Anxiety medication and desire

My wife (40f) and myself (40m) have been married for many years and are used to the fact my drive has always been higher. My wife has been on anxiety medication for quite some time now but her drive continues to get less and less which I try and discuss with her and listen to her side because it isn’t easy for her.
What surprised me/upset me was that last night I woke up to her satisfying herself and stopped when I was awake. I know it may be she (for many reasons) was not in the mood for sex with me or to make the move on me but when it’s been a long time without sex and to have that made me instantly feel unattractive and like maybe the anxiety and medication may not be the issue.
I’m also very aware that could be some insecurity. Has anyone been through a similar situation?


Sorry to hear this has made you feel like that :pensive:
It could be a simple enough reason that she is only able to climax herself solo which being a fellow antidepressant/anxiety medication taker, I know this can be a common thing and to save you the disappointment of not being able to make her climax, maybe she thinks it’s easier to just do it in secret…

Ultimately though all you can do is ask and have an open talk with her about it and say how it made you feel :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’ve had similar experiences myself. Anxiety meds are well known for causing a decrease in sex drive but it’s not just the medication, anxiety itself causes a low sex drive - I’m not on meds anymore and have an even lower sex drive than when I was taking them.

There are lots of reasons why she might have been masturbating rather than wanting sex. After a long time of not having sex, it can be hard to initiate again especially if you’re unsure if you will be able to get aroused or have an orgasm. The best thing you can do is talk about it and support her as best you can. If I try to have sex at the moment, it’s really easy to lose interest part way through or get upset because I can’t get aroused despite wanting to, it gets frustrating and so I stop trying.

Masturbating might be a sign that her sex drive is improving but it might not be. When I have a very low sex drive I can still masturbate and orgasm and do this even when I’m not in the mood for sex. Sometimes I just remember that orgasms feel nice and make me relaxed so I do it purely for a physical release, not as a replacement for sex. For me, masturbating and sex are completely different. Masturbating is just something that I do to self soothe and relax, it’s not related to wanting sex.

Talk to her and tell her how you feel but more importantly, keep supporting her, living with anxiety is awful and the last thing she needs is pressure to do something she doesn’t feel up to doing or to feel guilty for masturbating when it gives a little bit of pleasure in a time of fear. I hope things get better for you both soon x


If she is an anxious person, she may be suffering from Sexual Performance Anxiety. Its a vicious cycle… she takes meds for anxiety, libido gets low, she starts to feel anxious about sex, so she needs more anxiety meds… Its an awful place to be.

She may masturbate just because she was feeling it, or she may feel it “easier” and less stressful doing it instead of sex.

Open communication and be patient. One thing that may help is to be physical without sex, like a sensual massage (she will start to be anxious for sexual anticipation) and you will stop there, just a massage and cuddle. This will start to signal her brain that engage in touch is not a bad/anxious activity. You can also try to change things, like give her oral and avoid penetration, masturbate each other… try to see how she reacts.

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SSRIs impact sexual appetite. Some are used for PE with men.

Google the meds. It might be a natural impact of meds. It might be another thing also but start with the science.

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I really struggle to climax with a partner when I’m taking antidepressant/anxiety medication & that puts me off of sex as it gets really frustrating. I still craved sex, I was just super conscious that what would normally take 10/20mins to get me off was now taking well over an hour. I felt flying solo was my only option to save us both from feeling down & frustrated over it. I know it must be difficult not to, but try not to take it personally & see if you can talk about it together.


It’s natural to feel hurt especially in this kind of circumstances and I think you and your wife should talk this out. You should communicate with her about your feelings and concerns and let her explain her side.

I hope everything goes well with you and your wife.

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Thanks for the replies everyone, particularly those of you who have shared your own experiences with this situation, it is seriously appreciated.

I am a huge advocate of open and honest communication, it doesn’t help that her family are very closed, conservative and don’t do deep conversations so she is having to learn all of that now that she was never really encouraged with.

