iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Mon, 02-26-2007 - 2:35pm

I've been taking Zoloft for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, etc. for about 3 or 4 weeks now. It's the only thing I've found to work. (Wellbutrin did NOT)...
It's been helping a lot with my moods, thoughts, etc.
The problem is, it COMPLETELY screws up my sex drive with my husband. Before taking Zoloft, I was more sexual than him! I mean, I wanted sex very regularly, everyday...much more than the average girl. But in the last few weeks we've only done it twice (which has NEVER happened) and I haven't climaxed either time (that has never happened either.) I've never had a problem with this before. I love my husband and I am attracted to him, but I've found myself having to fake it the last couple times we had sex, and I hate that because I've never had to before! I just have no desire to have sex at all, it's weird. And if we DO have sex, it's impossible for me to orgasm. Should I just deal with it and have sex anyway?

I don't know what decision to make. Is it better to stay on Zoloft and feel more mentally healthy, or is it better to get off and have a more healthy sex life with my husband? I definitely don't want this to affect my marriage. I would rather just deal with my anxiety another way because this sucks. Any suggestions? Please help!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2002
Mon, 02-26-2007 - 6:16pm

Welcome to the board. I can tell you from personal past experience that antidepressants are a bi$%ch. But if as you say you were very sexual before than you can overcome its this area of the effects. Antidepressant effect you in a way that kind of make you less sensitive to the stimuli that normally would trigger arousal in you. What this means is that you will have to work a little harder in the mental area. That is you may have to take time out during the day to sort of prime yourself. Take a few minutes to look back on favorable sexual experiences. Maybe that special session you and SO had in a park once or the mind blowing orgasm you had a couple of months ago. Something you really enjoyed. Next when you do have sex it will require that your SO give you added attention /foreplay. This could include a little romantic talk about those times a little extra fondling cuddling and stimulation. Erotica or movies something that can get your mental juices flowing as well as you physical ones. You should put off having intercourse until you are almost ready to orgasm. This could be assisted via the use of a toy.

Take your time, be patient and most of all try to have fun!!


Where there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage. Benjamin Franklin
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2003
Mon, 02-26-2007 - 9:07pm

Dirty has some good suggestions, but unfortunately anorgasma and loss of libido are actual biological side effects of many antidepressants that often cannot be countered well mentally--it's one reason they are sometimes prescribed for men with rapid ejaculation issues. I definitely suggest you give what he says a try, but also consider some of these:

--Talk with your doctor. There are a LOT of antidepressants out there, and another one may not have the same side effects for you. Wellbutrin, for example, has a far lower rate of sexual side effects than SSRIs. Also, Wellbutrin can sometimes be added to your current AD to help counteract negative side effects. Prozac has one of the highest rates of sexual side effects of any SSRI, so if you can successfully switch to something else, you may solve your problem.

--Talk with your doctor about "drug vacations," in which you go off of your ADs for 1-3 days at a time. In many patients, this allows for a return of the sex drive & orgasmic ability without the return of the symptoms of depression.

--Consider dosage. Ideally, you want to be on your lowest effective dose of ADs. Your doctor should start attempting to lower your dose after several week to find that range, and this often help alleviate sexual side effects. Therapy has been shown to improve AD efficacy, and may help you in lowering your overall dosage.

--Give it time. Sometimes, these side effects go away on their own.

--Consider other alternatives to ADs. There is a lot of good research available on 5-htp and SAMe, both of which are prescription ADs in other countries. Most docs here don't know much about them because they are technically classed as an "herbal supplement," which is something of a misnomer. 5-htp in particular is one of the most prescribed ADs in many other countries, but because it is not FDA regulated here due to it's class, it's often passed over by docs in favor of "drugs." Both 5-htp and SAMe have very few side effects, and almost no sexual side effects. They have been shown in double-blind placebo studies to be as effective or more effective than SSRIs. Do some research on this, and consider taking it to your doctor. DO NOT go off your current AD without doctor supervision. ADs are addictive, and you will likely experience symptoms of withdrawal. Your doctor will likely need to be educated on any material relating to these drugs, so print it off and take it in. For 5-htp, you need to make sure you take a multi-vitamin containing Niacin to prevent liver damage, and the b class vitamins to help with absorbtion. Also, always make sure to get your supplements from a reputable source.

