Ask Beth: Too Depressed 4 Sex

Posted by Beth Darling on Apr 14th 2022

Dear Beth,

I’ve suffered from periodic depression since I was young, but don’t take medication. The past few weeks have been tough for me and I haven’t been in the mood for sex at all. Last night my husband tried to convince me to do it anyway because he thinks sex will make me less depressed. I think he’s full of it and just trying to get me to say yes. What do you think? 

Rachel P.

Dear Rachel,

I know being depressed is tough enough, so I really want to side with you… but your husband isn’t wrong, actually.

Now, before I go further, let’s be clear: having sex will NOT “cure” depression. 

But, with that being said- there is research that shows a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms in women who engage in sexual activity. This is true even if one masturbates, although there tends to be a greater impact when a partner is involved. This “uplifting” of mood is a natural response to all the “good” hormones that our body releases during sex including dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. The last one is particularly beneficial because it not only boosts your mood, increases compassion, but also encourages you to bond with your partner. You’ll get an additional bonus from the fact that at the same time as your body is increasing the amount of those chemicals in your body, it’s also decreasing the amount of “stress hormone” (cortisol). This is like taking the brakes off your good mood. 

But wait! There’s more! Lol 

Sex also tends to reduce your blood pressure which also helps your body relax. As if all that wasn’t enough… there’s some research (not a lot, but some) that suggests that semen may have “antidepressant properties” when absorbed into a woman’s vaginal walls. Meaning: semen might reduce depressive symptoms in women. 

I hope this is helpful to you and that you’ll give sexy fun a chance to lift your spirits. But it goes without saying that I never want you to do anything that doesn’t feel right to you- so your boundaries are what matters for you, not the research. 

Sending you hugs and hopes for love that makes you feel better.