• trewqaz

    I finally registered for your community because I just had to respond to this post. First of all, like nearly everyone else here, I have to say bravo for having the courage to over share! This is one of the unspoken reasons why so many people are afraid to try antidepressants.

    I had zero sex drive before starting Cymbalta back in March 2008. In fact, I had zero drive in general – I slept 18 hours a day if I didn’t have to work. Although I had been warned that medication would zap my sex drive, I was surprised to find that for the first time in several years, on Cymbalta I had a sex drive!

    For other reasons, Cymbalta didn’t end up working for me. Although my moods were much more stable and the depression was gone, I started to have suicidal ideation that was related to absolutely nothing whatsoever. “Hmm, it’s 2PM, you know what would be awesome? If a plane landed on my house right now, bam…”

    So, I switched to Celexa, which has worked well for my mom for several years. Sex drive was gone. Zap! In fact, drive in general left me. I never really felt depressed; but then, I was never exactly happy either. It was a solid year of blah.

    Finally, after confessing to my doctor that I felt like I was just sort of going through the motions of living, he switched me to a newer drug called Pristiq. I guess it’s the newer form of Effexor, which is somewhat similar to Cymbalta.

    I feel better than I have ever felt in my adult life. I have a full range of emotions – one of which is horny fourteen year old boy – only the emotions have lost the power to dominate me. I’m suddenly this energetic, friendly, downright happy person most of the time. The only negative side effect for me has been that I get hot easy. So, it was a sweaty summer, but I’m actually enjoying not freezing to death in the Ohio Autumn.

    Considering the lack of wanting to kill myself, the fact that I no longer feel like a robot, and my newfound interest in shaving my legs regularly just in case: it’s been a miracle for me.

    As you know, the drugs work differently for everyone. A year ago, I thought robot was something I was just going to have to put up with for the rest of my life. Now I’m just praying that my body won’t grow accustomed to the Pristiq too quickly and I will be able to enjoy this feeling of “like everybody else” for many long years to come!

    Good luck and don’t be afraid to keep pressing until you find what’s right for you!

  • raspberryripple

    Could you please let us know if the Cymbalta is different? I stopped taking the Prozac for the same reason after the death of my father. The extreme sadness and depression is moving through but it rears its ugly head enough along with the insane stress I am under to warrant returning to an anti depressant. I have considered Cymbalta as well. Thank you for your honesty.

  • melizerd

    Cymbalta was horrible for my husband’s sex drive. He told me a room full of concubine’s could have been around and he wouldn’t have cared.

    He ended up on Wellbutrin XL and it made a huge difference.

    I have no idea if it’s the same for women as men but in case it doesn’t work then there might be another option.

    PS one of my captcha words was fisting.

  • sexylikeapeanut

    So, I’m really hoping you looked into the side effects of cymbalta.. I took it for a day and it made my eyes dialate so big that I looked like I was on drugs, of the non antidepressant kind. I stopped after that initial dose and it took a week for my eyes to regulate. I have a friend who after taking cymbalta developed brain shivers. He said it feels like he’s sticking a fork in an outlet, but the shock that results is only in his head. But, my mom is also on it and she said it’s the first antidepressant that has really worked. Just something to be cautious about I guess.

  • joycek

    Years and years ago i was on prozac for depression , it worked beautifully,but the sexual effects were terrible. (DH started on zoloft around 6 months later) i did research and found wellbutrin xl. was great for depression too. Great sex life and great, ahem, climaxes… for both of us. sometimes MDs put women on it around menopause to help with hot flashes….If the anxiety gets to be too bad, xanax is a relief…talk to your doctor…

  • joycek

    Years and years ago i was on prozac for depression , it worked beautifully,but the sexual effects were terrible. (DH started on zoloft around 6 months later) i did research and found wellbutrin xl. was great for depression too. Great sex life and great, ahem, climaxes… for both of us. sometimes MDs put women on it around menopause to help with hot flashes….If the anxiety gets to be too bad, xanax is a relief…talk to your doctor…

  • thephotofather

    I have now used Cymbalta for over 4 years but for what it was originally founded for, nerve pain. (I have MS)

    I’m up to the max which is 120mg per day. Otherwise I have the feeling of bugs or hair running up and down my face and body.

