Category Archives: Antidepressants

How to Have a Sex Life on Antidepressants

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When quitting isn’t an option, is it possible to overcome the sexual side effects that come with an SSRI?

By Shannon Holcroft

So, you’ve finally filled the antidepressant prescription that’s been acting as a bookmark for the most recent novel you’re feigning interest in. Somewhere between missing your own birthday party and watching everyone else have fun without you, you gave in. After a few medicated weeks, things are starting to look up. Except for your sex life, that is.

Just last week, you were tied to a kitchen chair enjoying an amazing (albeit rather mournful) few minutes of escape through sex. Today, getting naked seems less appealing than all the other pressing tasks you have new-found energy to complete.

“Is it the meds, or is it just me?” you wonder as you deep-clean the fridge with new vigour. After some soul-searching, it becomes clear that you’re still the same person—just with fewer festering foodstuffs and a lot less crying.

“It must be a side effect,” you decide. But months after filling your prescription, your genitals are still giving you the physiological equivalent of 8d2cc2c1a43108301b149f7f33e1664d.png

Why Antidepressants May Be a Downer for Your Sex Life

“[Sexual dysfunction] is a difficult, frustrating, and very common issue with this class of medications,” says Jean Kim, M.D., clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at George Washington University.

Twelve percent of American adults reported filling an antidepressant prescription in the most recent Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Not just for clinical depression, but for all kinds of off-label conditions like chronic pain and insomnia.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant class. And between 30 percent and 50 percent of individuals taking SSRIs experience sexual dysfunction. Desire, arousal and orgasm may be affected by changes in function of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine; the very mechanisms through which SSRIs treat depression.

How to Work Around the Side Effects

When fighting to survive a potentially fatal mental illness, there are often more important concerns than getting it on. It’s frequently not an option to stop taking life-saving medication to avoid side effects. So what’s a sexual being to do?

Despite SSRIs being pretty pedestrian, there’s no concrete answer to addressing sexual side effects. “Unfortunately, not much is reliably effective to deal with this [sexual dysfunction],” Dr. Kim notes.

This may sound pretty gloomy, but there are plenty of things you can try to bring sexy times back around. “Don’t hesitate to bring up the issue with your prescribing clinician, as there might be some helpful interventions available,” says Dr. Kim.

Here are other ways to work around the sexual side effects of antidepressants:

1. Time It Right

“Some literature advises trying to have sexual activity when the serum level of a daily antidepressant might be lowest in the bloodstream,” says Dr. Kim. In other words, the ideal time to get it on is right before you take your next daily dose.

If your dosing schedule makes it tough to pencil in sexual activities, chat with your clinician about changing the time of day you take your meds. In many cases, there’s room for flexibility.

“This would not work much with some SSRIs that have a longer half-life like fluoxetine (Prozac),” Dr. Kim adds. Those taking antidepressants that exit the body quickly, like Paxil and Zoloft, could be in luck.

2. Switch It Up

Switching to a different medication, with the support of your prescribing clinician, may make all the difference. Certain antidepressants have a greater incidence of sexual side effects than others. Commonly prescribed SSRIs associated with a high frequency of sexual dysfunction include paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft) and fluoxetine (Prozac).

Besides exploring the SSRI class, venturing into atypical antidepressant territory is another option. Buproprion (Wellbutrin) is an atypical antidepressant observed to present the lowest sexual side-effect profile of all antidepressants.

It may take some trial and error, mixing and matching to identify what works best for you, but it will all be worth it when you can [insert favorite sex act here] to your heart’s content again.

3. Augment

Some treatment add-ons may act as antidotes to SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. “Supplementing with other medications that have serotonin blocking effects (like cyproheptadine [Peritol] or buspirone [Buspar]) or enhance other neurotransmitters like dopamine (like Wellbutrin) might help,” says Dr. Kim. She is quick to note that these findings are yet be confirmed by “larger-scale randomized controlled clinical trials.”

“Another common strategy is to prescribe erectile dysfunction drugs like sildenafil (Viagra) and the like for as-needed use before activity,” says Dr. Kim. Viagra has been found to reduce sexual side effects, even if you’re not in possession of a penis. In Dr. Kim’s clinical experience, “[Viagra] seems to help in more than a few cases.” Discuss with your doctor before adding any more medications to the mix.

4. Exercise

Now’s the time to take up aquacycling, indoor surfing sans water or whatever fitness fad tickles your fancy. Keeping active could be the key to preventing sexual dysfunction caused by SSRIs.

“Sometimes sexual dysfunction is not just a primary SSRI drug side effect but part of underlying depression/anxiety as well,” Dr. Kim explains. “Anything that helps enhance overall blood circulation, mood and libido might be helpful, such as exercise.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Early Spring 2014 Q&A Show — Podcast #413 — 03/31/14

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Hey sex fans,rifleman

After a spate of marvelous interview shows, it’s time to turn our attention to the sexually worrisome in our audience. I have a swell Q&A show in store for you today, which just so happens to be our last podcast before our annual spring break. Each of my correspondents is eager to share his or her sex and relationship concerns with us. And I will do my level best to make my responses informative, enriching and maybe even a little entertaining. And I think there will be enough time for us to do some sex science too. So please stay tuned, you won’t want to miss this.