I have two toys I can use at these times but there is no substitute for that raw passion/desire that comes from having sex and that’s what I am struggling with but it will get better in time

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I totally get it. I was on anxiety meds for 4 years and my drive just got less and less. On average id only want it once a fortnight although I tried as much as i could for hubby. I decided about a month ago that i was going to come off them. My life has changed substantially for the better and as i couldnt get a docs appt :roll_eyes:, took myself off them. Since then, im a new woman. My drive has increased back to where i want it and although i always enjoyed sex when i got into it, my love for it is off the charts. We are into BDSM and my hubby is also my Daddy/Sir and I now also feel that i can give myself totally to that which i couldnt always do before.
When it comes to masturbation, when i was on the meds id still play with myself usually around bedtime, especially if i was going to bed on my own. A good orgasm makes me sleepy and ironically the pills made sleeping worse. Its not that i was particularly horny. It was just a physical reaction to stimulation. Yes, i could have asked hubby to oblige but it was quicker, easier, less messy and less effort to sort myself out quickly. It was no reflection on him. He knew i would do it occasionally and he understood the reasons. Communication is definately key.
What we found helped for us is that we would plan sex rather than it being spontaneous. I would then spend a day or two edging myself, reading erotica (the power if word has a bigger effect on me that the power of film) and generally making myself ready for him.
Please continue to be patient with her and keep talking :blush:


I sort of have the same thing to deal with. My OH is perfect in almost every way except she doesn’t like to talk about uncomfortable things. She is more of the stiff upper lip kind of attitude. However, sometimes she just keeps it in until she can’t anymore and then it all comes out, but then nothing once it is out. No discussion of how to improve things.

Right now our sex life is probably the lowest it has been in our relationship. It exists but only once every two weeks or so and then it is rather get down to business to achieve an orgasm. It is now causing me ED issues. She thinks she is being understanding and she is but I need to talk about the situation more with her and what I feel needs to be done. Yet there never seems to be a good time to do it. Either she is stressed about work or if not and things are going well and she is relaxed I don’t want to upset her with a heavy conversation about our sex life. She loves me dearly, no issues there, but I know she will take some of what I have to say very personally and think she is failing me. That’s not the case, it just could use a little attention on her part, and some on mine too. But she will get upset, shutdown on the conversation, kind of fight back. Yet I know this is just a reaction and that she is just really upset with herself.

I just don’t know how or when to discuss it with her. Other than that we have a terrific marriage. And we’ve had a fabulous sex life too. It has just kind of withered lately.

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When you say you planned sex how did you plan it? I mean did you plan for a certain day? Or did you plan it to a specific time? And then when that day or time came about how did you initiate the sex?

I’ve always heard people do plan or schedule sex and I always thought that was kind of sad as I alway thought it should just happen. Now I’ve read more and more that it is common. I actually saw a YouTube video where they recommended it and equated it to scheduling a session of tennis with your partner. You would do that so why not for sex.

I’m starting to think it might be a good thing for my OH and me, as her work seems to be getting in the way. Either she is working or she is stressed from the work. I think a good, fucking will actually help her with the stress. It’ll help me that’s for sure. :grin:

I’ve been having ED issues and while part of it is age, I think a lot of it is now anxiety from not knowing if she will be in the mood or not. And that has lead to ED which then has lead to anxiety of wondering if the ED will occur which then causes more ED. A bad cycle, but having scheduled us personal time, not even all out sex, but just close physical time together I think would go a long way with me breaking the vicious ED cycle.

Would really like to hear the details of how you decided on scheduling and the details of how you actually execute it.