    I am just as horned’up/ romantic / nasty as I ever was.

    Now, here may be the difference.
    I’m a 50 year old GUY. An adult man. Ok, not like I was 18 anymore (can’t say 14 because that’s the age of my son, yuk) but I’m not far away.
    My dates and/or relationships are always, always happy.


  • specialkrispy

    Oh my gosh. My poor husband. I just realized that that the only time we ever really had GREAT sex all the time was for a few months when I couldn’t afford my meds right before we got married. I hope he didn’t think it was him. It all makes sense now. Thanks for posting that.

  • Caro

    I commend your courage in undertaking such a colossal taboo. In our culture, I find, everyone talks about sex but no one addresses it in an honest fashion. The truth is a VERY large proportion of women feel the way you do. Many factors are attributable but one thing is for sure : when we lose our sex-drive we feel dysfunctional,resentful, abnormal and very , very lonely.

    You put a bunch of couples around a dinner table and seldom does the truth come out;that hardly anyone’s getting any. Everyone’s thinking : Man I’ll bet their sex life is so much better than ours…

    A beautifully illustrated book, The two-step: The dance toward intimacy, helped me a lot in dealing with these issues. I can’t recommend it enough.

  • martha

    Heather- your truths enouraged me to seek help for a battle with “double depression” (dysphoria topped off with depression)about 4 years ago.
    I have tried all the meds with a very patient and experienced psyc Doc.(specializing in pyscopharmacology).
    The 2 major side effects that have me totally pissed off are weight gain (have kept this to maybe an extra 10 pounds)(but gained 25 pounds in 6 weeks on Seroquel) and lack of orgasm. (never a problem before)
    The dreams, night sweats,nausea,headaches, agitation, sheer tiredness, reduced cognition,irritability, onset of saying exactly what i think (not a good thing at work)
    some daysthe inability to put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other,anxiety and avoidance of family and friends are NOTHING compared to lack of sex drive.

    I have just started the damn Zoloft-my last chance.
    Pristiq had me horny but there was some other wicked side effect so I had to stop it.

    That all said,REGULAR emotion based cognitive therapy works the best- but I can only afford $1,000 a year- so that doesn’t take me far. I use it on an emergency basis, much to my therapists
    (but understanding) dismay.

    Thank you- for you.

  • MollyCT

    Just wanted to put in my plug for regular therapy sessions–the 2+ years kind, 1-2 times a week. Changed my life, my perspective, deepened my relationships…helped me find strength and peace. I know this conversation is about medication, and Heather mentions seeing a psychiatrist for a prescription, but I feel like one-on-one psychotherapy does need some advertisement too. Insurers are less likely to cover it these days, and I think many people first confronting depression think it’s not as necessary as meds. It’s also pretty scary to open up to someone that way, so a lot of people who don’t live in a culture where therapy is talked about avoid it. But it also freed me from depression.

  • GeorgiaMama

    First-time poster here!

    I saw a few comments from people wondering about anti-depressants during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I took Zoloft the ENTIRE time while pregnant and the EIGHTEEN months of breastfeeding that followed. My child is bright, happy and perfectly healthy. He’s seven (and a half!) years old and I have never once second-guessed the decision to stay on the big Z.

    I was a member of a mothers’ group for a few years during his infancy/toddlerhood, and one day we were talking about anti-depressants and quite a few moms were talking about how they went off them during their pregnancies and didn’t breastfeed so they could get back on the meds ASAP because they had been terrified of taking them while pregnant. I raised my hand and told them that I never stopped taking it. They looked at me, looked at my son (whom they’d all gotten to know), and someone said, “well, crap! I am TOTALLY staying on the meds for the next baby!”

    If your doctor thinks it’s best for you, don’t be too afraid of it.

  • afrin

    You know, I’ve read this blog for years.. I discovered it as a teenager in Mumbai, India and you were already pregnant with Leta then. And somehow even though I’ve always known you’ve been on anti-depressants, when I think of you as a person, and a wife and a mother, I think of a happy and wholesome person and not as someone who’s depressed.

    Maybe being from a culture where depression is not a common situation for people, maybe I just dont understand how powerful it can be, but a part of me just wishes that you’d stop the medication and feels that you’d be ok.

    You have a great big heart for life and love, and I think that is strong enough to wean you through… I hope I’m not just being naive.

