Effects of Depression on Sexual Disorders

Effects of Depression on Sexual Disorders

Depression and Sexuality

The possible correlations between depressive states and disorders of sexuality are revisited here: both in relation to the respective etiopathogenesis of these disorders and in relation to the problems raised by the use of different pharmacological therapies. Which is the clinical entanglements between the state of mood of the depressed and the fall of the libido, underlying "hidden depression" or sexual disorders, all perspectives generated by these reflections are examined in detail in order to bring about a better understanding depression and disruption of sex life.

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At first sight, it seems obvious that a depressed person does not have sexual desires. In the same way, one might think that therapies designed to combat and cure depression contribute by their action to restore an adequate erotic desire.

In this respect, clinical practice confronts us with several paradoxes.

It should be noted in particular that not all subjects suffering from a depressed state suffer from a fall in erotic desire at the same time. Not only are there patients who, to their surprise, feel animated by a particular sexual arousal, in itself inexplicable, but it is even few, it is true that, under the influence of suicidal impulses, in come to imagine ending their days by indulging in "orgasmic excesses".

On the other hand, we are forced to note that in many cases, in addition to their beneficial effect on depression itself, antidepressants and in particular serotoninergic, these so-called antidepressants of the new generation often have the effect of libido.

We are not unaware that some of these antidepressants induce a reduction in the sensitivity of the ejaculatory reflex and therefore allow to control premature ejaculation. We have also found that they are effective as analgesics, if only because of the well-known analgesic effect of serotonin that they potentiate.

Clinical Outlook

It is not uncommon for sex that is supposed to be satisfying since it culminates in orgasm and generates acute depressive manifestations, even suicidal impulses. Although the manifestations in question do not always take the form of depression in the strict sense of the term, hypochondriacal discomforts or anxiety attacks that sometimes characterize them can be understood as a pathological amplification of the feeling of sadness or exhaustion. postcoital. A rather normal feeling in itself, to which the literary world makes abundant reference.

On the other hand, it is difficult to determine the part of the different organic and psycho-emotional factors in the depressive manifestations that coitus can engender. It is also difficult to establish a link between erotic experience and more complex depressive manifestations, such as postpartum depression (which is often associated with postpartum frigidity), menopausal depression and andropause depression.

Therapeutic Outlook

The first question that needs to be asked here is the reactions that we might call auto therapeutic. These reactions, which occur spontaneously in some people with depression, aim to restore a balance of mood. Even if they do not all succeed, or systematically, to restore a certain homeostasis, we know today that there are reactions of this type and it seems legitimate to think that in many cases it is thanks to them that depressive state of the subject remains latent rather than hatching and turning into major depression.

depression and sexuality

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Insofar as the sexual activity depends as much on the imaginary as on specific physical sensations, the therapist must be ready to consider the sexual disorders under the angle of a possible deficiency of the imaginary one.

As an example, remember that the dependence on paraphilic behavior is undoubtedly due to a lack of imagination. And it is because they are devoid of fantasy that the paraphilic subjects end up always adopting the same behavior which consists in putting into practice the only fantasy that they have ever been able to imagine.

With regard to depression, the question takes a different turn, since, as everyone knows, the depressed is incapable of imagining other perspectives than negative and destructive.

We have seen, moreover, that if we succeed in artificially inducing a depressive state in a paraphilic, we would presumably lead him to produce negative fantasies, capable of giving him some guilt. On the other hand, by administering testosterone to him, we would probably push him to act even more impulsively.

It should be noted that the same testosterone, administered to a subject with dysfunctional sexual disorders, has apparently no other effect than to increase his erotic imagination. Thus, it is conceivable to make a different use of the same substance depending on the situations to be treated.

As for antidepressants, which often cause a reduction in REM sleep, we know that they significantly reduce the number of spontaneous erections that occur during REM REM sleep cycles. In this sense, they cannot fail to affect the depressed who, before taking the drug, exhibited these erections in the same way as a non-depressed subject.

We can therefore legitimately hypothesize that while it produces a stimulating effect, the antidepressant should be able to act as a modulator, so as to create a general equilibrium. This is why antidepressants do not act optimally right away. It is not excluded that their side effects, frequent at the beginning of treatment, are due to this difficulty of obtaining an immediate balance between stimulating action and modulation of the said stimulation.

On the other hand, to put an end to the question of sleep, it must be emphasized that sleep deprivation or agrypnia has a beneficial effect on depression, especially because it is likely to induce a certain sexual arousal.


To return to the fundamental problem of erotic desire, with its intensity, its frequency or its absence, let us say that the erotic desire is perhaps the mark of a desire to live, quite simply. Thus, the lack of vital desire of the depressed would be equivalent to the inevitable disturbances of erotic desire in the carriers of sexual disorders.

The conceptual whole that emerges from these few reflections may seem rather confused and at first sight devoid of any clinical utility, yet it is not excluded that the confrontation between mood disorders, understood in their depressive structure, and sexual dysfunction, considered in terms of dysfunction, is ultimately beneficial, if only for heuristic reasons.

In other words, under the bushy and complicated outside, this type of confrontation may, in this case, open the way to a better understanding of depression and sexual disorders.

depression and sexuality

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