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I completely lost my sex drive after starting on antidepressants; it's been awful. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

snippets of what people shared on campfire.

Ben

So... earlier this year was a really rough few months mental-health wise and I ended up asking my GP for antidepressants (citalopram). It's the first time I've ever needed them, and although they've been really good at helping me sort myself out, an unexpected side effect is that they've almost completely squashed my connection to my sexual self.I identify as demisexual/grey ace, so sex as a pursuit has never felt all that important to me. However, I've never fully appreciated until now how important the connection to my sexual identity has been, both as a simple source of pleasure and also as a creative force. Now that it's gone, I feel like I've been thrown completely out of balance. I really hate it.I'm curious whether anyone here has experienced, or is currently experiencing anything like this themselves. How did you / are you coping? Did your energies return when you came off the meds? Did you discover anything new about yourself as a result?Thanks and big love! 💕

Joel

I had exactly the same experience on the same anti-depressants, and i too had to get my head round the fact that it was necessary to put my sex drive to one side and deal with my mental health knowing that once I resolved that I could enjoy sex more l, so it was a necessary step to take to deal with my overall recovery

Ali

Totally lost mine when I was on Sertraline, and couldn’t orgasm either. I was on my own at the time, apart from a brief but frustrating time with a partner, so not a massive deal for anyone else, but I felt a bit shit about itI looked into literature I could find on loss of libido when on ADs, and I only found one small-scale study of women who’d had success using Sildenafil (Viagra). I didn’t go down this route tho, I decided to wait it out. There was another AD recommended in that study that had less of an effect on sex drive, but it wasn’t one that’s commonly available here in the UK

Recovering my sex drive was one of the reasons I tapered off and quit the Sertraline, but also I was doing better in myself and felt ready to - I wouldn’t recommend you go off ADs until you’re properly ready to, and with agreement of your medical professional.

This is a link to the study!

P

My primary partner (m) has been on antidepressants for 7 yrs now, and weighing of the pros and cons probably will always be on at least a low dosage.He takes Sertralin + Citalopram and it has at times both affected his sex drive and his ability to orgams. For now he chooses to stay with this combination because it works well for his mood, and finding a good combination and dosage was a huge trouble.And yes, performance anxiety was also an issue at times - he has a perscription of Tadalafil (similarish to sildenafilI think). I think it gives him reassurance to have that available as an option.

Amine

I also lost my ability to orgasm while on antidepressants! Thank you for confirming that I am indeed not weird 😅 I stopped taking them not long after

Yann

Reading all this and loving all together your honesty and emotional intelligence!

My experience, if related, is not exactly similar as I am/was not taking AD. Not per se at least. It is related to the most powerful depressant/antidepressant I know: children. 🤭My libido has always been rampant. Even through our first pregnancy, almost until the end, when we had to leave China to give birth. Then came the first hit. Not from a shutdown but from a lack of time or energy. It lasted for weeks, months. Especially with a baby who had difficulty sleeping, we were both grasping for any available minute of rest we could find. Adding to this the moving around and our administrative/consular crusade to fly back home. Than finally home it is. Stability, routine, bearings. A 1 year old child who finally has her room and finally catches her rhythm to sleep through the night. Libido my old friend, here you are again. Slowly up and again, rampant. Off the chart even. Until finally the plot twist: a positive pregnancy test. A decision to keep it, more out of reason than sheer desire. And the thoughts of going back into the rabbit hole. Those traumatic first months that take the “person” away from you, leaving the “parent” as the only active function of the being you are. And right there, the complete shut down. From 100 to 0 within hours. It happened during the Chinese New Year holiday, while one of my partners was spending a few days in town. One moment we were banging like possessed animals to the other when I told her I was really not in the mood to get physical. Lasted for about 2 months. And since it has picked up and been fluctuating, between vaguely horny to quite horny. Both stages being on the low side of my “normal” spectrum.

It will come back to my normal, eventually. In the meantime I have brain space for other things and I don’t dislike it. 😄

Kay

i’m a trans woman and hrt essentially nullified my sex drive, or at least what i before identified as my sex drive. here is what i have come to:

1. what we call sex drive has quite a few different components, at least: a visceral urge to have sex right then, a wish to have sex with someone, a preoccupation with the idea of sex, the ability to orgasm, etc. these all change in different ways

2. as such, there are many ways to discover paths towards positive sexual experiences within yourself. we naturally assume the first one we find as a teen is _the_ one. but actually that’s just one path, and if your chemistry changes that path might not lead anywhere anymore and you may need to find another path

3. this can take a long time and be very confusing

4. sex is, for most people, an important part of a serious relationship. it’s not just that people want to have sex, it’s that sex does important things in our relationships. i go months or years of dating before having sex with my partners. having sex often has a big impact when it happens!

5. neither self-exploration or exploration with others is enough on its own to find your sexuality after a big change. sex is relational. it’s one of the things that makes it so difficult to figure out — you can’t just introspect and figure it out yourself, you need to do it

6. an easy, trusting sexual relationship is a very precious thing

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