    Love, an admirer.

  • tinacolada97

    I think (?) a more appropriate Heather Locklear substitute is Megan Fox. But I’m not sure for 14.

  • rwmorey71

    I am on medication for anxiety so I know its a little different than depression but the meds are in the same family. I am taking Paxil CR and that has not had the effect on my sex drive that my previous meds (Lexapro and then Zoloft) had on my sex drive. I know its different for each person too but just something I wanted to mention for you and your readers.

  • Ezza

    It’s a double whammy. SSRIs kill your libido and also make you drowsy. So when it’s good-times-o’clock… you’re not only disintered, but pretty keen on a snooze.

    My quack switched me to Lexapro and it was much better, but the anxiety crept back in so the dosage had to be upped. I’m not normal libido-wise, but I’m a lot closer to where I was at… y’know… fourteen.

    Zoloft is a miraculous drug for depression, but I found the sweet privelidge of being ‘normal’ came at an enourmous price – the price of being able to enjoy the benefits of normality.

  • Heidi D-M

    Hey, Heather,

    Thanks so much for posting this, and for being so open about it all. It sure helps the rest of us not feel alone. I’m still in ‘hide it all’ mode. Sneaking off to the counselor’s office, hoping my boss and co-workers don’t find out. Yeah, that feels grown-up.

    Anyway, I thought I’d let you know about something I’ve tried that has worked for me. I’m on Wellbutrin and alprazolam, and they kill my sex drive like a roach on a Raid can. I went to this spa for a couple of days, and they had this stuff called maca.

    It’s supposed to be an energy supplement, but it’s also supposed to help kick in your sex drive too. It has worked really well for me – the motor starts much more easily and it makes me actually WANT to, rather than do it because I think I ought to.

    I don’t take it all the time because I get kind of mood-swingy if I do, but I hit it during the weekends, and I gotta say, WOO-HOO!

    I never got into the whole supplementy natural herbaly new agey weird stuff, but if it works, why not? I get mine off Amazon. Anyway, just an idea.

    Thanks again for all you do.

    Heidi D-M

  • CatLady

    When I took Paxil I couldn’t even orgasm. I switched over to Celexa, no problems. It is similar to Lexapro but a little more gentle. I couldn’t take cymbalta (I tried) I had a weird atypical reaction to it. Can’t remember what it is called. Prozac helped my anxiety but not my depression. Effexor made me feel out of body. Lexapro made me feel anxious (more anxious, that is). I’ve never tried zoloft but since Celexa works for me with no side effects I’m sticking with it.

  • ChickWhitt

    The trade-offs are the part I HATE about taking medicine. I get to be a normal me, but in return I worry about what I will do during pregnancy and nursing, my sex drive sucks sometimes, I can’t drink, I can’t miss medicine or I am crazy-woman, & I get to be the person in my family who has to take medicine to be happy.

    Thank you for always being so honest about your experiences. I can’t explain how much it helps to know that I am not the only one feeling these ways.

  • Schnauzie_Mom

    Great post on so many fronts. Thank you!

  • kcbelles

    I can’t even imagine what you (and everyone else in the same boat) must go through to feel “normal.” I’m so very sorry that you all do, but I do think it’s terrific that there’s a somewhat livable solution. Perhaps in time someone will come up with a much better anti-depressant. I certainly hope so.

    Kudos to you, Heather, for being so outspoken and sharing something like this. As evidenced by the first poster, it’s good for anyone else going through the same thing to see that they’re not alone.

  • MissCaron

    Thank you so much for always being so honest. It’s quite refreshing. I’ve been on Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, just to name a few and I think that because anxiety drives a lot of my depression the Lexapro works best. I think also, that it doesn’t affect my sex drive as much as some others although it certainly doesn’t help. I compare it to taking birth control… it doesn’t completely squash the desire but it doesn’t help it. If that makes any sense at all. Anyway, great post. I hope that the new regimen works for you!

  • Boxcar

    Thanks for helping me remember that I’m not the only one that has this problem. And btw, I’ve been on Cymbalta for a year-ish, for pretty much the same reason (‘cept I’m a guy), but I haven’t noticed much difference.

    It does beat the hell of no meds, though.

    And yes, if I remember properly, fourteen year old boys are horny.

