• hulahulagirl

    Can I just give a shout out to Wellbutrin? It (and combined efforts of my husband and my shrink) saved my life and it has a great side effect of boosting your sex drive (YMMV). Why aren’t we all on it?!

  • writtendad

    In don’t have any sort of depression, nor do I think I really understand it in full (because I don’t think you can if you aren’t), so I have nothing to add, but part of this post hit me: “I’m hopeful. And I guess being able to say that, to feel that, is why I take the drugs in the first place.” That’s strong. That’s positive. And that’s amazing. Stay with it, Heather. You’ve done a damn fine job thus far.

    Oh, and I was a horny 14 year old at one point, so I can confirm that your analogy is spot on.

  • sandi

    I agree 100% with HulaHulaGirl! Three cheers for Wellbutrin!

    and as always Heather, a beautiful and brilliant post!

  • Schmutzie

    When the Palinode and I were first married, we were both on Paxil. Our sex life seemed pretty normal, and I believe it was, but then we both decided to go off Paxil due to looking like Stay Puft marshmallow men, and BAM!

    Suddenly, sex became absolutely incredible, but it only lasted a maximum of 30 seconds long for both of us. It was both mind-blowingly good and very convenient time-wise for about three months.

    Psych meds *shakes head*

  • shuggilippo

    What I wouldn’t give to have those primal sex-athons again that got me to Husfriendville, USA, Population: Me in the first place. I mean, there were times I had to do a triple take, just to make sure there wasn’t a dangle down under. (Update: still sporting the lady cave. Rest easy my whimsical sprite)

    The flesh on Husfriend’s back agrees with the Celexa, his cord arrow and shiny, blue pool balls? Beg to differ.

    Addition: It’s taking me loads of self-control to not turn this comment into a seemingly steamy soft core romance read. Hey-oh!

  • Becca

    Cymbalta raised my BP so watch out for that. And it didn’t bring my sex drive back. I think it’s lost ion teh Bermuda Triangle. but hey, I’m on Lexapro and I don’t want to kill my husband so that’s something…

  • Riaski

    Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more. Bravo…for everything.

  • The Phonz

    As inappropriate as this may sound, I will pray for you to regain an awesome level of horniness! I am recently single for the first time since I was 14 (now 33) and having the opposite problem. If I could give you some of it, so I wouldn’t look at every man like a nice juicy steak, I would. :) Good Luck!

  • slappyintheface

    A one week taper is basically stopping cold turkey. It isn’t how long it takes the drug to get out of your system that counts, it’s how long it takes your brain to adjust to the changes. If you have any withdrawal side effects from the Prozac or start up effects from the new med, be sure to call your doctor. It took me nine months to taper off of Paxil and at times it was really rough.

  • Hagan Squared

    I was on Cymbalta for about 6 months or so a little over a year ago for anxiety reasons. It didn’t kill my sex drive at all, but I realized that it took longer and longer to actually HAVE an orgasm, then it got to the point where I couldn’t. At. All. Imagine the absolute frustration of having the sex drive, wanting the sex, needing the sex and then not be able to have an orgasm along with it? Oh my god it was awful.

  • TxSuzyQ

    Don’t feel so bad. Even those of us who aren’t on anti-depressants are usually suffering that absence of sex drive after two kids and several years of marriage. We are hoping to get ours back someday as well! lol

  • Anu

    I agree with TxSuzyQ above. Even without kids, after a 12 hour workday sex is the farthest thing from my mind :)

  • arielsara

    Thank you so much for writing about this. It’s really brave of you, and as always highly entertaining.

  • Mo

    The trade-off trade-off for me is that since I am more stable and present on the meds, I can actually think and care about putting effort into sex. The meds give me the drive-suppression thing too, but at least sex doesn’t seem like a possibly anxiety-inducing chore anymore. So, now I CAN have it, at all.

    I would like the primal kind, too, but the depression kind of killed that for me anyway. So, you know. It is an overall win for me. And my dude.

    (Thanks for sharing!)

  • Teresa

    To continue in the oversharing vein, I have been on Wellbutrin XL for about 6 months. Not only do a feel like a human being again, but I have never masturbated this much in my life. Apparently, Wellbutrin has the side effect of *increasing* the sex drive of some women.

