Depression and Intimacy

Depression is something that many humans are faced with. It is recorded that over 350,000,000 people across the globe suffer from a myriad of types and levels of depression which affects their everyday lives (Oncology Times). Depression is a serious and common medical illness that affects the way you think about life and yourself negatively, which thusly influences the way you think and act. Heavy feelings of sadness and feeling a loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed are both signs. This condition is very treatable, but if left untreated, can hinder their ability to function inside of their daily lives.

Depression symptoms can vary but should be present for two weeks or more to obtain an official diagnosis. Because symptoms can be mild to extreme, there are certain common signs to look for.

  • loss of interest in pleasure activities once loved
  • feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • trouble sleeping; too much or too little
  • changes in appetite; weight loss or weight gain
  • increased nervous activity; wringing hands together, rubbing fingers, etc.
  • feeling worthless
  • difficulty making decisions and carrying out thoughts
  • loss of energy and drive
  • thoughts of suicide

There are different things that bring on depression and one that affects those dealing with long term illnesses, cancer, and certain life-long autoimmune illnesses face medical depression. When we are faced with our own life and the chances of death are constantly looming, the endless appointments, medications, therapies, wound care, directions and treatment paths are often overwhelming and seem unpassable. Studies done by Cancer Nursing Online showed that medical depression was responsible for the sudden decrease in sexual activity by partners studied and surveyed for a myriad of reasons. Changes to sexuality desire linked to depression were reports of self-blame, judgment, rejection, sadness, anger, loss of control, and lack of sexual and physical fulfillment and more (Cancer Nursing Online).

There are many ways to treat depression naturally and with the help from your primary care physician. The occurrence of depression occurs more frequently in women, however more equally between the sexes in those facing cancer and life-long illness treatment. Seventy-percent of humans who suffer from depression also report the loss of libido and sexual desire. Here are a few things to consider to help boost your libido.

  • Adjust the antidepressant medication schedule to be taken after sexual encounters. This allows the medication to be absorbed after the act so that your body has time to adjust to the increase of medication in your blood stream. For men, this might help with delayed orgasm or premature ejaculation.
  • Exercise regularly to improve overall physical health and to keep the endorphins coursing through your body.
  • Be honest and open with your partner about how depression is affecting your life and sexual health. While discussing may not be an immediate fix for the issues, relieving your mind of the guilt and heavy feelings from these issues might lighten sharing your burden with your partner.

Talk to your primary care physician about adding a medication for sexual function. For men, this might mean something like the little blue pill or another sort of hormone increasing medication. There are also a number of natural supplements such as Maca or the puncture vine, which both have hundreds of years of sexual healing power packed behind them. L’arginine, an amino acid, and Niacin also have proven studies that show that they help with the ease of erections in men (HealthLine). Asian ginseng is another well know natural herb that aides both men and women in the sexual drive and desire department. Before taking any new natural supplement or medication, please be sure to check in with your primary care physician to ensure your safety while you try to reclaim your intimacy.

Just as you should fight your illness for your right to life, you should continue to try and learn to cope and handle your depression. There are many ways to continue to be intimate with your partner or yourself, even if those ways do not mean the actual act of intercourse. Depression keeps our minds busy and unfocused on the things that truly matter, which can make reaching your peak of orgasm a sometimes-tricky feat. This is why being open and honest with your partner, even if it feels uncomfortable, can be your first steps to leaving your depression behind. Addressing your depression in whatever way feels the best for you is a must.

While you are healing from cancer surgery or treatment, your mind and body need all of the positive thoughts you can muster. Simply ignoring the elephant in the room will not make it go away or help you to heal any faster. If you feel that you are suffering from depression, mention it to your doctors on your next check-up or check-in. Remember that you are not alone and many, many people are working through depression of their own.

Resources Used:

Reclaiming Intimacy

Back to blog