Mid 20's drop in libido: Care Warning... - Mental Health Sup...

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Mid 20's drop in libido

PeaPuddling
PeaPuddling

Care Warning for younger eyes: Contains talk of sexual relations.

Okay, so this is not something I would normally share but it's beginning to have an affect on my relationship and I wondered if anyone else has experience with this or advice?

I've had a troubled past, an abusive mum, I ran away from home at 16, I was homeless at 19 and have struggled a lot with anxiety and depression for a number of years. I started to take sertaline about a year ago after a toxic work relationship with my previous boss triggered me into a deeper depression. I think it's been about since then that I have lost sexual interest. Occasionally the mood suits and it's great, I enjoy it and me and my partner love each other very much, we have been together for 6 years now and are engaged.

I'm currently working really hard at coming off the antidepressants and introducing positive, healthy habits to help me cope with low days, and that is the forefront of my focus currently.

I'm really skirting around the issue here as it makes me feel uncomfortable being so public, so i'm just going to put it out there - my partner is not happy with the current state of our sex life. We have always had great sex, and he has a high libido for sure, but recently he says that he feels as though his feelings and lust for me don't matter anymore and that he feels left to deal with his own urges - I'd just like to say, as text doesn't really get a tone, that he is a wonderful guy and has dealt with a lot of my issues, always there for me and truly loves me.

I suppose I really want to know if this is normal for someone like me that has had a rocky start in life and taking anti depressants, will my libido come back eventually? How can I approach this chat with my partner without upsetting either of us too much and giving us a way forwards?

If you've gotten to the bottom, thank you for taking the time to read my post. Should probably add that i'm female and 25 years old.

15 Replies
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Hi well done for taking steps to get yourself better and off the ad's. I know some ad's can affect your libedo so maybe when you stop them it will come back? I would tell your partner this and thus give him hope for the sexual side of your relationship.

The other thing I think is important is to recognise that everyone has a different sex drive and it may be that his is higher than yours, in which case you are both going to have to come to a compromise. This is true with most couples. x

Hi Hypercat54, thanks for responding. I agree, he definitely has always had a higher drive than me but recently he has had his drive and (on the metaphor of driving) I am in limp mode!

I am hoping that reducing and ultimately stopping the ADs will help me to feel more in tune with my body and wants/needs.

Anti Depressants can cause various problems in the bed, hopefully coming of the drugs will revert you back towards earlier days

Relationships over an extended period can have problems with Libido, as you become more knowing of your Partner etc.

If you are still affected by low mood, Depression, Anxiety this can cause further problems so hopefully given time you will revert to your own old ways in the bedroom.

One way forward is talking out your concerns and expectations, many people seem to eventually loose their sex drive as they also get older, you know how you feel Talk. We all change as we proceed through the relationships you will be no different.

BOB

Hi Bob, thank you for responding. Oh yes, we have definitely had a decrease over the years but nothing major. We just went from the honeymoon can't keep our hands off each other to what I would call a healthy sex life, which I know is perfectly normal.

We are very open with each other and don't keep any secrets, honesty is best in our view, but the topic makes me feel very guilty.

Can I first just say, this was obviously something uncomfortable for you to share and I think it’s really brave of you to share but also nothing to be ashamed of.

As others have said, this can be a common side effect of medication, including antidepressants, and it may be that as you come off of the medication, it improves. It could be that a change in medication, if you are not fully ready to come off of the antidepressants, could also help - something to talk to your doctor about.

From what you’ve said, your partner sounds supportive of you, maybe you should just be upfront with him?

Explain you do love him/are attracted to him etc. You do want to have a good sexual relationship with him but for some reason, that’s nothing to do with him, you’ve lost interest in sexual interactions. Let him know you don’t want things to be like this, you’re not entirely sure why it is and are keen to explore ways to help this side of your relationship improve. Have you said to him you’re wondering if it’s the depression and/or medication?

This is a tricky situation and he probably needs some reassurance that it isn’t because of him. Hopefully you can find some sort of compromise between you.

You don’t have to tell me the answer to this question, but just something to consider as you say sometimes you are in the mood and it’s great. Do you notice the time of the month effects your sexual interest? It’s very common for women to have a higher/lower sex drive at different times of the month as hormone levels fluctuate etc Maybe this could be playing a part?

Hi Eleanor Rose, thank you for responding to me.

I don't mind answering your question - I definitely used to notice a spike in my drive around the time of my periods, but since taking the ADs this isn't the case anymore, I mostly just focus on getting through the days and trying to get enough sleep!

I'm pleased to have read your comment as this is what i've been trying to do, keep the communication as open as possible and make sure that he knows i still love him crazy amounts and this issue lies with my current circumstances and not because of him. It's comforting to know that I have taken a considerate step that others would advise :)

Could very possibly be a side effect of SSRI medication.

Coming off the medication may well make a difference, but some people are reporting long term sexual dysfunction from SSRI use even after stopping. I was quite recently prescribed SSRIs, and my doctor said zero about the issue. So people don't seem to be even warned about it.

PeaPuddling
PeaPuddling in reply to _Alex_

Hi Alex, no I didn't have any warning about it either. I wasn't even sure what SSRI meant but thanks to the Mind website I'ma little more clued up now!

