How Depression Affects Sexual Health? Find Out

Battling depression takes a toll on an individual’s overall personality – it impacts their mental health, physical health, social interactions, work performance and sexual drive to name a few things.

A person’s sexual drive can take a hit due to several causes, but depression as a psychological disorder can cause you to feel stressed, anxious, guilty and in a low mood which can lead to decreased libido (the desire to have sex) and can physiologically affect your ability to become aroused, maintain arousal and reach orgasm.

Several medicines to treat depression also have been linked to affect your libido and sexual function. But these are common symptoms that the doctors and therapists are aware of and can help you with. It’s important for you to identify the signs and reach out for help if you’ve been experiencing depression and loss of sexual drive simultaneously.

Let’s better understand the link between the two. “Sexual wellness is an indication of overall wellness of an individual – so if someone is battling with depression, they usually find it hard to be mindful and enjoy the present moment, negative thoughts often fill their minds and prevent them from immersing themselves fully with their partners during sexual intercourse or any related acts leading to reduced sexual drive,” says By Arouba Kabir, Mental Health counselor and Founder, Enso Wellington.  A lot of people often don’t understand this cycle of behaviour and start worrying about their sexual dysfunction as a separate disease altogether.

Dealing with sexual dysfunction often leads to feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness, which may foster increased anxiety about sex. “This leads to reduced sexual enjoyment for yourself and your partner which can also aggregate the signs of depression,” adds Kabir.  This vicious cycle often engulfs people and causes them to lose out on relationships, but it’s not the end of the world. Letting your doctor know is sure to get you the help you need and get better – mentally, physically and sexually.

Some common signs that you can lookout for are low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness or anxiety, physical fatigue, fearing excessively over how the sex will be and getting apprehensive.

Some ways to break this vicious cycle are:

  1. Treat the depression first – Depression is a clinical order, it impacts several aspects of your life, amongst which sexual libido is one. So focus on treating the depression with medication and therapy at the same time and all the other things shall start falling in place.
  2. Talk to your doctor – “Loss of libido is a common symptom which can be a side effect of some medicational drugs also. So instead of cocooning yourself and spiraling down, let you therapist and doctor know – they’ll provide you the best reassurance and also help modify your dosages if required to help you feel better,” opines Kabir.
  3. Talk to your partner – Your partner isn’t someone you should be ashamed to share these things with. Talk to them, tell them what inhibitions are running in your mind, tell them if you’re in some medications and so. They will understand and support you and take away half the stress from your relationship.
  4. Don’t discourage yourself – it’s absolutely okay to feel off and go through something but don’t let it define you. “Don’t discourage yourself, hardships are a part of life which can easily be resolved with love, care and attention,” feels Kabir.

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