The Mighty Logo

The 'Embarrassing' Way Depression Affects My Sex Life

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

It’s February – the season of love. There is Valentine’s Day, where it seems like there is so much pressure to look, feel or be “sexy.” This is when the aggressive lingerie campaigns come out. So, I’d like to talk about a sort of “taboo” topic — sex. When I am depressed, that last thing I want to do is be sexually active. It is not because of anything my partner does, it is just because I am so tired. I also feel like there are expectations that I need to meet to keep a good sexual relationship and it makes me feel so guilty.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and just insult myself and point out everything I hate about myself. I have to keep reminding myself that it is the depression talking, not me. When I am feeling that way, the last thing I want to do is show myself to anyone else. I get so nervous and timid. I have been with my husband for eight years and he knows me better than anyone. Even then, I am embarrassed or uneasy.

The hardest part about not wanting to have sex because of my depression is how that affects my husband and his confidence. If I seem uninterested, it hurts him. It is a struggle to try to explain that it is not his fault in any way, shape or form — but it is mine. He is attractive to me. I love everything about him – I just cannot always show it through sex and sometimes that is hard for him to understand. I feel as though there are unmet expectations about our sex life and it hurts me to know I am the reason why. I find sex hard (sometimes, not all the time) and I find it even harder to explain to my husband that it is nothing personal. But how can he understand when it feels so personal?

I really struggle with how to describe this problem. I can never find the right words. I feel like I use depression as a reason to not do something, but I know it is more than that. I know why I can try so hard and feel unsexy. The biggest problem is explaining this concept to people who just cannot understand. There is such a stigma around talking about sex that I feel it is very important to address it from different points of view. I know everyone struggles with sex because it is not always easy, and I would love to hear other people’s points of views as well. I know it is not only people with depression who struggle but that is the only point of view I can speak to.

I can be so attracted to my husband but feel so unattractive to myself. I am really trying to learn that best way to improve this part of my marriage. If sex is a part of a healthy marriage, why is it so hard sometimes?

Unsplash photo Toa Heftiba

Originally published: February 23, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home