  • Kennedy, Jim, and Ronald’s lives are being fucked up by meth.
  • Sam wants to know about and share some information about penis pumps.
  • Rebecca has a heartbreaking story to tell of the last days before her husband of 46 years died.
  • Tracy asks about babies and gender. So you know it’s time for some Sex Science.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Reviews.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

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You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’

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Name: Heather
Gender: Female
Age: 36
Location: USA
I have been married for 10 years. I told my husband 6 years ago that I was not physically attracted to him anymore. I stopped wanting sex from him, because he just turned me off. No matter what he does — cleaning, cooking, running me a bath, eat me and so on but nothing works. I start to get wet and as soon as he gets started but I dry up like a prune what should I do? I have not had good sex in a long time.

Well, if you’re not attracted to him anymore, you’re not attracted to him anymore…plain and simple. But what I don’t get is, how come you’re old man is still hangs in there after six years of disinterest on your part? Is he some kind of glutton for punishment?he & she hips

If I was your long-suffering hubby and I was doin all this stuff, including cooking, cleaning and eatin’ out your pussy, I’d sure as hell demand an explanation for your attitude change. Of course, maybe he likes being the doormat. Some men really get off on being dominated and treated like shit. Is that why you are no longer into him, because he’s behaving like an emasculated pussy?

Or is there something else he’s done that has put you off? Did he gain weight? Does he not attend to his personal hygiene? Did he become a Republican? Ya know, things like that. If it is something he’s done or failed to do and he can change his behavior to better suit you, maybe you oughta clue him in on this.

haven't had sex in a whileHowever, if it’s not something he’s done or failed to do, but it’s you. Then he needs to know that too. You did say that you dry up like a prune. Are you using lube with your penetrative sex? Perhaps it’s your libido that’s gone south, not his relative attractiveness? Sometimes women get these two things confused. And there are any number of things that can mess up the arousal phase of your sexual response cycle.

Do you have sexual fantasies? Do you masturbate? Are horny for anyone else — either real or imagined? How’s your health? Are you on birth control? Are you depressed? Sleep deprived? Are you putting on the pounds? Could you be experiencing early-onset menopause? As you can see, there are innumerable reasons for a decrease in libido.

At any rate, Heather, you really need to get to the bottom of this, and soon, six years is a mighty long time to live like this. I’d look for a sex-positive therapist to connect with, if I were you. Clearly, you’ve been unable, in six years, to discern the cause of your attitude change on your own. It’s irresponsible to continue to drift with the status quo.

Good luck

Name: Pete
Gender: Male
Age: 33
Location: Florida
I’ve noticed that some of the skin on my dick is starting to wear away from me masturbating…there is no blood or anything like that. Just the skin turning light in color around head of my dick. I think it’s my grip. Is there a way the color will come back or have I rubbed the skin cells to death. I masturbate about 3-4 times a week. I’m not in a relationship and prefer masturbation over random sex.

Your dick skin is wearing away??? Really? What are you handling your unit with, darlin’, sandpaper?

You say you think it’s your grip. Ya think? Hey Pete, are you using lube when you stroke? Or are you just yanking away down there with wild abandon using a dry hand? If you’re not using a good jack off lube like, Spunk Lube then ya better start right away! This stuff is also great for use with condoms.jeans 1

As to the rather sudden coloration change on your dick, I’d be willing to guess that it has nothing to do with jerkin’ off, even like a maniac. More likely it’s a genetic condition known as vitiligo. And the coloration change is actually a loss in pigment. This is not a health concern. Really! Nor is it contagious. So you don’t have to worry about it in that regard. If it is indeed vitiligo, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s irreversible, but it can and does spread.

Here’s a relatively easy way to self-diagnose this pesky, but benign condition. While naked as a jaybird, squat over a mirror. If what you have is vitiligo, you will also see the same kind of color changes (or more properly — loss of pigment) around your asshole. You may also notice it on your elbows and knees. If you are fair-skinned, the loss of pigment will be less noticeable then if you have a darker complexion.

If it’s not vitiligo, you might consider a check up with your physician. But I pretty much can guarantee you that unless you are absolutely ruthless in your masturbation technique, manhandling yourself is not the cause of the color change on your joystick.

Good luck

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Starting Over

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Name: LD
Gender: Male
Age: 38
Location: Atlanta
How do you jump back into the game when your partner passed away suddenly? Getting really horny but its still awkward to actually do it.

Good question, LD. You say you’re feeling awkward. Why exactly? Is it because you’re out of practice with the whole dating thing? Are you concerned that people might think you’re jumping the gun, trying to get back into the game before your partner is cold in the grave? People can be pretty heartless about this. Or, is your awkwardness associated with your grief?

