I knew I needed to go on anti-depressants about 18 months before I finally took the leap (well, had the breakdown) and went to the doctor (well, was dragged to the doctor) to finally ask for help. I hate to admit it but one of the reasons I was reluctant to go on anti-depressants was due to fear they would have a bad impact on my libido. My wife and I have always enjoyed an active sex life and I didn’t want that to disappear; I didn’t want to go from wanting sex numerous times a week to having sex once a month because I felt guilty for not wanting it AT ALL.
As I saw it at the time (and still do now) I was extremely lucky that depression hadn’t been a libido-killer in itself. A lot of the literature I read explained a common symptom of depression was a lack of libido and potentially complete disinterest in sex. For me that was never the case, even at my worst I
wanted craved sex with my wife – if anything my libido increased – to the point I almost felt obsessed with sex.
I am the sort of writer who needs to be in a sexual state of mind to write about sex and it was a relief that even if I couldn’t be bothered having a shower, getting dressed, going out into public, I still wanted to write, and I still wanted to have sex.
At that initial appointment when I was put on Fluoxetine, the doctor warned me about a decreased or non-existant libido – and I worried about that – more than worried actually, to the point I considered not starting the medication. I felt that without my libido, without that familiar part of my being I would become more of a shell. I might have been depressed, I might have been moody, I might have wondered a few (million) times why anyone would want me… but I was still horny old Bree, I was still spending hours a week writing erotica. It was really the only part of me that I felt wasn’t broken, as if it was the tiny little thread of sanity that was holding me together.
Imagining life without my libido, without my passion for writing erotica… it was beyond terrifying. Then I put myself in my wife’s shoes and realised not going on anti-depressants because I wanted to retain my libido – while losing everything else – was plain old selfish, stupid, and just didn’t make sense.
Surprisingly, my fear about losing my libido never had anything to do with worrying that if I didn’t want sex, my wife would leave me. This, from a woman who, not so long ago, used sex as a way to keep a relationship together. I knew that if I never wanted sex again my wife would still be right by my side, being the utterly amazing woman she always is… I suppose that was the one positive out of that dark time in my life. I realised I was indeed truly loved. Sure, most of the time I had no idea why she would want to love me, but knowing I was loved really was a bright spot for me.
I went on my meds.
I waited for my libido to disappear. It didn’t. If anything it increased.
And the stupid thing about this? I felt like there was something wrong with me. Yeap. Most people feel something is wrong if their libido wanes, but I wondered if something was wrong with me because it increased so much. My wife, as usual, told me I was being silly and I was perfectly normal, but it took me a long time to believe her.
Around four months ago my meds were upped and again I went through the ‘am I going to lose my libido’ panic, to the point that – yet again – I wondered if perhaps I shouldn’t start the increased dosage and stick to what was[n’t really] working. My wife pretty much told me to get over myself (it was what I needed her to do, and I know it wasn’t coming from a negative place) and that if my libido did go wonky, we would deal with it.
The increase doesn’t seem to have effected my libido and I have finally accepted that I am one of the exceptions to the depression=low libido rule.
I have thought about it a lot however, and came to realise that for me, sex is part of how I cope with depression. Some people use exercise as an anti-depressant, I use sexercise. On a deeper level, I think it is my wife that is my anti-depressant. Throughout this particular depression journey the one thing I have
wanted needed is to be close to my wife. I might push other people away and go even further into my introvert shell, but when it comes to my wife I need her right by my side as much as possible. Just being in her presence has a calming effect on me.
With all this thinking about it, I realise that intimacy with my wifey is like a booster shot of sorts… we have sex and I instantly feel better on an emotional and mental level. I suppose it’s because of the feel-good hormones released when orgasm occurs; I love being flooded with the post-orgasm sensations, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually… that feeling of bliss and awe and… well, you know what I mean.
Sometimes my wife knows when I need an orgasm, before I even do. I get into what we refer to as the ‘spiral of doom’, my mood plummets at an astonishing rate and nothing gets through to me. Except those feel-good post-orgasm hormones. Usually I go and hide in bed, my wife quickly joins me and before long I am deep in the throes – after I orgasm I am like a new person – and this is why my wifey refers to it as ‘resetting my brain’. This is a treatment method I’m yet to discuss with my psychologist.
Because there is the potential for so many black clouds in my emotional and mental landscape, I have finally stopped wondering why I can still enjoy sex, and am instead embracing it.
Even if it does exhaust my poor wife.
I am really curious to find out whether or not I am some sort of exception, so if you have experienced depression at any stage I would love if you could answer my poll, you can do an answer for non-medicated and medicated depression.