  • adi82

    Wait, so you’re saying that when I’m off the Zoloft I should feel like a 14 yr old boy?! I feel so jipped; it’s never been that way for me.

    So being off the Zoloft during pregnancy was a bad thing then? I’m currently debating getting off to get pregnant even though they say it’s “safe”. My doctor said it’s up to me, but I don’t know what to do!!

  • la_bacque

    I appreciate your honestly, and feel grateful that I don’t have severe depression. I like being horny like a 14 year old boy.

  • imjeffp

    I had libido on Welbutrin, but I also had anxiety attacks. Back to Effexor & Viagra. Especially frustrating when your hangups already include delayed ejaculation. Don’t be fooled, women may like a man who can go all night, but they’re not always crazy about one who HAS to go all night.

  • Lindsayanng

    I know this is an old post, but I just wasted the first hour and a half of my day reaching through your posts in backwards chronological order because I forgot about your blog and came back to check it out.

    I just wanted to suggest trying Welbutrin if you haven’t already. I did all of those meds you’ve listed so far and had the exact same reactions as you did. My doc put me on welbutrin (a slightly higher dose than anticipated) and it is amazing. No anxiety, very little depression.. Most if not all of my aches and pains are gone, and I only have a few sleepy days where as some days I couldnt keep my eyes open.

    Ohh, AND the best thing about it… My sex drive has returned and I feel like I did before me and my husband got married.

    Like i said, i dont know what you’ve tried minus what you’ve listed here, but it was a great mix for me.. Coming from someone who seems to have a similar reaction to drugs as you.

  • MissCaron

    BTW… great article about anti-depressants…


  • Starr

    Thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only woman in the world who does not want to have sex. The trade off is difficult, but I’m fairly certain my family would prefer me healthy and alive.

  • Sundae

    Wow Heather, thanks for sharing. Really, you have alot of balls (he he) and I admire that! Hope it works. :)

  • Katie Kat

    “Now that I’ve written that down I suddenly feel incredibly sad. Because so many of us who suffer from depression have to live like this. Like robots. The alternative is living in hell. So we choose robot.”

    Oh sister… you said a mouthful. My sex drive is NEGATIVE it’s so non-existent. I’d give about anything to feel that “OMGMUSTHAVESEXNOW!NOW!NOW!” feeling again! So now my hubby is all excited because I’m trying a new therapy (biofeedback) which MIGHT allow me to get off my meds. We’ll see… in the meantime, it’s enough to depress ya.

  • Mommytopia

    Dude, my doctor changed me from Prozac to Mirtazapine. Side effect? Spontaneous orgasms. I just have to cross my legs like a lady to have a good time. I’ll take the ugly planter as a “Thank you.”

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    are you sure it’s not merely having children, having given birth, that depletes libido? because i am not clinically depressed and i’ve got very, very, very little sex drive. that seems so not me; pre-bambino i was all ‘bring it.’

    crap. i hope the search engines don’t find me out here!

    jon, again! i need another user name …

  • ElleTark

    While I knew that women peak sexually at 30-something, I didn’t know that women turn into sex-obsessed maniacs (i.e., 14-year old boys) at 30-something. It was a shock to me, and I’ve even considered starting birth control to get my libido in check. My point is that there is another side to the fence, as you pointed out, and it is exhausting and takes it’s own unique toll on my mind.

  • Amanda Brumfield

    I’m on Lexapro and I have to say, after trying several antidepressants, it has not reduced my sex drive much at all. Also it has kicked my depression in the ass. Amen.

    Very little is more frustrating than not having a sex drive or not being able to achieve orgasm. Girls get blue balls too.

  • kristanhoffman

    Kudos, lady. And no, I don’t mean the snack bar.

    Once again, you are stepping up and broadcasting intimate details of your life in order to help other people. I truly applaud that.

    I feel fortunate not to need anti-depressants, but I can identify a little bit. I had to try 3 different birth controls before I found one that let me feel like myself. (On the first, I was crazy emo, crying over absolutely nothing all the time. On the second, I was emotionally stable but had zero sex drive. Not sure which was worse for my boyfriend… :P )

    So yeah, it’s probably worth trying different meds, because everyone’s biochemistry is different and you never know what might work for you.