    It may be contraindicated for people that have anxiety issues because it is more of an “energizing” anti-depressant, according to my psychiatrist. I do get a slight hand tremor when I drink too much coffee, so I agree with her, but hell, I can deal with that! It might be worth asking your doctor about it, as the TV commercials say.

  • tokenblogger

    Okay, that was really brave — especially — when one knows their father will be reading!

  • TigerLily

    Heather, thank you for posting this. It was brave and is much appreciated.

    I am sexually DEAD. I’ve had a complete hysterectomy, I take Zoloft for anxiety and a beta-blocker for high blood pressure. No sex drive, no orgasms. Nothing. Nada. I have resorted to faking orgasms when I do force myself to have sex with my husband. It simply SUCKS. I’ve tried Wellbutrin and it gives me palpitations. If I never had sex again in my life it would be fine by me.

    Works wonders for my marriage . . . NOT.

  • subjectivitis

    I hope it works out for you! And Jon!

  • jcaunedo

    I take prozac, lamictal, and trazadone and have the best sex drive ever. Of course i am also single and 36…. When married to a freak w/ whom i had great sex with i never wanted to…. i dont know. I just think my mid 30′s are my horny time.

  • adamsrice

    A general question about this: When your analyzed for depression do they check your hormone levels in your blood work?

    I had low testosterone when I was on the pill, which created a similar effect (with the sex drive). I stopped taking it to see if it would change, and it has, but its also not to the levels they used to be. But there are a lot of levels that aren’t the same as they used to be…happiness, excitement…they are all subdued. Maybe I should look into this…

  • MichelleBarra

    Oh Heather, don’t be too hard on yourself. Lack of sex drive amongst non-medicated couples with kids and jobs and crazy dogs is as common as single socks or kids tantrums, ie. COMMON!

    There’s a sex therapist here in Australia who just released a book highlighting the lack of sex drive amongst many women in marriage. Her advice is to ‘get in the canoe and start paddling and you might surprise yourself and enjoy it’.

    Here’s a link to an article about it if anyone’s interested – http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/women-need-to-say-yes-to-sex/1447294.aspx

    So Heather, even though you may not feel like it, good on you for getting in the canoe and paddling, because that kind of willingness and receptiveness leads to the intimacy that makes a relationship hang together.


  • SuzanneEC

    So, Heather, once again you reaffirm why I follow you (not literally, no stalker here).

    You post stuff beyond the norm, I’m going to venture to say, because I’m naive about all the ugly that’s out there on the internet that Al Gore invented…so many of us can relate to, reality, no sugar coat. But in a comforting way. Like “I’m not alone, thank god.”

    This could not be more appropriate to my modus operandi these days. I’ve been on antidepressants for 3 years, 1st Lexapro, most recently Zoloft and am in the throes of trying to quit. It’s denial, I know. But I just want to be freaking “normal”, no meds, not dependent on some damn drug to be functional. I like feeling, on AD’s I don’t feel, I’m that robot. Which means peace and harmony on the home front, but an eternal “bzzzzzz” on the screen of my brain. Yes, I actually prefer being on the verge of tears throughout the day, I’ve missed it. I suppose I’ll tire of it, or my family will implore me to “just take the meds, we want “you” back”.

    Being prone to, and of course having depression is damn hard, so thank you for being brave enough to put the guts of it out there. It ain’t for sissies.

  • kidsmom

    Depressed and tired, or pissed off no sex drive and lack of creativity.

    As long as I have to live with other people, I take the drugs. I’m looking forward to an empty nest and a double wide trailer on ten acres in Flagstaff. Me, a dog, a rocker and a rifle.

  • HelenaHandlasket

    Heather, I can’t thank you enough for writing about what so many of us won’t talk about. My boyfriend of 6 years is a horny lil bugger and I have no interest in sex anymore. When I mention going off my meds to regain my sex drive he curls up in the fetal position and cries. I’m so glad Jon is accepting of the situation and realizes this is the lesser of two evils. As much as I want my sex life back, being a “normal”, alive and functioning member of society wins out. Thank you for reminding me I’m not alone.

  • jocelyn21401

    Been on Cymbalta for about 18 months now, and it has killed my sex drive. Without the meds, like a 14 yr old boy, but I’d rather be alive and kicking than possibly suicidal and horny as shit. Every drug is different for every person, I hope this meds change works out for you Heather.

