Photo: Benjamin Combs

How To Increase Your Libido When You're On Antidepressants

5 ways to boost your sex drive.


Antidepressants are awesome in a lot of ways. For many, the powerful equilibrium they bring is like unscrambling a Rubik's Cube: everything seems to just slot calmly back into place, and that nasty jumble of thoughts and feelings is kept at bay. Sometimes antidepressants can be literally lifesaving. Of course, they don't work as well for everyone and they can have some pretty irritating side-effects – including fatigue, jitteriness and, you know, just not wanting to fuck, EVER.

It's arguably the catch 22 of our generation: We are more sexually liberated than ever, there's a gold mine of untapped hook-ups within our smartphones and we have a petting zoo of vibrators hanging out beneath our beds, but we're all depressed, on SSRIs and feeling like we've accidentally left our libidos behind on the Berghain dance floor. But never fear; not all hope is lost. Here are some super-useful techniques to get you back in driving seat.

Practise self-love

Your mental illness may have made you feel a little out of touch with yourself, but now you're in recovery, it's the perfect time to reconcile. Think of it as an opportunity to fall in love with yourself all over again. Give yourself compliments, pamper yourself, get back into healthy routines, and reunite with your vulva. One of the best gifts you can give to yourself is an orgasm on your own terms. You don't have to feel off-the-bat horny: start by setting aside a “me-time” window and do some exploration and experimentation – and do it regularly. There's absolutely no pressure and it's a great way to figure out what new limits your body has, how long things take and what kind of things get you going. If you've been used to masturbating with your fingers but don't feel you're getting anywhere, getting a vibrator involved might be the head start you need. Most importantly, remember that there's nothing wrong with you. There are tons of people experiencing this very common side-effect and it's completely normal.

Choose partners wisely

As we've already established, you need a little extra TLC to get you in the mood for sex. You also need time and patience. If you're having sex with someone, you need them to work with you; not some half-hearted, rushed effort from some inconsiderate fuckboi – nobody deserves that shit, libido or no libido. This should be your new sex prerequisite (presexquisite?): don't fuck anyone who doesn't get you. If that means engaging in less casual sex, so be it. You gotta look out for number one. Be open with your partner that your medication has affected your libido and communicate with them on how they can help. Let them know if there's anything you feel sensitive about and work through it together. Practising closeness and intimacy outside of sex will also help immensely; it's important to feel a connection with your partner. Think of it like this: Trust lowers the drawbridge so that relaxation can ride in and open the castle door to your sexual pleasure.

Go for it

Your antidepressants may be putting you off by inhibiting your desire, but your bodily responses are likely to remain the same. Try leading with your body first to push through the initial indifference and your mind should soon catch up with the arousal. This is a great way to further your investigation into your libido issue. You may find, for example, that you have the opposite problem: you've got plenty of desire but you struggle to maintain your interest once you get into it. Or maybe you just don't get wet despite being mentally turned on. Learning exactly what's going on is the best way to figure out how to defeat it. Use any of the tools at your disposal – a sensual atmosphere, romance, lube, sex toys, mental images, porn – and reassess your variables. Does morning sex work better than evening sex? Does planning work better than spontaneity? Does it feel more thrilling outside of the bedroom?

Stimulate yourself

Yeah, there might be some questionable aphrodisiacs out there – pre-coital oysters, anyone? – but there are also a great deal of game changers. Weed, for example, is a given – Horny Goat weed, even better. But if you don't smoke – or weed negatively affects your state of mind – we can't recommend a good brew of damiana tea enough. It's an aphrodisiac, anti-anxiety and helps us through our PMS and period woes like a champ.

Talk to your doctor

If you're finding the issue frustrating, you don't have to just grin and bear it. It could be that you need to adjust your dose, change the time of day you take your pill, or even take a short medication holiday. But DO NOT do any of these things before talking it through with a professional. You might feel that your depression symptoms are long gone, but that's usually because the antidepressants are doing a great job. Talk to your doctor – and keep up the dialogue until you've got it all sorted. 


Next up, Find Your Force! How To Overcome Your Social Anxiety