Depression and anxiety can affect every aspect of life . . .
. . . including sex.
The brain is the most powerful organ in the human body. Acknowledging this makes it easy to accept that all wants, needs, and desires—including sexual ones—begin in the brain too! Horny or amorous feelings prompt chemicals known as neurotransmitters to send messages to various cells. This signal triggers the promotion of more blood flow to the sexual organs.
While no two people experience mental health in the same way, mood swings and uncontrollable feelings typical of depression and anxiety commonly render the neurotransmitters less effective. The outcome? Low or no interest in sex. As a result, trying to avoid intimate encounters could become a thing.
Wooing That Sex Drive
In some cases, depression and anxiety medications decrease libido. The idea of engaging in sexual activity could be the furthest thing away from your mind if you are feeling depressed or anxious. Still, you might consider initiating some intimacy with yourself more often. Doing so could actually have more benefits than you think!
People often celebrate sex as a fun way of getting your exercise in and burning some extra calories. The great thing is, this particular workout has benefits that extend far beyond what it can do for your waistline.
Getting your groove on isn’t a magical cure for mental health challenges, but . . .
. . . it can go some way towards coping with and managing symptoms. Yes, engaging in sexual activity does reward you with pleasure, satisfaction, and orgasms. But as an added bonus, your body is generously flooded with a surge of feel-good hormones too.
The mood-boosting concoction of serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin encourages feelings of intimacy and relaxation. It can also make you feel happy, content, and more compassionate thus being able to bond better with your partner. This cocktail of cheerfulness generally just gives you a good, all-around sense of balance. Think of it as a form of physical meditation!
What about masturbation?
Masturbation can be just as good for you mentally as it is physically. If you’re feeling down, exploring your sexuality alone could be all you’re interested in – that is absolutely fine! Touching yourself in ways that feels pleasurable will naturally encourage the release of all those feel-good hormones. As a result, you’re more likely to feel at ease.
Solo sex is generally a great way to get in touch with your body and practise mindfulness – something which is actively promoted as a way of managing anxiety. Quietening the mind and being in the moment can help you reconnect with your body sexually. It may also help you to begin to understand your inner self.
Masturbation has plenty of benefits.
Increased confidence when engaging in partnered sex is one of them, thanks to the self-esteem boost that can come from developing a strong relationship with your body. Knowing what helps you to orgasm is a huge payback too!
Masturbation is considered an act of self-love which is both empowering and soul boosting. There are no limitations to how much you masturbate provided it doesn’t become an obsession or interfere with daily activities.
Understanding how much mental health affects sexual desires, helps us find ways to offset a dip in libido.
Communication is the Holy Grail of any relationship. Sharing your thoughts and how you are feeling with your partner keeps them in the loop and prevents them from feeling rejected. Plus, it’s equally as important to get things off your chest.
Another point worth noting is that those dealing with mental health concerns may not only encounter a reduced interest in sex. The time it takes for them to get turned on and experience an orgasm could be longer too.
Effective communication is therefore necessary as it could contribute towards strengthening the relationship sexually. Equipping your partner with a better understanding of what you are going through could inspire them to find new ways to entice and excite you.
Explore each other’s bodies
Is partnered sex on the table (figuratively speaking)? Try familiarising yourself with your partner’s body and equally them with yours. This can do wonders for fanning the smoky embers of passion and desire.
With anxiety in particular, common symptoms include panicky feelings, tension in the body, increased heart rate, and more, so taking your time is crucial. No pressure and lots of patience are needed with the aim of feeling completely relaxed and at ease.
Depression often causes low self-esteem so showing mutual love and attention to each other’s bodies can flip that and give it a boost. It’s so important to feel relaxed! A relaxed body creates less opportunity for more difficult sexual situations like vaginal spasms and tightening or premature ejaculation.
Make it exciting!
Things can look bleak when you feel depressed and with anxiety, the tendency to stress over everything is very real. Try breaking away from your normal sex routine and spicing things up!
Introducing more sensuality could be a good look. A nice bath, a massage, listening to some audio porn…the list is endless. Again, taking things slowly is important so as to avoid any other potential anxiety-inducing or low mood causing situations.
Although tides are turning and more minds are opening up, the possibility of your GP or therapist prescribing sex as a treatment for depression and anxiety is still unlikely. Whilst some may surprise you and do, it’s arguable that the likelihood is slim.
Unfortunately, we live in a somewhat judgemental society and sadly some people still feel uncomfortable about discussing sex in general. This is illustrated in the overall reluctance to talk about sex in a medical or health and wellbeing-related context.
The irony is, sex is used to sell just about everything around us from make-up to sports products.
So, the idea that we don’t use it as a way of promoting the treatment of mental health issues, seems almost ludicrous.
The truth is, sex, masturbation, and orgasms have the potential to make you feel good. If that helps to relieve an individual of symptoms of depression and anxiety, even if only for the short term, then surely considering it as a complementary treatment is a must.