  • LynnFlynn

    So I’m kind of doing the same thing. I used to be a horny teenage kid before I went on Paxil. Paxil killed my sex drive. I’m 24 now, and I’m lucky that my boyfriend of 7 years understand that the meds are a necessary evil. However, I was not happy with the fact that I was 24 year old and could do without sex, and I know my boyfriend really hates that fact. So my doctor put my on Celexa, which she said might help. But I did my own research, and from what I found Celexa is has the same sexual side effects as Paxil. So now I’m trying to taper myself off Paxil and onto this new drug. I hope it goes well for you! Keep us updated!

  • Anxious Annie

    Well don’t feel bad … the same can happen to you when the Dr says you need a hysterectomy and the ovaries must go too. INSTANT menopause. Instant loss of libido. And that’s permanent. And here’s TMI … orgasms don’t feel NEARLY as good without the contractions of the uterus. It’s a big player in the big O. Next life? I wanna be a man.

  • JennC

    “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.”

    Wow. That was like a slap in the face. The good kind. Thanks, Heather. It is comforting to know that one is not alone.

  • EOMama

    This post is one of the many reasons why I love you, Heather Armstrong! Keep on being real. Not enough people are talking about this shit, and you totally nailed it.

  • oldladymac

    This is what i like most about you and your writing – so honest with us, no bull sh*!t. I applaude you.

  • overanalyzer

    I don’t think I’ve commented on here for a few years but I have to respond to this. I’ve been on the generic Celexa (Citalopram) for 3.5 years and it works amazingly well to stem my depression BUT my sex drive is dead in the water. My doc tried to change me to Wellbutrin, which is the one she thought “may not” decrease the sex drive, but I couldn’t deal with the crazy side effects of coming off of 40mg of Celexa (horrible head zings when I move my head or my eyes). My partner is very patient but man I wish I wanted to have sex.

  • fatladysings

    I had the same problems when I started up Zoloft again a few years ago. I was in a deep hole, so she started me at 100 mg.

    Went back in three months and, yes, I was feeling so much better, but I never wanted my then-fiance to touch me EVER. She switched me to Wellbutrin SR, 150 mg twice a day.

    About six weeks later called her nurse because I could feel the darkness creeping in again. Later that week I went to 150 mg of Wellbutrin and 50 mg of Zoloft, and I’ve been on that ever since. Is my sex drive crazy? No, but it’s decent. And I’m sane.

    Thanks for writing this – really helps and validates all of us that deal with the same issues!

  • anya

    Just had to share. Although I’m not on any medication, after getting pregnant with my first son, who’s now 2, I lost my sex drive. We had sex maybe twice in 9 months. After he was born I didn’t even want to hear the word ‘sex’, I had post partum (didn’t end up taking meds, although they were prescribed to me by my family doctor). Last spring we started trying for baby no.2, and after about 3 times I got pregnant. So I’m more than halfway through the pregnancy and haven’t had sex since May. It makes me sad to think I have sexless marriage, but we both feel so tired all the time. And the only time we have to ourselves is when our son is in bed, i.e. at the end of the day, when all WE want to do is nothing. I really hope this changes – but currently all I have to look forward to is another year or so of sleep deprivation and celibacy. It’s depressing!

  • OhBlahDah

    I am totally going to read each and everyone of these comments and consider it a good sample size for a survey on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds as they relate to sex drive.

    I was on some stupid generic for some stupid antidepressant called Celexa? in the Spring. I fell into that robot mode, and had zero desire to be womanly.

    Of course, I’m verging on lonely old maid or crazy divorced spinster at 52 since no one has come a knockin’ on my door for . . . well, a week or two, but I did not indulge when he knocked. There was topless Vampire makeout session, but no further.

    Before that, it had been months. Before that, years.

    I think the only reason I need the little pills is the hormonal roller coaster of the last throes of perimenopause. Next stop, menopause. I am ready to be paused, but my body decided I was 40 again somehow. God help me with the third month in a row as I am currently a bit manic, then things get dark really fast. Alas, estrogen brings the best and worst of times.

