The Ins and Outs: Why depression could dry up sex drive
Does it seem like getting out of bed is a huge effort? What about spending time with people? Having sex? Masturbating?
One out of every four college students and one out of five young adults suffer from some form of clinical depression, according to a PsychCentral article by depression expert and author Therese J. Borchard.
Symptoms of depression range from loss of appetite to feelings of hopelessness and loss of the will to live. We’ve all seen the commercials for medications. We know that part. But what about the sexual repercussions?
That’s right: a low sex drive is another symptom of depression, and the desire for sex lessens as depression deepens. It’s a vicious cycle. College students realize why that’s inconvenient.
In a culture obsessed with quick fixes, it’s easy to jump to the easy solution: medication.
Unfortunately, that might not help much, either. According to a health alert by Johns Hopkins Medicine and Remedy Health Media, antidepressants can kill almost every aspect of a person’s sex life. In men, it can cause erectile dysfunction, an inability to get or sustain an erection; decreased blood flow in the region can lead to serious erectile dysfunction down the road once you’re off the antidepressants.
The same applies to women, who can have trouble achieving orgasm and suffer from vaginal dryness as a result of the medications. Up to 90 percent of people who experience such symptoms stop taking the medication too early for it to fully combat depression, the health alert stated.
Seriously discuss with your doctor if you’re depressed and considering going on medication. Benefits do not always outweigh the risks.
Fighting depression with recreational drugs probably isn’t the best idea, either. Drinking and doing drugs might work great in the beginning, but it’s not going to keep working for long. Keep in mind that smoking restricts blood flow around the body and could aid sexual dysfunction in the future, and drinking ultimately leads down the same path. Other drugs have similar and more severe effects.
Drug use and drinking also leads to risky behaviors like unprotected sex, according to the “Substance Use and Sexual Health Among Teens and Young Adults in the U.S.” fact sheet by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
“The more substances that sexually active teens and young adults have ever tried, the less likely they are to have used a condom the last time they had sex: Among those aged 14 to 22, 78 percent of boys and 67 percent of girls who reported never using a substance said that they used a condom, compared with only 35 percent of boys and 23 percent of girls who reported ever having used five substances,” the fact sheet states.
With sexually transmitted infections on the rise in San Francisco, it’s definitely not a good idea to go that route either.
Gorging yourself on sweets or junk food, getting angry at friends or family, sleeping the whole day and engaging in self-harm are top on the list of even more terrible ways to treat depression. All coping methods lead a depressed person further into depression and make it even harder to come back.
There is no quick fix to depression and there’s no quick fix to the sexual problems that come along with it.
So take it slow. Find someone you can trust, such as a family member or a counselor, and someone who won’t judge you. Accepting this is a huge step in helping you beat depression.
Be healthy and be around people. Exercise and eating well can make a big difference. Putting yourself into social situations helps you get out of your head and enjoy life, two more huge ways to defeat depression.
Some helpful side effects of getting out is meeting people, which can lead to meaningful relationships and then to sex. Or at least a healthier relationship with yourself, including sexually. All of that stems from feeling better about yourself.
Don’t hesitate! Get out there and enjoy life by sticking it to depression in every position, and get yourself mentally, physically and sexually healthy in the process. What do you have to lose?