Sex 'n' Blues: How Depression affects Libibo (and what to do about it)
Disclaimer: This article discusses themes of depression and anxiety. If you are struggling with your mental health, seeing a professional is the first thing to do to start getting better.
Okay, let’s get the bad news out of the way: COVID-19 is not the only pandemic we are currently facing. The number of people living with depression around the globe is alarmingly high.
This is due to a number of different reasons; but coronavirus itself, the uncertainty and anxiety that came with quarantine are driving people to be more isolated and unhappy. And among all the things depression can affect in your body, libido is one of them.
How does depression affect the libido?
Depression is a condition, and it affects individuals differently. But for many, the lethargy, lack of motivation and need for isolation can come with a disconnection between body and mind and a sudden decrease of interest in sex and pleasure.
Sometimes, depression can lower your sex drive - even to the point that having sex or masturbating might seem like a chore. Sometimes, it inhibits your ability to feel pleasure even if you feel like having sex. Also very common is for folks to experience difficulties with intimacy and connection, leading sex to be a cause for anxiety.
This whole ordeal most commonly comes from chemical imbalance in the brain. It causes depression, and also affects our levels of energy, and messes with our libido. It can also happen that depression causes our brains to be “addicted” to certain chemical paths, leading to more isolation and therefore creating a vicious cycle. Even if not all depression comes from chemical roots, the sensation of struggling with self-esteem and self-image can directly impact one’s sexuality.
Antidepressants and libido: A paradox
For a lot of folks, antidepressants can be a powerful tool in fighting depression. Especially for those who respond well to chemical stimulation on the brain. The meds can target certain areas which stimulate the production of serotonin, “teaching” the brain how to fabricate happy hormones once again.
However, this learning process is slow; usually antidepressants only start having an effect after weeks, and doctors recommend patients to take it for at least six months to a year to reap the full benefits. This means that antidepressants are not a short-term solution.
This can be a bit of an issue because one of the most common and universal side effects of antidepressants is a decrease in libido. Even if the most modern drugs have lighter side effects, this seems to be a widely reported consequence of being on antidepressants.
For many, this is a frustrating paradox - while the meds can help boost energy and treat depression, especially in severe cases, it hinders one’s sex drive which is already impacted by depression. So for many people, to be on antidepressants is the precise opposite of being horny & sad.
But even if sex-drive itself isn’t altered, many report other issues, such as delayed orgasms and/or difficulty to reach the climax, and problems with erection and vaginal lubrication.
The good news is; these effects are not permanent! Thankfully, everything should be restored soon after the patient leaves the medication. However, as we have mentioned, this is a long treatment - and people don’t have to wait to be off antidepressants to have a healthy sex life.
And this is what KinkyKarrot can help you with!
How to break free: Tips on improving sex life while depressed
Take it slow/don’t pressure yourself Of course this is easier said than done; especially when for depressed folks “not worrying” is just not an option. However it’s worth remembering that honoring your body and your needs - whatever they might be - is the best thing you can do for yourself. Don’t make sex a burden - you don’t need to have a full on libido if it’s just not possible right now.
Remember orgasm isn’t always the goal This should be a mantra for everyone having sex, really. While having orgasms is great - and especially advocating for closing the orgasm gap is very important, it doesn’t have to always be the goal of sex. You don’t have to cum to have a good time - whether alone or with a partner.
Exercise This might seem like a dumb piece of advice, but it’s not. Physical activity is a great weapon against depression because it generates dopamine, flooding the brain with the chemicals it has a hard time producing in the middle of depression.
Pay attention to nutrition Gut health is scientifically proven to have a huge impact on mental health. These two are closely connected. So putting effort into nourishing your body will not only help the symptoms of depression, but also improve your daily energy levels.
Try new toys and positions A lot of vulvic people report a decrease in clitoral sensitivity while depressed and/or medicated. And for some, a powerful clit-sucking toy can be the gateway to different ways to have more pleasure. There’s an infinity of possibilities when it comes to Sex Tech. Take your time to explore new tools with your body, and understand how it responds to them.
Consider kink! For many people, kinky sex is a way to reconnect with oneself, discover new forms of intimacy and honor their needs and desires. Trying new sexual fantasies might seem scary if you’re struggling, but they can be exactly what you need to get out of vicious thought-patterns, and teach your brain new sensations and ways to feel good. Here at KinkyKarrot you find plenty of information about all kinds of kink so you dip your toes into this world!
Be kind to yourself The best way to deal with a libido impaired by depression is to accept that this is how it is right now - but it’s not going to be forever. And while your body and mind might not be responding to the stimulation you’re used to as it did before, it doesn’t mean it won’t to other things. Try to see it as a possibility for experimenting with other realities. And remember being sex-positive isn’t about always having sex. Is about doing it when, how, and the way it feels good!
What are some of your experiences with depression? Did you experience a low sex-drive? How did you deal with it? Tell us in the comment section on the very bottom of this page!