--High doses of pharmacy-grade fish oil have been shown to reduce (and often eliminate) depression, allowing for smaller dosages of meds and/or complete removal from ADs. Get the pharmacy grade, or you'll have fish breath. I'd have to look again, but the dose is something like 2-3 times the RDA. You should be able to find it on the web.

--Another alternative is cognitive behavior therapy, which works differently than phsycotherapy, etc. It is used very effectively, and treatment often lasts only a few months. It can be initially combined with drug therapy, or used to replace it; but, it has a good long-term success rate. Only a cognitive therapist can tell you if this is right for you, but it is often covered by insurance. As a note, I am not a therapist of any kind. I can tell you that I have many friends in the field, and there is a good amount of animosity between practitioners of different theories. My advice is to interview several therapists from different fields and find what is best for you.

--Therapeutic management. This may also be an alternative for you, but takes a good bit of work. It usually involves an initial round of ADs to get things going, during which time you are evaluated for other things. A full physical will rule out things like hormone imbalances (testosterone and estrogen imbalances can cause depression, and fixing them will fix the depression, for example), thyroid issues and the like. You'll be given a recommendation for any medical or psychological issues that need to be addressed, as well as a diet and excersize plan to follow (this often includes both hard workouts and stress-relieving, balancing things like yoga). Then, you'll be weaned off your meds as these things are ramped up. Diet can play a very large role in our mental state, as proven with autistics and Asperger's patients, as well as those with ADD & ADHD. It's very successful, but it's expensive and time consuming. Many insurance plans don't cover some of the dietary and fitness evaluations, though most will cover the physical and psych ones. It's also often difficult to find therapists who do this, so it may not be a good option for you; but, wanted to give you all the ones I knew.

My ex-husband had Asperger's, and I have several friends in the psych and psych medicine fields; so, I've got a lot of random info on this stuff. Hope something helps!

Avatar for cl_elyse449
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-20-2006
Wed, 02-28-2007 - 6:11pm

Hi j_blondie,

I wanted to applaud you for seeking out the help. Stick with it and DO NOT give up, your health is first and foremost and I think were you to ask your dh, he'd agree. Does he attend ANY of your doctor appts with you? It may be helpful to have him there so that he can better understand what all this MEANS and what all these pills actually DO...and possible side effects. Having him be apart of your care would be truly helpful.

The most important thing right now is that you get well. If the side effects become troublesome, speak to your doctor FIRST. Do not stop taking your meds. Call your doctor and see what other options are available. I understand how frustrating it may be, but you're dealing with bonafied health issues--and IMHO, treatment of them isn't optional, it's a must. As long as you have a compassionate, understanding, patient husband I don't think I'd worry about this effecting your marriage. Not receiving treatment would not only adversely effect your marriage, but your other relationships as well--so keep up the good work there and talk to your doctor. I'm sure there are some things worth considering that your doctor can go over with you. Those are

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Wed, 02-28-2007 - 10:47pm
I want to thank you guys for your replies and the great advice. My husband is very understanding and patient and he sees the improvement the meds have on my mood and life in general, so I'm sure we will be fine. He actually doesn't even mention that our sex life has changed quite a bit because he knows of the side effects. It's me flipping out, not him. Anyway, I just wanted to say I appreciate you all and the time you took to write me back. :)
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-09-2006
Wed, 03-07-2007 - 4:38pm
I take hydroxyzine for my anxiety & it doesn't affect my sex drive as far as I can tell...fyi
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-2006
Thu, 03-08-2007 - 12:47am

Definitely talk to your doctor about seeing if there might be other anti-depressants. They are definitely NOT all created equal. It took me three tries -- the first 2 had some nasty side effects. Now I'm on Celaxa and it works very well for me. So talk with your doctor and see if you could try something else and see if you get the same relief without the sex drive side effect.