Depression And Sex – What Happened To My Libido?

Depression and sex“What are you writing?” My brother – in – law, who has recently moved in with us for a spell while he gets his feet back under him asks me as I type away and pull out chunks of hair.

“The folks at ToyWithMe asked me to do an article on depression. Since I live with depression, I was super excited, but now I don’t really know what to write!” I look at the blank screen where I’ve deleted about six somewhat decent starts.

“Ugh! Talk about how you end up with zero sex drive on your meds. Talk about how you never feel good or bad, just kinda hazy. Talk about how people go off their meds all the time, just to feel something!”

He made a compelling argument.

I have hereditary depression; that means that it runs in my family, and usually hits around the age of twenty – four. My husband and his brother both have anxiety disorders, which were acquired through… well, that’s a whole different article. The point is, we, like many people on the internet and the two million folks living in America with some sort of depression – related disorder, know the ups and downs of medications. Worse, we know the ups and downs of sex on meds.

Orgasms? Damn Near Impossible

Unlike other members of my family, I have managed to deal with my depression through Cognitive – Behavioral Therapy, diet, exercise, and a fucking fantastic support system. My case is manageable, but it wasn’t always. When my husband and I first met, I was well and goodly set on my Zoloft and Clonazepam prescriptions. He was very understanding, but we soon learned that those “sexual side effects” were no damn joke. I’d never had an overly difficult time having an orgasm before, but now it was near impossible. Things would start to chafe before I even got close to cumming. And even that was a victory, because for the most part, I had the worst time just getting wet. We should have bought stock in KY for the amount of lube we used in that first year! I’m surprised I didn’t receive a “Thank You” card from those people!

A Difficult Time

But you’re torn when you’re on your medications and your partner isn’t, because while you could give or take sex, they may really want it. It was very difficult on us, because while he wanted that “new – girlfriend” sex, I was ok just hanging out or going for walks. I was attracted to him, but no matter what he did, how good he was, what positions we tried, or what new kinks he suggested: Nothing. Happened.

If you have depression and you’ve ever been on medications, I’m guessing it’s the same for you. Maybe not, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones, in which case I kinda hate you a little. Just kidding. Sorta.

Sacrifice For The Greater Good

So how did we solve the issue? I wish I could tell you that we found some magical position that negated the meds for a couple of hours, just long enough for some good hanky – panky time, but didn’t have an adverse impact on my general mood. But the fact of the matter is that I didn’t have a good orgasm until after I stopped taking my pills. I have friends who have stopped taking their medications specifically for that reason, and I absolutely do NOT encourage that. If you have depression, are bi – polar, or Schizophrenic, do not stop taking your meds because you think you have to please your partner sexually. Do not stop taking your meds because you are sexually frustrated. Loads of us have been there, and if your partner doesn’t understand your needs, then you’re with the wrong person. Point – blank. If you miss those really good orgasms, join the club. Sometimes you have to make a few small sacrifices for a greater good.

Being Patient

My then – boyfriend and I solved the issue by being patient. I understood that to him denying sex was like refusing love (no, I realize this is not the same for all men, just for my future – husband), and he understood that there was only so far my body would take me at that point. We renegotiated things when I finally worked my way off of Zoloft, and our sex life changed significantly. I won’t say that there will never be a time in the future when I may have to go back onto medication, but for now my partner and I know that we can handle that possibility.

An Understanding Partner Is Key

I know there are a lot of people out there on the interwebs who live with depression and other mood disorders. I personally know how both depression and the meds can impact your sex life, and the resulting frustration both you and your partner can feel. If I could say anything, it would be that there is nothing more important than an understanding partner. Your sex life will have its ups and downs, and maybe you’ll be on and off your meds, there really is no way to know. But more important than anything is getting that support structure in place, surrounding yourself with people who love you, and working the physical details out later.

My brother – in – law peers over the computer screen at the article, “Did you talk about how much it sucks to jerk off until your arm hurts?”

Uhh… No. But I will now!

How have you dealt with your medications, and their impact on your romantic life?


  1. KinkyJew

    SG – I am FASCINATED!!! I’ve never heard of this, but I will TOTALLY ask my doctor about it. Especially considering my concerns about the postpartum period.

  2. scientist girl

    ask your doctors about the vitamin Deplin. It is used to increase the effectiveness of antidepressants. I was on zoloft for 7 years and lexapro for 3 and then weaned off the lexapro and use only the vitamin (prescription only). Its WONDERFUL, I haven’t felt this good in 20 years and the orgasms are unfreakingbelievable!!!

  3. Toy With Me

    “Drugs are a crutch. You NEED a crutch when you break your foot, but the point of a crutch is to help you walk again, someday without it.” Very well put KJ

    Delisha – What a good friend. Hopefully more people show those they know on certain meds. this article. It’s always a relief to know you are not the only one.

    Britni TheVadgeWig – Happy to hear you were able to manage your depression without meds. Glad you added your last statement “For some people, medication is a necessity.”

    Tom – Thanks for your insight.

    Rose – So glad to hear you have such a supportive boyfriend.

    ThatToyChick – Thanks for mentioning this very important advice. ” It’s always important to keep in close contact with, and follow your doctor’s instructions. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to discuss any side effect – including sexual dysfunction – with him or her to keep them in the loop.”

  4. I had a very brief period where I had to be on anti-depressants, and I could not orgasm no matter what. It sucked and made me even more depressed.

    I honestly think anti-depressants just make things worse. If the choice is between feeling sadness and feeling nothing, I’ll take sadness. At least I’m feeling something (and having orgasms!).

  5. ThatToyChick

    KJ makes an excellent point – there are those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to use the drugs to get past a rough spot, and use alternative therapies (i.e. support network and other non-medicinal tacks)….and there are those who it definitely is not an option for. It’s always important to keep in close contact with, and follow your doctor’s instructions. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to discuss any side effect – including sexual dysfunction – with him or her to keep them in the loop.

    The drug companies ARE paying considerably more attention to the sensual impact of their MAOI inhibitors and the like than they did in years before. My stance is that there’s still a long way to go, and I’ll be happy when they make some breakthroughs. :)

  6. Someone might have mentioned this up there in a really long comment but I’m off my meds right now, hahah, and so my ADD is whew bad and my focus? zilcho.

    Where was I?

    Oh yeah. Try different meds. Try Wellbutrin, it’s supposed to be the least killing of sex drives. For my hub it reallllly helped him and helped him be more sensitive. At first it helped me, but I’m a complicated puzzle chickie so nobody should base themselves of what does and doesn’t work for me.
    Bottom line is: Sex and orgasms produce happy endorphins which make your mood better and your skin better and all that jazz. If your anti-d takes that away? Move along to the next drug. There’s a shit ton. One will be right, just try to get thru the hazing periods.
    Psych meds turn 85% of people into guinea pigs.

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