How Depression Effects Male Libido and What to Do About It
Of all the psychological and physiological effects of depression, one of the most devastating, especially for men, can be the sexual consequences. It can cause an overall loss of passion, an issue with coming to orgasm or even a compulsive need for sexual release.
The diagnosis of depression from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) states that is includes “diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities.” This can certainly and often does include a diminished interest in the pleasure derived from sexual activity. Frederick K. Goodwin, MD of the council for the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression says “The whole process of sexual arousal starts with the ability to anticipate pleasure, which is lost with depression.”
Pressure to Perform
What makes this state of affairs worse for men is the great pressure to perform. Even if their partner is understanding, they tend to be hard on themselves and consider themselves less of a man when their sexual drive is lacking. This, of course, only feeds the depression they are already feeling. Performance anxiety itself is also a cause of serious sexual issues like premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
On the flip side of the coin, some men may have increased sex drives when depression takes hold. Sexual release involves chemicals that make the mind feel better. When running from depression, people can easily run to things that give them temporary highs. This can be drugs or alcohol but it can also be orgasm. In this case, there is an increased danger of compulsive behavior. Seeking sexual release to make you feel better on occasion can be healthy but, if you become dependent on the need to masturbate, watch pornography, or have sexual intercourse, this also removes the aspects of pleasure and love that are essential to long term healthy sexual behavior. It can destroy a relationship if infidelity is involved or, if your partner is not aware of, and on board with, your activities.
Two Keys to Resolving Sexual Issues Associated with Depression
There are two keys to resolving sexual issues associated with depression. The first thing is to treat the depression itself. It is true that some medications that treat depressive symptoms effect the libido in adverse ways but, taken under the direction of a licensed physician, these can be lessened or avoided altogether. Ultimately, with the depression gone or abated, a healthy sex life will return. It may not be the same as before the disease took hold but men will regain both pleasure and ability.
The second, and equally important treatment for depression, is to talk. Having open discussions with a professional who is trained to deal with these types of issues is essential. If there is a partner involved, it is also crucial to talk with them about what is going on, what you need, what they need, and possible solutions. In fact, talking alone can sometimes resolve most, if not all of the issues.
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