If you had to choose between sex or being happy ever again…what would you choose?
Well, according to an article in this month’s issue of Vogue (“Tough Love” by Elizabeth Weil), more and more women are choosing happiness over their love life.
Antidepressants are the #1 most commonly meds prescribed for Americans who are between the ages of 18-44; and although many of those individuals are benefiting from the chemical boost that antidepressants can provide in their lives, they may be sacrificing their libido to get there.
“By far the most frequent reason women have sexual problems is the drugs we use give them to treat depression,” Leonard R. Derogatis, Ph.D. and director of the Maryland Center for Sexual Health, is quoted as saying in the article. In fact, almost 1/3 of women taking antidepressants find that their sex drive is diminished as a result.
It works a little something like this:
Many doctors prescribe antidepressants that work by increasing the chemical serotonin (a happy mood stabilizer) in the brain. While this is all well and good for the people that use antidepressants, the unfortunate side effect is that when serotonin is high, the brain compensates by reducing dopamine—and dopamine is necessary for arousal, attraction, and orgasms.
For women in relationships, the choice between antidepressants or their love lives can be a bitter one. On one hand, mood-stabilizing drugs can literally be lifesavers; on the other hand, the shame, guilt, and isolation associated with low libido can harm their relationships and fuel their depression even more. Although I don’t take antidepressants, I can definitely attest that a decreased libido can wreak havoc on a relationship.
And as for single women?
Taking antidepressants may affect their sexual drive so much that they may pass on a potential relationship simply because the chemicals numb their emotions too much to put forth the effort.
In short, messing with that sexual drive = messing with your entire love life.
So what’s the solution?
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution. For many women who struggle with depression, life without libido is often better than life without their medication. Some women find that exploring other ways to boost their sex drives or adjusting their medication levels helps. And although a female version of Viagra has been discussed in the pharmaceutical world, nothing is on the market just yet—and who really wants to take more medication anyways? So until then, it’s back to the drawing board.
Or in this case, back to the bedroom.
What would you do? Would you take antidepressants if it meant your love life would be affected?
Photo credit: Flickr/paul Quinn photography