If you’ve ever been depressed, you know what a powerful effect it can have on every facet of your existence, including your sex life. I was depressed for nearly a year and during that time, I barely got laid due to my diminishing sex drive and nearly absent desire to connect.
I couldn’t connect to the person I was with. It sucked because even when I was in the midst of a passionate love affair, I felt like I was faking it. I also kinda hated myself for hating the guy I was sleeping with for no reason at all. He was a great guy, but for some reason, I was able to get all grumpy about our rendezvous. It’s really hard to pretend you’re sexually attracted to someone when you’re depressed. I really tried though.
I had a hard time feeling physical touch. Something people don’t often realize about depression is that not only are you emotionally numb, but you can feel physically numb as well. It makes sense because when your brain isn’t picking up signals like it should, and it can be hard to feel pleasure when someone is touching you. It just feels like…nothing, honestly.
I couldn’t see the point of it. I had this all encompassing, negative view of the world. To me, everything sucked. EVERYTHING. I often wondered what the point of living was and I often thought life was meaningless. Why on earth would I see the point in having sex? It’s already kind of a weird, frivolous activity (unless you’re making a baby, of course). In my depressed mind, anything that functioned for the sole purpose of giving humans joy was totally and completely redundant to me.
I felt unworthy and undesirable. Depression has the magical ability to make a person feel completely and utterly unworthy in every way, including sexually. Even when I was in the middle of hooking up (which barely happened over the course of my depression), there was a voice in the back of my head telling me that I didn’t deserve it and that I wasn’t worthy of receiving pleasure. It was really hard to ignore.
I felt like a broken person. When my depression hit, it was like everything I knew to be true about myself prior to my mind breaking was obsolete. I was no longer the good, fun-loving, friendly person I thought I was. I was an empty shell of a human, unable to do the typical things humans do. I was defective, so why would I ever want to have sex?
I had no energy. Another symptom of depression people don’t usually know about is physical fatigue. I remember hooking up with my FWB and just feeling like I could collapse and sleep for a million years when we were finished. I couldn’t even get dressed and walk him to the door. Sex was way too exhausting for my depressive mind and body.
Dating seemed pointless to me. Sex was pointless to me so obviously dating was too. I kept telling my friends that I just “didn’t feel like I was in the right place to date,” but that kept going on for months and months and then I finally realized that I had full-blown depression. Now that I’m coming out of it, I STILL don’t feel like I’ll be able to date for a while just because it really messed with the way I saw myself. I’ll get back on the horse eventually, but it’s going to take a lot of willpower.
I kinda HAD to be single. The only times I had sex when I was depressed was the occasional FWB situation. I couldn’t handle a new relationship or sex with someone I didn’t know. I needed to have the option to keep them at a distance while still being able to explain to them WHY I’m not my usual self. I was honestly celibate for the majority of that year though.
It made me realize how I see myself in relation to sex. When my sex drive disappeared, I began to realize how much value I placed on it in relationships. I always had my sex appeal to fall back on. If I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time, at least I could hook up with a rando and get some satisfaction out of the meaningless sex. Still, since I couldn’t fall back on my ability to sleep with someone, I’ve had to think of other reasons why a man should be with me.
It forced me to be more honest with my sex partners. I had to come clean to my FWB and just be like, “Hey, I’m depressed and kinda losing my sex drive, so this might not end the way you think it will.” I just HAD to say it, and you know what? Since I’ve had to be so open and honest about what was going on with me, I felt less ashamed about having depression. I also feel a lot more free to just talk about sex like it’s no big deal. That was the one upside.
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