Common mental health concerns like depression and anxiety are recognised enough that we all understand the basic symptoms. For depression, low energy, a lack of interest in life and even bursts of anger can all indicate that something is amiss.
What’s not often discussed is how this can affect your sex life. If you’re suffering from depression, sex is often the last thing you want to think about, let alone discuss with your significant other. However, this can be something that seriously affects your relationship and may lead to resentment and misunderstanding of mental health issues.
The ups (and downs) of medication
Another key factor in this is medication. You may be doing everything you can to get help – talking to your doctor or a psychiatrist, taking medication, exercising – but if you’re on a medication that is known to lower libido, you may still be struggling in this area.
The only way to solve this is to talk to your significant other, as well as your doctor. As with any psychiatric medication, the only way to know if it’s working is to be aware. Keep a diary (or download one of the many apps available) to help you track your sex drive over a few months. If you find there are times when it peaks, it’s unlikely that it’s a result of your medication. Also keep in mind that your hormones fluctuate every month and this might also be a factor.
Anxiety is another mental health issue that could wreak havoc on your sex life. While you may have the drive and willingness to engage in sexual activities, there are certain symptoms that are key indicators of anxiety that aren’t often discussed.
Anxiety often causes us to question our decisions and constantly worry about whether or not we’re doing the right thing. It can affect your self confidence and make you worry about how others perceive you. Because sex is such an intimate act, you need to be able to relax while engaging in it to fully enjoy it.
It’s crucial to talk to your partner. Let them know what is worrying you or how concerned you are about certain things such as your sexual performance. Be honest about your concerns and explain to them that these are very real concerns and fears to you. Discuss compromises, such as keeping the lights off if you feel self conscious or asking them to be more open and encouraging about what they do enjoy.
Sex is something we all want to enjoy and is an important part of any relationship. It’s time to take both mental and your sexual health more seriously.