  • Truthful Mommy

    Your honesty is awesome. I had to take meds a few years back for about 3 years and it did the same thing for me.The good thing is what I take the meds for, when I am not on them..when I’m not having any “episodes” that same condition makes me primal. The sex is awesome plus I have a husband who is not afraid to put in some time and he just happens to be a people pleaser..yay me!Of course, to be honest, after having children and them climbing in the bed at all hours of the night..between the exhaustion and hijinx it takes to get laid these days, both of us are more interested in sleep on most nights but on the other nights…he rocks my world.So, I say Yey for us and our patient , people pleasing men!

  • craftyashley

    Dude. I’m NOT on antidepressants and I never want to bang my husband. After having kids, I find it hard to want anything that can be categorized as “recreational” except sleep! And alone time!

    I’m thinking this is just a struggle for busy moms in general.

  • mom2avamax

    Oh man, do I feel you all in this category. God’s most cruel trick on women. Give us a need to have a man around…support that traditional family model where the man actually wants to stick around and help raise his kids…but give us no desire to do the one thing that will make the man stay! My insane PPD after #2 landed me on Cymbalta for a little more than a year. God help us all. This drug is designed to make you feel worse than you ever did when beginning treatment. I had to taper off of it for months, laid up in bed unable to move for fear of the electrical zapping that tsunami-ed my brain, the at-my-adam’s-apple-nausea, the complete lack of affect, the fevers and aches, the vertigo that brought me to my knees…oh I could go on! The people behind this drug should be ashamed of themselves, burying the negative press that is the reality of this drug and encouraging people to believe that it is meant to help them in some way. Life after Cymbalta, for me, has been one of getting to know myself again. Figuring out how to relate and cope. I am so thankful to be off of it, to have my hair and libido back, and curse the day I ever started it.

    That being said, I wish you all the best. I encourage you to do your own research on this drug. It will change your life, but for the better???

    Experiment with porn before you experiment with Cymbalta! (besides it did kill my libido and ability to achieve the big O).

  • Dani

    Ahhhh yeah that sucks. My husband and I were both on anxiety meds when I got pregnant (not sure how we managed that)plus birth controll pills kill my sex drive. Once neither of us was on anything again we were like “oh yeah I forgot I like being naked with you.”

    Not that I recomend stoping your meds that’s between you and your doctor. It depends on the person and why you were on ‘em to begin with.

  • kap

    Thank you for your honesty. My husband and I are both on Zoloft and I read your post out loud and we were dying laughing. We’ve decided that we’d rather have a lower sex drive than have anxiety and panic attacks. It’s worth it to me. Hopefully in the future they’ll have a medicine that doesn’t affect it at all.

  • jennisdrinking

    Ahh. Brains are such annoying little fuckers.

    I’ve been on zoloft for 3 years and now sort of have a sex drive, nothing compared to the average man, or so I’m told. I’ve taken lexapro, effexor (holy crap- I sweated NONSTOP with that shit), wellbutrin (which actually gave me more anxiety attacks), and a few others. I’ve never taken prozac, but if- or shall I say when, the big Z stops working for me that’s probably my next stop. I hate how one med works so great for one person but shitty for others, so it’s trial and error for every single person…and when you’re having panic attacks that sure doesn’t seem very promising!

    I wish you the best of luck with Cymbalta. I only know one person who’s taken it and she had a shit time with it. Hugs :)

  • Not2Lindsay

    I have read this blog for two-and-a-half years. You have had at least a dozen good posts. This one was so good that I was forced to join the Dooce Community so that I could say,

    “Heather, this needed to be said…shared. Thank you for saying it…sharing it.”


  • luv and kiwi

    dude! my doc never mentioned that specific side effect, but boy does it make sense. i about had a fit in the bathroom this morning when i realized it’s been over a month since we’ve done the dirty…because for the first time ever i wasn’t relieved to get my period. robots march on…

  • moniker

    Heather, I really appreciate your candidness about this when so few people are.

    For what it’s worth, I started Cymbalta in February after a few rides on the meds-go-round trying to find something that would work. I find it’s working pretty marvelously and my sex drive is much, much higher than it was when I was suicidally depressed. And I’m not suicidally depressed anymore! I’m pretty much Team Cymbalta all the way.

