Depression is a mental health condition that causes prolonged feelings of sadness and hopelessness. It’s one of the most common mental health conditions in the country—with up to 17% of the US population claiming to have experienced it at least one point in their lifetime.
It can be very difficult to live with depression as it can interfere with your ability to enjoy life and interact with others. While there are many treatments for depression, some people wonder if the act of sex can help reverse the symptoms of depression.
Can sex help depression?
The connection between sex and depression is quite nuanced. While the immediate release of feel-good chemicals and a sense of physical intimacy can certainly help boost someone’s mood, sex isn’t going to magically cure depression.
The “feel-good” chemicals sex (and, consequently, an orgasm) releases include hormones like oxytocin and dopamine. These hormones play an important role in improving your mood and making you feel happier. Additionally, having sex can help you connect with others and create social bonds. This is important, as social support is often crucial for people with depression.
On the other hand, depression can manifest itself differently from person to person—and it’s not unusual for people with depression to not experience these positive effects of sex. Libido and sexual desire in them are low, and these pleasurable chemicals don’t get released to the body as they normally should.
With all that said, is sex good for depression for people that do enjoy it? Can someone be sexually depressed?
In essence, sex may help to improve your mood and make you feel happier in the short term. However, if you do not feel like sex doesn’t have the same effect as others claim it would, there are many other treatments for depression available to make you enjoy your sex life again.
Types of Depression
There is more than one type of depression, including:
- Persistent depression disorder
- Postpartum depression disorder (only women after childbirth)
- Seasonal affective disorder
- Major depression disorder
- Psychotic depression disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Depression with anxiety disorders
Both men and women can experience symptoms of depression. These symptoms can affect you physically, mentally, and sexually. Learn how to cope with depression by reading on.
Common Symptoms of Depression
Whether it’s mild or moderate, it’s important to identify the signs of depression to cure it.
Here are symptoms of depression that can affect your physical and mental health:
- Persistent low mood
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Low energy or fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Appetite changes
If you experience any depression symptoms listed above, talk to a doctor to learn how to cope with this mental illness.
What Does Sex Have to Do With Depression?
As mentioned earlier, sex signals our brains to produce neurotransmitters as a response to sexual arousal and pleasurable sexual activity.
When your body is under this state of arousal, blood flow gets directed to your genital areas. For men, this surge in blood flow to the sex organs causes an erection to form—an important event for sexual intercourse to occur.
However, when someone is depressed, there’s a break in this process.
According to published literature by The American Family Physician, 70% of people diagnosed with depression have low libido. Why’s that, you ask?
Depression slows down the production of these “feel-good” hormones and neurotransmitters, thus negatively affecting a man’s ability to stay erect.
This impairs sexual function, and can even lead to sexual dysfunction disorders like premature ejaculation or impotence in some men.
Other Health Risks Related to Depression and Sex
Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual problem for men with depression.
One review noted that there’s a strong correlation between erectile dysfunction and depressive disorders. The review also studied that people with depression reported an improvement in their quality of life following treatment for their sexual dysfunction.
People with depression may also have underlying symptoms that contribute to feelings of depression. Performance anxiety, guilt, low self-esteem, and shame, for instance, all contribute to feelings of depression and impairment in one’s sex drive.
The emotional symptoms caused by depression can, in turn, keep men from having a healthy sex life.
Do Antidepressants Cause Sexual Side Effects?
One of the best ways to remedy depression is by taking anti-depressant medication. But sometimes people experience unpleasant ED side effects while taking these drugs, including symptoms that can negatively affect one’s sexual health.
According to one study, anti-depressants that have the highest risk of exhibiting sexual side effects include the following:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressants that work by boosting the production of serotonin in the brain. As a consequence of this, the brain and sex organs may not be able to communicate as they normally would. This makes it harder for men to ejaculate normally.
Instead of taking prescription pills before sex, it may be preferrable to take them after you engage in sexual activity, however, it’s important to always consult a medical professional prior to making any changes to your prescriptions. For other ways to treat depression and sexual problems, read on below.
Treatment for Sexual Problems Caused By Depression
Fortunately, not all hope is lost. There are many ways you can treat psychological erectile dysfunction and depression—and many of the ways to remedy these two health problems overlap.
Here are remedies for depressive symptoms to help you achieve enjoyable sex:
- Undergo a non-invasive and risk-free ED therapy that helps restore erectile function.
- Contact a licensed therapist to treat you as you’re experiencing depression.
- Exercise regularly and consider a medically sound weight loss program.
- Communicate openly with your partner regarding your sexual problems.
- Eat a diet rich in nutrients and protein, while restricting the intake of carbs and sugars.
- Restrict the use of coffee and alcohol.
- Quit smoking.
Consult Orlando’s Leading Men’s Clinic for Sexual Health and Dysfunction Guidance and Treatment
Depression isn’t easy to live with, especially alone. A medical professional should supervise your recovery to help you stay on track on your path towards wellness.
Contact the medical professionals at Premier Men’s Medical Center in Orlando today to help you diagnose and treat potential dysfunctions that are impacting your overall and sexual health.
Request a consultation with an experienced and specially trained medical staff. We are one of Florida’s leading men’s clinics providing ED therapy, PE therapy, Acoustic Wave therapy, hormone therapy, and much more.