Chronic depression can have a direct impact on your sex drive. And, breaking this particular cycle can be quite tough. Further, "Treatment for depression can never be a one-size-fits-all approach," says Dr. Pulkit Sharma. "The key lies in dealing with depression in your day-to-day life and letting your brain experience the pleasure of sex," he adds. Today we're taking a look at how exactly depression affects our sex life and how you can begin to understand the relationship between mental health and your libido. Over to Dr. Sharma...
Dr. Pulkit Sharma is a Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalytical Therapist at VIMHANS Hospital, Delhi.
Depression is a psychological disorder. Depression can be characterized by feelings of unhappiness most of the time. It involves increased fatigue and reduced energy, loss of interest in all activities including favourite pass-times, and a decreased interest in sex. Additional symptoms are poor concentration, reduced food intake, disturbed sleep, and a preference for being alone. In serious cases, the person might experience the urge to commit suicide, often accompanied by low self-esteem.
Depression may ruin sex life. Depression can be one of the main culprits behind poor or low quality sex life. Part of the issue lies in low self-esteem and finding it hard to take initiative or form responses. Many get tired easily and feel exhausted during sex. Some feel guilty at the thought of having sex. Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness develop. Certain medications used to treat depression may affect your libido, too.
Individual and gender differences. There is a huge difference from one depressed person to another in terms of impact of disorder on their sex life. While some continue to lead normal sex lives others struggle with it. This may affect both genders equally. Depressed men suffer from a lack of interest in sex and erectile problems. Depressed women have a lot of difficulty in experiencing orgasm.
The partner’s perspective. The partner of the depressed person starts feeling discarded and despised. This triggers a cycle of insecurity and hostility between both the partners and further worsens the relationship and sex drive. It is important for the partner to offer support, understanding and encouragement to the depressed person. Undue pressure to perform can be counterproductive.
Enhancing sex life in depressed people: A few ways by which one can overcome depression to enhance sex life are:
- Talk out your concerns with the partner and try to think of mutually acceptable and workable plans.
- Tell yourself that this is just a phase and your sex life would be back to normal once you deal with depression.
- Take psychological treatment for depression.
- If you do not wish to have complete sexual intercourse try indulging in activities such as hugging, kissing and cuddling as these may bring back the excitement gradually.
- Do not pressurize yourself into sex as this may make you feel worse.
- If you are on depression medicines, inquire about the possible side-effects on your sex life from your doctor.