Bedroom secrets — antidepressants and sex

My blog gets many inquisitive hits about the use of antidepressants and sexual satisfaction. From time to time I do write openly about this topic. Here’s one of those times so be forewarned; exit now if you don’t want to read an honest post with regard to my sexuality and depression.

Many antidepressants have made it nearly impossible for me to achieve orgasm. All I can figure is antidepressants mess up my hormones and they don’t allow the tension to build to the point of being able to climax.  On Paxil I enjoyed manual stimulation but I couldn’t come. This wasn’t satisfying because sex didn’t feel right to me if I couldn’t complete the act. I would frustratingly try to get-off and all I would get is sore from trying too hard.

I took my prescribed medications and suffered with a poor sex life for a couple of years because I understood the benefits to my depression. During this time, life evened-out for me.  I learned to not be in a constant state of flight or fight.  I didn’t have to disassociate my feelings from my thoughts because they were basically under control.  Eventually, I missed the enjoyment of a healthy sex life so I sought out a psychiatrist to help me find a medication that did not have negative sexual side effects. During this time I was able to achieve orgasm but Lexapro, Effexor, Pristiq and Zoloft decreased my desire and having sex was more of a chore than something I desired.

I should mention that prior to getting on antidepressants, my sexual desire was strong. In fact, so much so that early in my marriage I was the aggressor and my husband would turn me away because he didn’t have the same level of desire. I could get off pretty easily with him and I wanted sex often. Because of these differences, I learned to use a power massager to have an orgasm on my own. The massager was made for sore muscles but I found it was useful in other areas.  Talk about quick. When I’m in the right mood I can come in less than a minute.

Husband started showing more interest in me once I didn’t “need” him anymore. He joined me in the bedroom and overtime bought me a couple of different dildos to complement the pleasure from my massager. Truthfully, I was embarrassed by these gifts but also intrigued. Husband continues to like to satisfy me with my “toys” before he and I take care of him. I used to feel embarrassed that he was watching and helping me masturbate because it was ingrained in me that good girls don’t do that. Husband made me feel sexy and loved when I played with my toys so it began to be a part of our love-making. Ironically, Husband initiates sex more now and the tables have turned and he has the stronger sex drive.

This change is probably because of the nasty effects of antidepressants. They definitely lowered my sexual desire and my pleasure.  I began to feel like I could take it or leave it. Last November I sought out another prescribing professional to help me find a better antidepressant. I wasn’t as concerned about sexual function as much as my obsession for carbohydrates. Paroxetine worked best on my depression but it caused excessive weight gain and a desire to drink too much wine. I wasn’t sure if the wine was a craving or a way to self-medicate depression. (That’s another post but basically it was both plus a habit that is difficult to break). My newest therapist writes prescriptions and she currently has me on Wellbutrin and Celexa. This is a good balance of medications that treats my depression, lessons my craving for carbs, gives me more control over my drinking and allows me to be multi-orgasmic once again. My husband is initiating sex almost every night (we’re both on vacation) and I am eagerly responding to his advances.

I believe couples have to get creative when our bodies do less than what we want. My husband’s high blood pressure medication makes it hard for him to sustain an erection so getting-off by making love is nearly impossible for both of us. He helps me use my toys and I help by jerking him off and giving him oral. Even a guy with erectile issues can usually get hard if the woman doesn’t pressure him to penetrate her. (This is where my toys come in handy). No two people are the same so I can’t promise the medications I take would work for anyone else but my advice would be to keep looking for the ones that have the least amount of negative side effects.

I hope this post was helpful to those that visit my blog looking for answers about depression and sexuality. I recognize it’s unabashed and bold but in reality we are all sexual creatures. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I can honestly say I have healed from how the early trauma affected me sexually. It didn’t happen overnight. I became confident and self-assured in the bedroom because I have a great guy in my life who sincerely wants to give me pleasure and sex usually begets sex.


4 responses to “Bedroom secrets — antidepressants and sex

  1. The catch-22 of these drugs. All the paperwork says the incidence on sexual side effects from SSRI meds is something like 50%. Bullshit. I have never talked to a person that wasn’t impacted sexually by these drugs. I think it is just under reported because folks don’t want to talk about it. These drugs have had a horrible impact on the already somewhat strained intimate side of my marriage. I have yet to find any real balance in the drugs. Wellbutrin has no side effects, but also doesn’t work very well. The SSRI’s make me feel great, but the the effects are terrible.

    • I hate the sexual side effects and things can be made worse by outside stressors in a relationship. When you end up in a rut with your significant other due to kids, finances, work, etc the easiest thing to do is just let the sex life suffer. Believe me, I’ve been through my share of neglected years with my husband (of 24 years).

      Wellbutrin doesn’t help my depression but I do think it helps my appetite and sex drive so I take it. I respond well to SSRI’s and thank God for that, otherwise I’d be crawling around in deep, dark depression. Celexa seems to have minimum side effects for me but everyone is different! Thanks for commenting — it is a personal topic but I think it’s worth talking about. No way would I be so blunt if this blog weren’t anonymous. I am a pretty reserved female who rarely shows cleavage outside of the bedroom. I prefer turtlenecks and polar fleece. Not very sexy but fortunately my husband sees behind the outside package!

  2. I’ve found the same thing on citalopram. Having always had a high sex drive it’s really distressing to suddenly find it impossible to achieve orgasm. The level of tension isn’t the same but if I really work at it I can feel something, but when I get to the crucial moment everything just shuts off. It’s so incredibly frustrating. I’m considering stopping them which is a pain because my depression was pretty bad beforehand and the pills really seem to be helping with that. Not sure I’m prepared to sacrifice my sexuality though. Thanks for being so open about your experience as I’m sure this affects a lot of people.

    • Hi. thanks for reading my blog. I don’t come here much anymore because I’ve been dealing with trying to quit drinking. But thanks for your support. I hated when the meds caused problems with orgasm! It’s a tough decision deciding to get off medications that work. I know! I’ve got the right balance right now. I’m on Wellbutrin, Celexa and 0.5 Klonopin at night to help me sleep. It’s working. Here’s my new blog (no pressure). Good luck to you!

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