Low Sex Drive in Depression

by Jerry Kennard, Ph.D. Medical Reviewer

There are a host of reasons why men and women might lose interest in sex. It is estimated that 1 in 5 men and even more women lose interest at some point in their life. A sudden loss of libido is often due to some kind of emotional upset and sometimes it can raise all sorts of concerns with a partner as to why.

In most cases of depression, particularly severe depression, sex drive tends to diminish. This isn’t always the case and sometimes, a little like comfort eating, the appetite for sex may increase. As the partner of someone who appears to go off sex for no apparent reason it can be an unsettling time. Sometimes the person affected genuinely doesn’t know why, or they will (equally genuinely) tell you they feel too tired, or simply can’t get interested. Sure, you have to take your existing circumstances into consideration, but if there’s no obvious reason for a sudden change from an active to an inactive sex life then depression or worry may be the cause.

What are the other possibilities? Well I’ve said there are a host of them but these could include anything from weight problems to excessive drinking, poor sleep, age, or poor general health. In other words thinking the worse that he/she is having an affair or that they don’t love you anymore may be quite wrong.

Loss of sex drive in men can hit their self-esteem hard. Erectile dysfunction is most often a physical cause rather than psychological and if a man is able to achieve an erection at any other time it would point to the problem as being psychological in origin. It can become a complex business. A man may like to feel you are interested enough to initiate sex but then become sullen and moody if he feels unable to respond.

Long-term traumas can invite themselves back into people’s lives whenever they choose. Anything like a sight, sound, smell or memory can trigger the trauma that comes from sexual or emotional abuse. If this seems to be an issue then it’s a time when professional help can be so useful and your partner should really be encouraged to seek this as a matter of some urgency.

Jerry Kennard, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Jerry Kennard, Ph.D.

Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s work background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of positivityguides.net.