  • AshesVonDust

    Ick, another trade-off is having to hear my mother go “Ash, have you taken your pills?” or “Ash, maybe you need your dosage altered!” every.freaking.time I seem the least bit excitable/crazy/whatever. Hi, have we met? It’s just who I am, no amount of pills is going to change that, I AM YOUR DAUGHTER AFTER ALL.

    Also? I really hate being called Ash.

    I’m on Effexor XR and my sex drive isn’t any different, high as ever. Sucks that my fiance has like no sex drive, and is so vanilla, he makes Betty Crocker look like Marilyn Manson.

    Yep, I thought of that one on my own, I’m proud of it xD

  • AshesVonDust

    “I have read this blog for two-and-a-half years. You have had at least a dozen good posts.”

    Yeah, at least thirteen, maybe fourteen! xD

  • Jeremy

    Cymbalta is a magical magical magical drug I think! I’ve been on it 3+ years (After a horrible battle with Wellbutrin that landed me at the crazy hospital…)

    Anywho, I can safely say that I… at the age of 24… still have the sex drive of a 14 year old. The entire time I’ve been on Cymbalta I’ve never had any issues lol.

    Granted I have a penis, and not a vagina. Sooo it could be different results for you?

  • arishell

    “ElleTark said: 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.”

    Honey, maybe I was just a bit behind, but it gets even more revved up in your mid forties! I am the one looking for sex at all times for about one week a month. Unfortunately, my husband is the one on the antidepressants, so he is a good sport about it.

  • emdavis

    I love this post.

    Trying to find the balance between robot and hell is such a fitting description, and it can be an exhausting process. It is possible to find the balance, though, I’m sure of it.

  • Edwin Allen

    OHH! OH!!! Can I overshare??!! Can I overshare??!!
    So the last time I was on anti-depressants, I was having these really unpleasant anxiety issues developing about four years ago now, and I ended up going to first a talker then script-writer. He put me on a low dose of Lexapro, and I had the worst reaction to it. I literally spent two weeks barely moving out of my bed, watching the same movie (2046 [totaly awesome, seen it 800 times, still love it]) over and over and over and over, sleeping fitfully, and fantasizing about drowning myself in the Mississippi River. Good thing I was wildly depressed or I might’ve actually done something about that.

    To make a long story not really very short that whole endeavor after some months ended in the ICU after an I guess maybe accidental overdose. I don’t really remember much. Course with my history (which is crazier than this story) and some shit I said to some cute intern like the first day after they took the giant plastic tube out of my lung (boy was that a kodak moment, waking up puking over the side of a hospital bed just after they basically just yank this thing out with what I remember as a pair of pliers, but that might not be the case). Anyway, the insurance company insisted I get “evaluated”/institutionalized. I was very lucky to be assigned to this amazing script doc, who finally, I believe correctly and for the first time in my long and tangled involvement with the mental health industry, got the bipolar diagnosis right. Which, I’ll admit, it’s tough in the first spectrum cause the mania is often this kind of hyperfunctional-super-happy-fun-time. Also he was one too, and I was completely manic at the time, so it was probably just a layup for him. Man, he was awesome. He looked like a portly, shorter Cornel West, with crazier hair (if you can imagine that), and would run around half deranged with giant stacks of charts and some giant ring of keys (as you can imagine there are A LOT of locked doors in mental institutions).

    Anyway, now I remain unmedicated, which probably sounds insane after that story, but it works with resolve, exercise, proper diet, meditation as life/life as meditation, as much time with my nieces as the laws of physics and modern life allows, and one giant dollop of meta-awareness and lots of attending closely to my own emotional states. Not that this is the answer for everyone, or something I would suggest trying lightly. It does make things difficult sometimes and then awesome sometimes (as per the nature of manic depression). It is a little easier in the first spectrum, as the swings (once life stressors are factored out/reduced considerably [thank you Buddhism and Yoga]) aren’t really that wide, if they are often.
    How was that for oversharing? Do I win a prize? Ohh, did I win the oversharing prize? It’ll make my mom so proud.

  • heavens to murgatroid

    i am coming out of lurkerville to say thank you for writing this. more than you know.
    i’m currently on lexapro for depression, + feeling ‘meh’ about sex because of it, but relieved not to be so far down in that deep dark place. i hope cymbalta works for you.