Firstly well done for all the progress you are making, it's fantastic that you are taking control and reducing your meds.

Libido, or lack of it is a really common side effect of any psych meds, I'm sure there are chemical explanations, but personally I haven't a clue why, but that just seems to be the way it goes. I do know that it's worth your talking to your doctor about it, as there may well be things that they can offer to help you (Viagra, therapies etc.). It might also be worth having an open and honest conversation with your partner, can he help more; spend more time helping to get you in the mood, trying new things, toys, gels etc.?

I might get a lot of negativity in relation to what I say next, but, if it's a case of you just don't feel in the mood, and experience little physical pleasure, could you make love anyway? My husband and I have experienced periods when my libido has literally shut down, but whilst I sexually had no urges at all, and little sensation, with the help of some lubricant, I have gained (emotional), pleasure in simply giving my husband pleasure.

The most important thing of all though is retaining those open lines of communication, don't avoid the subject, and above all make it clear that your lack of libido has nothing to do with how much you love your partner. Open conversation is the key here!

PeaPuddling
PeaPuddling in reply to Bonkersy

Hi Bonkersy, thank you for responding. Yes, that's something I have done before now - he's been giving me the sexy eyes and internally i'm thinking 'really couldn't feel less like sex right now' but then when we're doing it, it's kinda like 'Oh, there it is!' and i'm pleased we have. I think sometimes he struggles with the fact that it's always him initiating it, but i really don't know what to do about that right now.

Definitely doing what i can to let him know how much I love him and that it's not because of anything with him, it's my issue that we're working through together.

Firstly well done for having the bravery to share this difficult experience.

I can’t comment on the meds as I haven’t got experience in that department but I can relate in the emotional side for both you and your partner. Having been in an emotionally abusive relationship early in my life followed by a marriage where my husbands sex drive was none existent, I feel like I can relate to this and hope that I can express it in a way that makes sense because I’m not so good at that!

For you; don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Libido can drop further when you are conscious that you aren’t feeling what you “should” feel and that makes it worse. You are doing so well at coming off the meds that that should be your main focus, yes your partner may feel a bit put out by that but this is about you right now. Stop pressuring yourself to be a sex goddess at the same time! If we aren’t feeling 100% in ourselves it can effect our bedroom life and that isn’t a bad reflection on you, it’s a natural thing. And as others have stated, sometimes we just aren’t in the mood :)

For your partner: he sounds very supportive and that’s great, but alongside there may be a difference in your sex drives (if that’s it) have you spoken to him about it not being him? And reassured him that this is not about him? Due to my past, if I make an advance at my partner and he isn’t in the mood it used to result in a full scale meltdown for me and I withdraw completely believing I was unattractive/unsexy/unloved etc not that it was simply because he’d had other things on mind or whatever and it’s taken a lot of patience on his half to help me understand that sex isn’t love and if we don’t have sex it doesn’t mean he is going anywhere. It’s a massive insecurity in me and maybe whilst your partner is fully supportive and lovely, there may be a part of him that is scared he will lose you if you aren’t having sex, which is then heightened by the fact you really don’t want it at the moment? Just a thought but that is something that could be a discussion?

Wishing you so much luck on this, just know you are a goddess and you will get back to you when the time is right for you

Hi BeingDifferentIsFab, I love your pseudo name!

I think he is has been worrying that I don't find him attractive anymore, he's turning 30 next year and i think that's playing on his mind a lot too, along with the lack of bedroom fun it's making him feel old. I've always told him how i love that he is older and we joke that i'll forever keep him young being 4 years his junior, but still, the mind warps our views and feelings doesn't it!

Thank you for the luck, I just want to feel like a 'normal' 25 yo and happy in the relationship that gives me no reason to be unhappy. I've spent so much of my life in fight/flight mode that I've finally got the calm, happy surroundings i've always wished for - I can understand why the emotions have gotten to me now that i've settled but it'd be nice to be able to just enjoy the happiness instead of the old emotional baggage!

Thank you all so much for your comments, you've really helped me to know that it's not something i can control entirely, and it is definitely motivating to work hard at getting of the AD's!

Very grateful that you all took time out of your day to help me out :) I hope you all have fantastic days!

Hi, some great answers given already and i can’t add much else but just to say you’re not alone- could have written this myself! I am 27 we’ve been together 6 years too and having the same difficulties since I started Citalopram nearly 2 years ago. The only additional advice I can give is what I’ve found helps me is to be the one to initiate things. It’s not a regular occurrence (maybe a couple of times month if I’m being completely honest) but I find that if I do this when I am feeling as well as I get currently, it removes the element of me feeling pressured or him feeling unwanted and means that the intimacy we DO share feels positive and not forced. I have also said to my partner to please tell me kindly but in no uncertain terms if he is feeling sexually frustrated in a way that is affecting his mood or mindset, because I am so absorbed with keeping afloat most of the time that it just doesn’t even occur to me at all. I hope this might be helpful and hang in there xx

Hi Paranoidcherry,

'I am so absorbed with keeping afloat most of the time that it just doesn't even occur to me at all' - This is me for sure!

Great advice thank you, I think i need to be making more effort with it, perhaps even when the mood isn't quite there. I really love my fiance, he's been my support since day 1 and is always there for me, he deserves to be treated well and I want to give him the intimacy he's craving.

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