Dear Lovehacker, My boyfriend has been on anti-depressants for about 6 months and they have improved nearly every aspect of his life. Except for one. They affect his ability to ejaculate.
We still have sex and he says that he enjoys it, but I can't help but feel like it's me. Logically I know it's the medication but it is still beginning to affect my self esteem. Going down this thought path is destructive for our relationship, but I'm not sure what to do. Thanks, L
I'm going to start by stating the obvious - I am about as far from being a medical professional as you can get. When it comes to medication and mental illness, always consult with your doctors. For that reason, I won't be recommending any kind of meds or supplements.
That aside, I've been in a similar situation before with an ex boyfriend. His antidepressants made it difficult to maintain erection and ejaculate. So I know from personal experience that it isn't a matter of simply spicing things up in the bedroom. Or on the kitchen bench. Or in inappropriate public spaces. This isn't about sexual stagnation.
There's never a blanket solution for anything, particularly when it comes to mental health. A solution for one person may be a hindrance to another. In our case, he switched to a different medication that didn't cause those issues, or diminish his sex drive.
But I understand that this is easier said than done. If your boyfriend has found a medication that brings him balance or improves other aspects of his life, it can be really tough to broach change as an option. So while I don't offer that as a definitive solution, it is something that you could discuss with each other and a doctor.
It's also worth noting that some antidepressants can lower the libido entirely, and sex isn't really a priority for some people taking them. This may be more prominent if they already had a lower libido due to depression, which can be a key indicator.
Some questions to consider - is there a lack of sexual desire in the relationship? If so, is it due to the antidepressants or their depression? Either way, it is important to discover and acknowledge this, as it may help your strategy to deal with the situation. Whether or not they care about fixing the problem is imperative.
If this is going to be an ongoing issue in your relationship, you really need to be able to talk about it openly with your partner, particularly because it's impacting on your own self esteem. Your mental health is just as important as theirs.
If you need more tools to help you both navigate the situation, don't be afraid to reach out to a relationship counsellor for help. There still seems to be a taboo around doing this, that it indicates that a relationship is failing.
This isn't true at all. If anything, it proves how committed you are to making it work. There is never any shame in that.
When it comes to all of this, make sure you approach your partner with understanding and empathy. After all, it's their brain that is being chemically messed with. At the same time, don't feel guilty for expressing your own needs and desires. You're both in this relationship and you both deserve to be happy.
Lovehacker is a weekly relationship and sex column where our resident Agony Aunt answers your questions. Need help? Drop a comment below or email [email protected].