes of depression, so sometimes pushing yourself can remind you of how much you actually did enjoy sex.
5. Talk To Your Doctor About Medication
Medication can hinder any sexual progress you make during depression, and it might be necessary to change or stop the medication if it gets in the way of your efforts. Talk to your doctor honestly about the effect of the antidepressants, as many doctors might not know how the medications can actually manifest in an individual. Moreover, depending on the severity of your condition, you can also look for other forms of treatment like therapy, herbal healing or eastern medicines among other options.
6. Be Kind And Patient
Finally, the battle against depression can be long and hard. It is important to not be so hard on yourself through this time and be patient about the result. Being kind to yourself through this time is important. Depression can already make you feel like the world is dark place, and that you aren’t worth anything, but putting too much pressure on yourself to change quickly or start feeling happy again can stall the process instead of helping it. Focus on getting better overall, and not just having a better sex life. Give yourself time to heal and make time to do things you enjoy doing. As you start giving yourself the time and space to get better, you will start seeing a positive change overall.