Anti-depressents to blame for lack of sex drive?
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Anti-depressents to blame for lack of sex drive?

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Old 03-28-15, 04:27 AM   #1
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Question Anti-depressents to blame for lack of sex drive?

Hi, this is my first time posting here so please forgive if this is in the wrong place. I know there are strict guidelines related to sex posts and I am trying to write in as broad of terms as possible, but if this is still not allowed, please let me know and I will remove it.

My brief (and somewhat embarrassing introduction - at least to me )...
I am almost 30 and have never had sex. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety disorder when I was 16 and have been on some form of anti-depressant or another ever sense. I've also struggled with self-harm, excruciatingly low self-esteem and severe weight gain (that's a whole other can of worms i.e. binge eating, sugar addiction, etc.) I won't recount my whole life story but it's been rough at times. I'm very embarrassed by being such a "late bloomer" where sex is concerned and not very many people in my life know about this except for maybe a couple friends.

In the past, I've dealt with this particular topic by simply not thinking about it and just pushing it to the back of my mind, but I'm finding this harder to do as I approach 30. Not only am I ashamed but also fearful that I will never be capable of having a physical relationship with someone. For some reason or another, be it the continual use of anti-depressant medication throughout my teens and twenties (I've been on Effexor now for almost 5 years), the obesity or low self-esteem (I think it's a combination of all three), I have very little sex drive which is further complicated by my fears of actually having sex, on the one hand, and, on the other, spending my entire life alone (literally).

I'm trying to focus my energy into making positive lifestyle changes i.e. resolving my self-destructive eating habits, treating my body with kindness for once and just generally building a healthier life, and hope that the rest will just follow it's natural course. One thing I've been wondering, however, is whether or not there is any action I can take regarding my anti-depressants if I want to have a healthy sex life. I don't ever recall really having any sort of sex drive past my pre-teen years (I stopped experiencing the phenomena of butterflies in the stomach around the end of junior high), which coincidentally is when I started taking these medications. I feel like I have been on the medication for so long that I was never able to develop a healthy sex drive like other people when they were teenagers.

Increasingly, I feel like the anti-depressants are holding me back from "real life" (even numbing me, in a way) but my family and doctor are strongly against me going off them. However, I've been reading more and more about natural treatments for depression, i.e. regularly exercising, talk therapy w/o drugs, etc. This is something I'm definitely interested in exploring, and would love to know...

- Has anyone else out there suffered from a low sex drive entirely/in part because of their anti-depressant medication? How did you deal with it? Are there any other late bloomers on here whose sex lives have been affected by their depression, particularly medication?
- Has anyone made the switch from medication to managing their depression naturally? Did this affect your sex drive in any way?
- Is there any natural herbs I should know about that increase your sex drive or at least prevent it from shutting down almost entirely?

Again, I know this is a sensitive subject and my post is not appropriate please let me know so I can take it down.

Sorry for the length, hope I didn't put anyone to sleep! If you made it this far, thanks so much reading.
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Old 03-28-15, 07:23 PM   #2
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I can definitely appreciate where you're coming from. Everyone's experience with side effects is different of course, but I found that most of them had serious sexual side effects for me, and Effexor was definitely the worst for that. I eventually decided to go off them because the side effects weren't worth the very negligible difference they made for me. I'm also a "late bloomer" too, so ya, you're not alone!

I'd say it's very likely that antidepressants are causing or at least contributing to your low sex drive. Have you talked to your doctor about it? Sometimes they're able to prescribe something, or recommend a natural remedy that will boost your libido somewhat. There are natural remedies that can increase your sex drive. A highly rated one from might be worth a shot - I saw one called Feminex that appeared to do the trick for many women. (I'm operating under the assumption that you're a woman here, so my apologies if I'm mistaken!)

