Dear Body Party,
I recently started back on antidepressants, and while I’ve stopped thinking about death so often (yay!) I’ve completely lost my sex drive and, worse yet, lost any ability to cum. Is there any ways I can get my sex drive back without dropping the SSRIs and plunging back into a depressive pit?
-Less Sad, but Sexless
Hey Less Sad, but Sexless,
I’ve got good news for you, and I’ve got bad. The good news is that often times different anti depressants effect sex drive differently than others, so shopping around could drastically improve your sexual health and boost your ability to orgasm.
The bad news is that while a new prescription could help out, it is unlikely that there is any one solution to your problem. The standard pharmacological treatment for clinical depression are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), medication that stops the brain from disposing of excess serotonin, a neurotransmitter crucial for all sorts of mental functions, in order to increase a patient’s serotonin levels. Research suggests that decreased sex drive and inability to cum is universal across SSRIs because of the role serotonin plays in arousal and orgasm.
If you are not interested in switching pills, or have tried that without success, there are a few other possible solutions (all of which you should talk to your doctor about beforehand!). The easiest involves either decreasing your dosage to see if you can maintain the emotionally positive impacts of the drugs while decreasing the sexual side effects or taking a ‘drug vacation’, in which you come off of the SSRI for a weekend so can have fulfilling sexual experience.
Be warned that besides this being a bandaid fix, it also will not work with older SSRIs that have longer half lifes, like Fluoxetine or Escitalopram (brand name: Prozac or Lexapro).
For more consistent treatment, ask your doctor about certain drugs, like the common antihistamine Cyproheptadine, that can be taken with your SSRIs or right before sex to increase sexual arousal, sensation, and your ability to orgasm.
Most importantly, keep in mind that not being interested in sex is totally okay, and having sex when you’re not interested is not mandatory! Talk to your partners, let them know what’s going on, keep communication open, and go out and have some fun.
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