    Good luck, and hey, you are not a robot. I mean, I don’t know any robots that are funny. Well, maybe C3PO and R2D2… but they’re not *intentionally* funny. You, my dear, have real wit. :)

  • Ames422

    That is so weird. I am sure I totally wrote this post yet I have no memory of doing so. Hmmm.:)

  • alh071

    A-men, I feel the same about my Lexapro and my GAD. I prefer not being a monster to having a sex drive. I tried to add Wellbutrin for all of one day to see if I could have both — and I can’t. Which is fine with me and with my partner, she put up with my crap for far too long! Now when something happens that would have once sent me into the fetal position or caused me to throw things, and I now am able to calmly deal with it, she kisses the Lexapro bottle.

  • tracy

    I’m currently at a loss for words right now, as you have just verbalized (again) what I’m thinking & can’t express to my husband.

    I’m on Zoloft, Adderall, and Xanax (almost daily),and see a therapist & a shrink. I’m all kinds of messed up, although my shrink does his best to convince me otherwise.

    There was a day this summer when E was napping and hubs & I were working outside in the garden. He had his shirt off, and he looked good. Suffice it to say, I beckoned him into the house for some relations, & it was hot. That was the last time I had the “I have to have him now” feeling, for more reasons than just the meds, but that’s a whole other story.

    The lack of sex is a major struggle in our marriage, so it’s amazing to read your post & the comments & not feel like I’m the only one who lives with the trade-off. And that perhaps I need to learn to be more, ahem, generous.

  • Circe74

    Huh… I’ve been on Effexor for about 12 years, and I’ve never noticed that it caused a decrease in my sex drive… though I don’t – ahem – have much of an outlet to test it, so maybe that’s what keeps it running so high. Although that kind of makes me afraid of what my drive would be like WITHOUT Effexor!

    Anyone know any decent guys in MI? ;o)

  • la_bacque

    wow. your commenter crowd is overwhelmingly people being treated for depression. It’s cool that they feel like they have such great representation in you.

  • DeeDubs

    Super brave of you to post this. That’s why we all keep coming back. Thank you.

  • tallnoe

    I’m grateful for two things about now:
    1. that you talk about things that people don’t like to discuss
    2. that I’m not having to deal with your issues. I’m sorry that you have to deal with it, though.

    Here’s to hoping Cymbalta works for you!!

  • katliz

    After 17 years on hormonal birth control and 5 years on anti-depressants, I gave up in March of this year. I wanted my once insane sex drive back. After 7 months, it’s beginning to return (though much too slowly for my liking.)

    Good news: It’s much easier to maintain my weight. Bad news: My mood swings are out of control.

    I’m going to try a few more months; maybe I’ll bring up Cymbalta to my doc if I’m still having these horrendus funks…

  • tiny apple

    zoloft made me think i was starting menopause at age 29! scary! cymbalta has been lovely for the past 3 years, however i’m wondering if that’s the reason we haven’t had sex in 6 months…hmmm…either that or the pregnancy…

    as always, thanks for sharing :) makes the rest of us out here in internet-land feel not so lonely!

  • HelluvaMormonFan

    I have been on Cymbalta for about 18 months. It still has the side effect of low sex drive for me, like the others. Maybe for you it’ll be different!

    Having said that, I have no problem *ahem* orgasming. It’s the sex drive that needs help.

  • Tobie

    @la_bacque, I think it’s more that people with this issue, feel more inclined to comment. I don’t have this issue (tho I have plenty others…), so I won’t necessarily leave a comment on this post. Know what I mean?

    It’s like “100% of people who filled out a complaint form at Walmart were unhappy with Walmart.” But if you *were* happy, then you wouldn’t fill out a Complaint form…I’m sure some statistical person could say it better than I can.

    Since I *am* leaving a comment – @dooce, thank you for sharing your story so openly and honestly.

  • megumphrey

    I’m the opposite. I want the sex drive, so I deal with the other consequences.

    But the other consequences include being depressed, which suppresses my sex drive.

    I might need to re-evaluate.

  • megumphrey

    I’m the opposite. I want the sex drive, so I deal with the other consequences.

    But the other consequences include being depressed, which suppresses my sex drive.

    I might need to re-evaluate.

  • freckledmama

    Did you take antidepressants while breastfeeding? What were your thoughts on it?