Grief has a profound effect on every aspect of our lives. Yet there is hardly any literature on the effects grief has on our sexuality. To my mind, grief is the leading causes of sexual dysfunction for those who have experienced the death of a partner.

Allow me a bit of time here for one of my pet spiels. Healing and helping professionals often misdiagnose grief. I want to make one thing clear, grief is not depression. Treating grief with an antidepressant is counterproductive. It can actually take away the impetus to resolve the grief and get on the rest of one’s life.

Making sure that you have processed your grief may eliminate some of your awkwardness you are currently experiencing. This is something I’m pretty familiar with. A good portion of my private practice is with sick, elder and dying people and their friends and family who survive them. I know the impact a terminal illness and dying process can have on the surviving spouse or partner. We often go into survival mode, shutting down so much of ourselves in an effort to have the strength to cope with this life-altering experience. Of course, trying to kick-start our life afterwards is often a monumental effort. Without the support and guidance of a professional or a group of similarly challenged people, some of us just sink to the lowest common denominator.

I believe in the resilience of the human spirit. I believe that we can honor our dead and continue to live and love. It sounds to me like you have a desire to get on with your life, LD, to fill the void, to make new connections, but you simply don’t know how. Acknowledging that fact is a real good place to begin.

Perhaps you could start by reawakening your sexuality through self-pleasuring. Reconnect with your body and the joy it can bring you. Reestablishing a social life will no doubt follow, slowly at first. But the inevitable tug of the need for human-to-human contact will draw you, if you let it. Remember the best testament to those who have died is to continue to celebrate life itself.

Allow me to draw your attention to my latest book, The Amateur’s Guide To Death And Dying; Enhancing The End Of Life. Actually it’s more of a workbook then a text and while its primarily target are those currently facing their mortality it’s not exclusively for them. Concerned family and friends, healing and helping professionals, lawyers, clergy, teachers, students, and those grieving a death will all benefit from participating in the interactive environment the book provides.

Of special interest to you will be Chapter 6, Don’t Stop. My good friend and colleague, Dr Cheryl Cohen Greene, joins me in presenting this chapter on sex and intimacy concerns. Like I said above, there is a dearth of information about this timely topic for sick, elder and dying people as well as those who are grieving. So I am delighted that my book helps break this deafening silence.

I hope you take the time to write back, LD. I’d very much like to keep tabs on how you are doing.

Good luck

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A Labor of Love Q&A Show — Podcast #228 — 09/06/10

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Hey sex fans,

It’s another holiday weekend here in the good old USofA. And despite the fact that so many of you are enjoying a well-deserved break from your labors; I am at my post here in front of this blasted microphone. I took a break from podcasting the past couple weeks so that I could work on the redesign of my sites. And of course, I gotta catch up on all the questions that have been piling up since our last Q&A session back in early July. There is no rest for the wicked!

Before we get to today’s questions, I want to call your attention to the new redesign of my two primary websites — drdicksexadvice.com and drdicksextoyreviews.com.

As you’ve probably noticed, both sites now mirror one another, at least in terms of presentation and functionality. The old blog format is out; and a brand-spankin-new magazine format is in. Everything is bright, cheery, clean and sleek. All the functions of the old sites — search-ability, the Links, the Categories, the Sponsors and the Tags are still in place. But the new magazine format allows visitors to quickly scan a thumbnail image and a blurb for each posting without having to scroll through the whole blasted posting to get to the next one. There is also a Headline posting and a handful of Featured postings. Now you can see several weeks of postings by just scrolling down a page.

There are other new features too. I decided to use a bunch of icons — a blue heart for Donate to Dr. Dick; a blue envelope for Ask an Anonymous Sex Question; and a blue telephone icon for the Toll Free — Voicemail — HOTLINE. There is a blue movie projector icon that designates the presence of a video in the posting. And Special Announcements are designated by a red and white “special announcement” icon.

The top navigation has been simplified too. You can toggle between the two sites effortlessly. If you are on the ADVICE site, click on Toy Reviews in the header. If you are on the REVIEW site, click on Sex Advice With An Edge. It’s that simple.

Dr Dick’s Stockroom and Dr Dick’s How To Video Library now have their own banner in the sidebar.

I hope you like all the new changes. And as always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Today we hear from:

  • Scott Daddy tells us about his new videos posted HERE.
  • Brennen is off his antidepressant and he’s having trouble with his wood.
  • Marcus wants to know about nipple enlargement.
  • Kimberly thinks her man might like some ass play.
  • Ali wants two more inches…guess where.
  • Jade is all hot and bothered.
  • Luke is using penis extenders and he and his wife love it.
  • Abigail wants to make her own sex toys.
  • Kevin wants to know if it’s safe to spooge on a pussy not in it.
  • Jennifer has been gettin plowed deep and heavy; now there’s a problem.
  • Craig is worried about being a dirty fuck.
  • Patrick thinks his “lace curtains” are too long.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

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