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When Depression Affects You Sexually

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Therapy Blog for Counseling in Sacramento - Relationship Therapy Center

When Depression Affects You Sexually

Nancy Ryan

Depression and sexuality small.png

Having sex when dealing with depression can be satisfying to you and your partner-- all that it takes is a little reinvention.

It is common for men and women to have sexual problems as a result of depression. The effects of any level of sexual dysfunction for men and women with depression can have a debilitating effect not only for you but also for your partner.  There are psychological, physiological and pharmacological factors that can lead to changes in your sexuality and sexual relationship. The most common factors include side effects of some medications, being fearful that the inability to perform and/or satisfy your partner may cause rejection and a lack of desire. Be assured that if you and your partner work together, you can overcome your sexual obstacles and reconnect on many levels.   

Open your mind… and your heart

The sexual connection between partners is intimate and satisfying and yet the connection between depression and sexuality can be extreme. The exacerbating fears of physical and emotional stress may outweigh your sexual desires.  As a result, your libido can disappear completely. But don’t be discouraged. If the thought or acts of actual intercourse are putting too much pressure on the relationship, there are other options for couples to satisfy one another.  Exploring your partner and being explored by fondling, massaging, stroking, kissing and cuddling can be intense in a very good way. Candles and soothing music are suggested to keep the environment calming and comforting. Re-learning about yourself sexually when dealing with depression does not have to be embarrassing.  Rather consider it to be exciting to find new ways to bond with your partner on many levels. Keep the focus off of the pain and put the focus on the pleasure. Intimacy is given and received on many levels and in many different ways.

Communication is key

Men and women with depression may also experience fears of not being able to perform sexually or on a sexual level to keep their partner attracted and interested.  As a result, the fear of rejection can be extremely daunting, closing off not only sexual intimacy but also communication. Talk with your partner about how you are feeling in a setting other than the bedroom.  While some men and women find that talking about their sexual relations is awkward or uncomfortable, it is necessary to address it. Keeping your feelings and emotions to yourself because you feel embarrassed will only keep the distance between you. When discussing your sexual relationship, keep it positive and provide support to one another. Blaming one another will only put additional pressure and strain on the relationship causing ongoing resentment, defensive emotions and further shutdown of communication between the two of you. Sometimes couples have trouble communicating and couples counseling can help.

Reconnect and reignite

Plan some time together that does not involve sex. Changes in environment and activities can do wonders for reigniting and reconnecting.  Find some new things to do together and don’t be afraid to try and explore new things. Reconnect as partners who are willing to put forth whatever it takes to stay connected. Love and intimacy need to be nurtured in order to grow together on your journey. If you experience some setbacks that does not mean to stop trying and communicating. It’s about continuing to learn about one another on many levels, seeking new adventures and experiencing life, love and intimacy together.  And that, in itself, is worth it.

There is hope in overcoming depression and sexual difficulties.  We have therapists here to help in Fair Oaks, CA and Roseville, CA.  Call us today to schedule 916-426-2757

Lori Hunter, LMFT

Lori Hunter, LMFT

Lori Hunter, LMFT specializes in working with families, co-parenting and those high conflict couples struggling with relationships. She helps couples build intimacy, teaching effective emotional processing techniques that directly improve thoughts and behaviors.