Are antidepressants like chemical castration?
DISCLAIMER: In the following, I'm going to go into detail about my personal experience with anti-depressants and sex. These drugs effect everyone differently, but I'm opening a discussion because I think it's something that needs to be said, however if this sort of candidness affects your sensibilities, feel free to turn back now.
Okay, so let's get into this.
When I first started seeing my boyfriend I was not on medication, my libido was sky-high and I felt like I wanted to have sex quite often. Not as often as most people, 'cos that's just the way I am, but I enjoyed the prospect of the act. The summer before I met him and after a pretty serious break-up that left me wounded, I went wild. And the first year of my current relationship we couldn't keep our hands off each other.
But then I started taking anti-depressents to stop me being suicidal...
For about two and a half years I've found myself without any carnal desires whatsoever. It's something we don't talk about. It's something that wasn't mentioned to me the first time they were prescribed to me. The possible side-effects are touted to us by GP's if we're lucky:
Inability to ejaculate
Loss of libido
Or, if your doctor doesn't embarrass easily, you might get asked how your sexlife is going. As my psychiatrist said:
"I don't need the details, but is everything still working?".... (I miss Dr. Zalesky)
Yes I can still get an erection and, yes if I really want to and work hard (pardon the shit pun) at it, I can ejaculate. A lot of guys wouldn't complain at being able to last longer, but sometimes I just can't get there. It can take, like, thirty minutes to an hour sometimes (it stops being fun after 20 minutes). This leaves me sad and the boyfriend guilty because he couldn't do anything to help.
Does this help my mood? Nope. Would I be better off without the meds and an active sex-life? Nope. Do I want to be rid of the meds one day? Yes. Will that be tomorrow? No.
This situation has gotten steadily worse, but, since it's a case of necessity, I think it's important to point out that if I wasn't with someone who has their own needs, I probably wouldn't mind, but I am and without desire, how am I supposed to cater to those needs?
I wonder how many men (because I can only talk from a male perspective) essentially end up chemically castrated by their medication? I also wonder how many men decide not to take their meds as they prefer to have an active sex-life, only to become ill or even suicidal?
We're so busy trying to be strong, to keep things to ourselves and there's no doubt in my head that if we tried to open a dialogue, many more people would feel like they could talk. So I'm taking that step to open a dialogue, I need this to be put to people, so I'll try my best to do so, I'm not embarrassed to talk about it, neither should you be.
I ask myself all the time whether a blanced sense of self is worth missing out on my crazy happy days (followed by weeks of depression) and a sex-drive that is normal... The obvious answer is NO. I can't trade the relatively stable mental health I have now for those things. that would be silly. Wouldn't it?
Well I'm going to explore this idea further, so I'll get back to you.