Now... I'm not a doctor, and you should not go off your meds without discussing this with a professional of course, but in my experience, it was worth going off Effexor in a phased out way (as my doctor suggested) in order to see if it was indeed causing my side effects. The difference was night and day for me within... I'd say in about a week, my sexual side effects disappeared completely. Again, everyone's experience is different though, and it can take longer than that for others to see if there's a difference or not. If going off meds temporarily is something you really want to try, it's worth pressing the issue with your doctor.

I've switched to natural methods of managing depression, which makes a difference with depression (although it's definitely still an issue for me), and having no sexual side effects is really wonderful. Exercise has also helped me a great deal in terms of sex drive, especially intense cardio. I don't mean to be indelicate here, but I think it's also important for people to exercise their sex drive by enjoying their sexuality on their own too. Like many other aspects of the body, the more it's used, the better it gets.

Also, I would suggest trying not to worry so much about what may or may not happen in the future in terms or sex or relationships. I really think that's causing you undue stress. Cross those bridges when you get there! I found it really hard to meet people, and didn't really start dating until my early thirties when I discovered online dating sites, and they changed everything. Like me, you may be taking a different path in life when it comes to relationships than most people, but there's no reason why you can't find someone and have a happy relationship if it's what you really want! Sometimes the right person comes into your life when you least expect it, so keep an open mind, relax, and believe in yourself!
I can control only my own attitude, only my own behavior.

I can choose to not fret over things I can't control.
- Hannah Holmes

Last edited by Uncomfortably Numb; 03-28-15 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 03-31-15, 07:09 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for your reply. It means so much to know I'm not the only one on the road 'less traveled'. :)
I appreciate your warm words, advice and support.
Many thanks again!
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Old 04-01-15, 10:29 PM   #4
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I know that some antidepressants do contribute to lack of sex drive. Hearing about it from guys in the nuthouse( sorry if the term offends. i always refer to it as the makes me laugh at least. but I have been told I have a horrible sense of humor) and my personal experiences with certain family members. ( everyone tells me all sorts of stuff even if i don't ask..other stuff I just notice)
anyways, maybe you can ask to switch to another antidepressant that doesn't have that effect? Also combining your treatment with cognitive behavior therapy, they say, ( my therapist and a bunch of somewhat reliable websites..govt, etc) that CBT enhances the get well from a booster for the antidepressants and the patients have less relapses. But you have to keep remembering to do it of course :)
And I know this might sound hippie dippy, but Yoga really helps depression and weight issues, eating issues, body issues, etc.
there's a clinic in Albuquerque that treats depression with just yoga and healthy diet. My therapist told me to try yoga. I have bipolar disorder, my dad died, I had diabetes and high blood pressure, she told me do yoga and meditation. So I did. I lost 90 pounds in two years. last year I had to have surgery on my wrists( carpal tunnel) so I couldn't do yoga. I have been driving my whole family nuts, and put on 17 pounds in six months. But I am doing meditation and hypnosis and little bits of yoga ( I lost a lot of muscle). hypnosis for the "frustration eating" and meditation, trying to still my mind.
Those are just a few alternative boosters for antidepressants..sorry I ramble a lot!
anyways, I wouldn't worry about being a " late bloomer" You want quality in your life, not quantity. I told my own boys, you are in high school to learn,not get in a relationship that's gonna freak you out. I thought I was sparing them relationship drama. so of course now, they are all graduated and looking for quality in people, not just a fling. they have had relationships, but are not looking for " booty call" relationships. It's not a bad thing. Society has no problems if girls wait for a while, but when a guy is still not "tagging things", after high school, people act weird about it. my youngest is going on 21. It's just not their main thought at the time. They get no pressure either way.
I say, there is no schedule. Just live. My youngest son told me, when you're born your little finger is tied with a string, and the other end is tied to your soulmate, and it can bend but break. that's how he thinks of the waiting game.
the others...just have seen their friends go through drama, seen the girls get pregnant, etc. So even though they are interested, they weigh the pros and cons. Quality wins out.
In the meantime, keep doing what you are doing, work on yourself. People are attracted to a content person, someone who is comfortable in his own life and still curious about the world. It's a life long schedule!
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