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For us, it was usually Sunday nights. The reason for this is because we both work full time Mon to Friday and hubby is up extremely early and after work we are running the kids around so we were both knackered. On a Saturday we like to sit and have a few drinks, maybe have a takeaway and watch a film and i find that i go numb when ive been drinking so Saturdays were out of the equation. That left Sundays which was nice. Most Sundays are chilled and i also struggled badly with Monday morning anxiety so it was a great time to get me relaxed before sleep time. It worked for us as we knew what was expected. Hubby occassionly struggles with ED and similar to you could be age or anxiety about our situation at the time.
I say my sex drive is great now and thats true, but we spend time just touching each other and looking into each other eyes. We will be on the settee and just sit really looking at each other and stroking each others bodies. Not sexually. We just touch each other faces, neck, arms, legs etc and lightly kiss. It sometimes leads to sex but it also makes us feel so much closer.
As i said also, i would edge myself for the days leading up to sex so i was ready for him and could 100% be in the moment. Our initiation would usually be that he would start by giving me a back massage and work his way around my whole body. It made me feel wanted and desired and then it just went from there. It really is hard when you have a lack of libido. I would always describe it like feeling ill and someone offering you your favourite food. You know its your favourite, and you know you enjoy it but you just dont want it. I knew i loved sex, but just couldnt bring myself to want it.
It took us a long time to find something that worked for us. Its trial and error.
Keep talking is the best advice i can give and try not to make her feel pressured. (Im sure you dont but ive been where she is and it can feel like that) Once you have found something that works for you both, dont rest on your laurels. Check in with her every so often and just make sure its still working for her. Ask her if theres anything else she would like to try or is there something else you could do that you dont currently do. Tell her what you would like and if she does it, tell her youre enjoying it. Tell her how good it was. Its not the same for everyone but we both really like hearing that something were doing is being enjoyed in the moment.

I feel for you both . My wife is disabled and is on many meds , the anti-depressant she has been on for years that once taken can never be quit is a contributor . I am only horny about 24/7 and she has toys , but will only use them by herself . I encourage that , but also suggest sharing the experience . We are both in our sixties . I am a PTSD and anxiety patient and former emergency medical technician . Once I diagnosed myself my Doctor put me on several meds , they both made me feel lethargic for anything . I felt hungover most of the time . I reduced caffeine intake and salt and chocolate . And started using a subliminal program for stress and anxiety . Two tracks about 45 minutes each . I started using a cassette , and moved to a CD and have them on my phone to be used whenever I need them . Inexpensive download . Success World , DR David Illig , stress and anxiety program . It saved my life . I have been using for 37 years . Best if used with stereo ear phones or buds . NOT TO BE LISTENED TO WHILE DRIVING ! Herbal tea in evening helps me . If I could get a tenth of the attention the dog gets I would be thrilled , or maybe a 20th of the time she spends on her smart phone ? She is recovering from a hip replacement and their is a chance we might make some headway in the sex department . Good luck .

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@Rampant_husband I have been on anxiety medication and it decreased my sex drive but i am also very insecure and this has affected myself and my OHs sex life. I can fully understand your frustration as this nearly split our relationship up. One thing we found key to saving our relationship was communication and taking things slow, sit down in a neutral environment and talk. You might find that your wife is struggling with issues you are not aware of. As far as her pleasuring herself while you are asleep if you wake you could maybe ask her to continue what she is doing but dont get involved this might help her to want to take things further?

I also come from a very conservative background where you dont talk about things, especially sex it is something i had to learn to do with my OH and it has took us a long time to get to where we are now in our relationship i gradually began to open up to my OH with his encouragement but it was baby steps and he had to take things at my pace. I hope some of this makes sense to help you.

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Thank you so much for your reply. That is exactly what I’m thinking will work for us, and especially for me. While I’m very much still interested in, well penetrative sex, I find myself really just craving being close to her and her body. Just touching each other as you describe. The other week I was scratching her back for a couple of minutes in the kitchen because she had a bad itch, and I found myself getting aroused. No pressure of performing because I wasn’t thinking about sex, so my body just relaxed and responded.

It is weird for us right now because just earlier this evening she said she is so tired. I asked why and she said she is having hot flashes at night and can’t sleep. For some reason it took me gently asking her if something was on her mind. She is such a strong person that she does not like to seem weak so she keeps it in, until she can’t. I believe in letting it out as it goes instead of letting it build until it’s a teapot going off. But I also know she is still feeling aroused because I noticed one of her favorite toys was moved. I think she just doesn’t have the energy for a session of sex, but still desires the feeling. She has initiated it several times in the last couple of weeks.

Once again thank you for your reply and it is nice to hear that it seems to be getting better for you and your husband.

I just realized weeks later I never hit the reply button.

Thanks again Kh1985

Yes. And it’s not easy to resolve. My wife is 20 years older and gone through menopause. She still pleasurers herself but doesn’t like sex. We are still that together couple but lost the intimacy if that makes sense.