Are Depression and Sexual Health Related?


Back in school, we learned that positive and negative make a negative. Truer words haven't been said. Same is the case with sex and depression. Depression takes the good out of the sex and leaves one with nothing but misery and emptiness.

Depression reduces one’s libido and curbs sex drive to a great extent. A depressed person will not be able to enjoy sex as he will be unable to be in the moment as there will be other thoughts taking over his/her mind. This can be explained in the following way: the brain is indeed a very sensitive sex organ. Sexual desire builds up in the brain and works its way down. Neurotransmitters work more effectively and allow more blood to flow to the sex organs.However, when a person is depressed, the neurotransmitters do not function at its best which comes in the way of sexual desire and libido.

According to Frederick K. Goodwin, MD, “The whole process of sexual arousal starts with the ability to anticipate pleasure, which is lost with depression. People who are depressed are locked in the moment of their suffering.”

In many cases, antidepressants also affect sex drive. There are certain chemical compounds that come in the way of achieving a proper erection, ability to orgasm or high sex drive, altogether. Due to their reduced sex drive and inability to perform in bed, patients prefer stopping their medications or giving up treatment. However, the ideal thing to do in a situation like this is to consult your doctor and change your medications or work out some way to continue treatment and let sex take the back seat till things become better.

“Medications can change sexual function,” says J. Michael Bostwick, MD, a psychiatry professor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “But it’s a mistake for patients or physicians to immediately assume a difference in sexual function is bad. It’s different, and then you have to figure out if it’s bad or good. In fact, once the depression is treated, they may have a different view about sex altogether.”

Research has also proven that depression makes one's lethargic and lose interest in the things that they enjoy doing. It slows down bodily functions, drains out our energy and alters our co-ordination. Keeping that in mind, it is indeed safe to say that depression affects sex life.

In most cases, the treatment for both the condition goes hand in hand. As one’s depression keeps getting better, there are evident positive changes in their sex lives in as well. The key is in staying patient, positive and open with your partner and doctor about your sexual problems.

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