Did you know that 18.1% of the US population suffers from an anxiety disorder? Nearly half of these people will also be diagnosed with depression. With 6.7% of the population being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, which is just one form of depression.
There are a near-infinite number of discussions taking place about mental health issues, from how they can affect each aspect of our lives to the various strategies that can reduce symptoms or improve well-being.
Yet, there is one topic intertwined with mental health that often remains undiscussed – sex Jes Extender!
Mental health and sex are intricately linked. Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about how mental health issues can impact your sex life and why sex can help improve and maintain mental health.
Let’s Talk About Sex
Whether we’re talking about anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or OCD, any mental health issue can impact your sex life. When you can’t get out of bed or feel disconnected from reality, how can you possibly bring yourself to be intimate or connect with a partner?
Stress can be both a cause and side effect of many mental illnesses. The more stressed you are, the more difficult it is to relax. You’re often in a constant state of knowing you have too much to do and not enough time to do it.
Medication can also impact your sex life. It will often lower libido, cause mood swings, make it difficult to become and remain aroused, and even limit the ability to achieve orgasm. As a result, when orgasm is achieved, it can be delayed or feel weak and unsatisfactory.
The connection between mental health and sex happens primarily through neurotransmitters: chemical substances that act as messengers between a neuron and a muscle cell, gland cell, or another neuron.
An example would be dopamine, commonly referred to as the “feel-good” chemical. It plays a role in helping us feel motivated and triggering reward systems within the brain and body.
Most Neurotransmitters Have Multiple Roles.
Neurotransmitter and hormonal imbalances can occur because of medication. But they can also happen through genetic or environmental causes, and in some cases, these imbalances lead to mental illnesses. They also impact sexual behavior.
There are many neurotransmitters we could discuss concerning mental health and sex, but we’re going to focus on serotonin – commonly referred to as the “happy” chemical.
Serotonin plays a role in stabilizing our mood, producing feelings of happiness, and promoting a sense of well-being. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Whereas high serotonin levels can inhibit sexual behavior.
SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) are commonly prescribed for those suffering from anxiety and depression. They work by increasing serotonin levels within the brain, thereby reducing the mental side effects of serotonin deficiency.
Sexual Side Effects of Imbalances
Serotonin imbalances, such as those experienced as a side effect of SSRIs, can affect men and women differently. Although some common side effects impact both sexes:
- Weight gain
- Lower libido
- Feeling nauseated
Although these don’t always directly relate to sexual behavior, they can impact the desire for sexual activity. For example, weight gain can impact self-esteem and confidence, even contributing to depressive or anxious thoughts.
In men, the side effects can include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Delayed orgasm
- Decreased sperm count
In women, the side effects can include:
- Inability to naturally lubricate
- Delayed or inability to orgasm
- Sexual discomfort
The Beneficial Link Between Mental Health and Sex
The link between mental health and sex isn’t all bad, though. Sex offers some incredible benefits that can improve health and reduce the symptoms of mental illnesses. Not only that but having sex increases your libido!
Having sex can reduce stress, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and increase feelings of happiness and positivity.
But that’s not all!
Research suggests that sexual activity can have the following additional benefits:
- Allow you to feel more love and intimacy within your relationship
- Improve your ability to trust your partner
- An increased ability to express emotions
- Improve your understanding other the emotions of others
- Decrease feelings of loneliness
Steps You Can Take
Although sex can offer many health benefits, it can still be difficult to initiate any sexual behavior when struggling with a mental illness. Here are some simple steps you can take to make it seem like a more manageable goal.
#1 – Communication
It can be difficult to be open about your emotions, thoughts, and current mental state, especially if you’re also struggling with worries about sexual performance or not meeting your partner’s sexual needs.
Confiding in a trusted partner will make you feel better, but it will also help your partner understand your mind space. Allowing them to be more understanding and supportive about your current situation.
Communication also removes the possibility of your partner drawing their own conclusions for why you’re in a sexual rut. They may begin to worry that you’re losing interest in them sexually, romantically, or both. This won’t help either of your feelings towards sexual intimacy.
Being honest about any sexual dysfunctions, such as difficulty achieving orgasm, can create a space of understanding between you and your partner. Men suffering from erectile dysfunction may wish to check out this article for more information about potential solutions.
#2 – Make Time for Sex and Romance
Setting time aside for sex can help remove some of the potential stresses that you may be associating with it. Make it clear between you and your partner that there’s no pressure to have sex during this window but that the time is there for it if you’re both in the mood. It can simply be a period of intimacy with open possibilities.
Masturbation is another option as it removes any pressures related to performance or fulfilling your partner’s sexual needs. You can relax in a private space. Many of the benefits offered from sex can also be obtained via masturbation.
In a sense, you should set time aside for sexual pleasure in the same way you would for exercise, meditation, or any other activity that helps reduce the symptoms of a mental illness.
#3 – Consider Sex Therapy
Don’t be afraid to approach a sex therapist, either alone or as a couple. They are trained to help with these exact issues and can guide you (and your partner) through various strategies that may help. They can also dig into the core of any issue that may go beyond imbalances or mental health medication.
It can include problems related to ejaculation, erectile dysfunction etc. that would require proper medication and treatment. However, do not worry as treatment of such problems is easily available even from the comforts of your home. You can do so by consulting the team of experts available at the best digital healthcare platforms like Numan, where professionals would offer you the right advice to help cure the problem. You can check here for more details about the same.
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