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4 ways in which depression is hampering your sex life and what to do about it

Published on:30 June 2020, 13:38pm IST
Low sex drive is a side effect of depression and stress. But thankfully, not all is lost because here are some expert-backed tips to help you out.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Yes, depression can ruin your sex life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

We have always heard that sex is an anti-depressant. But what if you don’t feel like doing it? Not because you can’t, but because depression is bringing your sex drive down. 

A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that depression or other mental health issues have devastating effects on your sex life. You can face intimacy challenges like difficulties with sexual self-esteem, feeling sexually distant from a partner, trouble communicating about sex, being unsure about how to initiate sex, and a flatlining interest leading to no sex in your life.

According to a renowned clinical psychologist, Dr Bhavna Barmi, “Sex is all about pleasure. When one is depressed, they’re not in the frame of mind to understand pleasure. They are always tired and having sex is in the least of their priority.”

Unfortunately, there is more to it.

Here are four ways in which depression is messing up your sex life: 

1. Sexual dysfunction experienced by your partner
Ladies, this one especially for your male counterpart. If you notice that he is losing interest in you and showing no signs of intimacy then one of the reasons behind this can be depression. If the reason truly is depression then there is more to be worried about because according to a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, depression can lead to sexual dysfunction in males. In fact, erectile dysfunction is a common worry. The reason behind this is the side effect of antidepressants, says the journal Drug, Healthcare, and Patient Safety.

erectile dysfunction
ED is no laughing matter. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Impaired orgasm
Ladies, reaching orgasm can become a task when you’ve been feeling depressed. According to a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the researchers have suggested that women suffering from depression have an impaired orgasm, and therefore the urge for sexual intimacy drops. In fact, in the case of severe depression, this can also lead to dysfunction of sexual organs in women.

3. Inability to initiate sex
This is bound to happen because when your brain is already occupied with stress, thinking about sex might not even be on your list.

According to Dr. Barmi, people experience difficulties in initiating and enjoying sex because they may be suffering from depression. Women are most likely to experience persistent feelings that can make them feel less confident and less worthy which can drastically change your overall sex life.

4. Impaired libido
Sex is a chemical reaction that happens in our brain which trickles down. But when our brain operating on ‘switched off’ mode, it becomes very hard to wake it up sexually.

UTI from sex
Low sex drive is also a side effect. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“We know that all the sexual desires we have comes from brain chemicals in the form of libido and also the changes in our blood flow that are needed to perform a sexual act. Depression causes disruptions to these flows of chemicals and can make it difficult to perform sexually,” says Dr. Barmi.

We asked Dr. Barmi about how one can solve this problem.

Here are seven things you can do to boost your sex life according to Dr. Barmi:

1. You can try taking your antidepressants after you are done engaging in sex.
2. Exercise regularly to improve mood and physical well-being as it is very important that we start to feel connected to our bodies again.
3. Talk to your partner about how your depression is affecting your sexual health because communication may not automatically resolve the issue but it can help do away with the feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
4. It is important for patients with depression and their partners to understand that there is no standard for how often you should be having sex or how you should enjoy sex.
5. Initiate non-sexual contact in and out of the bedroom.
6. Redefine intimacy because you can indulge in other things and get the benefits of a close physical relationship.
7. You should be honest with your doctor as most people choose to continue treatment once they realize that the sexual problems they are experiencing are associated with the medicines and can be overcome.

health benefits of masturbation
Boo those masturbation myths because good news is that it’s actually great for your health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Masturbation can give sexual health benefits and help a person experiencing depression enjoy sexual pleasure. Someone whose partner is going through depression can also go for it to deal with their sexual needs till their partner feels like reconnecting again,” she concludes.

So, ladies, depression can affect one’s sexual drive but doing a few things can make the situation manageable! 

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.