Sex life with depression

Hello all,

I am looking for advice from fellow members who may have been in my position, or been partner to someone in my position.

I am a 29-year-old guy who has been with my wife for 7 years, and married for 4 and a half years. I have recently been diagnosed by the doctor as being depressed and I have been put on anti-depressants, and have made an appointment with a counsellor.

However, I have dealt with depression for much longer than that. As a kid at school I was bullied a lot, and ended up closing myself off from the world, and shutting away my feelings of hopelessness and never dealing with them. That technique obviously "worked" then, but it has only made for bigger problems now. I managed to go a few years after school seemingly without depression, however it has come back with a vengeance. Since we married, my libido has gone down dramatically as I slipped back into depression, but again kept hiding it from everyone. Last year, after falling ill many times for no apparent reason, I was diagnosed with anxiety by the doctor, and have battled with that for the last 12 months.

It has reached a point where my marriage is at breaking point. I want to feel confident and happy again, and i want to make my wife happy, but then most of the time when it comes to sex I end up taking an anxiety attack (worrying that I won't be able to perform), which leads to being unable to "get it up", then i feel the guilt for letting my wife down. This vicious circle has taken away my wife's confidence in herself, and she now questions greatly whether I love her or not, and it has totally destroyed my confidence in myself as well.

The biggest stalling point of our relationship is the question of kids. Deep down inside (somewhere), I do want to be a dad, I want all the fun of bringing a child up, teaching them about the world etc. Although I am terrified about the idea of being a dad. My wife really wants to be a mum. However, while I have been secretly battling with depression, I have always felt it wrong to bring a child into the world - I feel it's not right to create a life when I feel so hopeless about my own life.

Again, this all adds to my vicious circle, as I have now admitted how depressed I am, and am seeking help, but every time I feel a little better in myself I start to think about what I've done to my relationship with my wife, and then slip backwards again.

I want to be free of this dark, evil monster that has taken over my life and practically destroyed my relationship. I want to find pleasure in life again, and more importantly I want to rebuild my marriage before I push my wife beyond breaking point and I lose her forever. I don't want to feel depressed anymore, and that life is not worth living. I don't want to feel the guilt for being depressed either (I shouldn't feel depressed, I have a good life, with a steady job, financial stability, a loving wife and a loving family, so why the hell am I depressed?!)

So if anyone has any advice, tips, ideas on how I can do this, please do share!

Hi 😊

you've done the first step. I think CBT would be a great way of helping alongside the anti depressants. Ask your counsellor about it. Plus keep open communication with your wife. It will get better, honestly xxx

I agree with Miss S.
Also I want to add that, realistically you're not going to be completely over this any time soon if ever.
I've suffered similar things to you throughout my life and made the decision 5 or 6 years ago that I wasn't going to wait any longer so we plunged into having kids. I have down periods I have up periods but regardless of how I am my son brings me so much joy. I do not for a moment regret that decision and life with a kid is so much richer than it was without.
It took me a long time to realise I needed to stop wallowing and get on with it.

Good luck :)


I think you have done so well to describe in detail how you are feeling and sometimes that in itself helps. I suffered from depression several years back and I feel its always a dark cloud hovering not too far away. From being able to recognise the signs of it coming back Ive managed to keep it under control and not spiral into full blown depression again. I find when I feel Im in a hopeless situation thats when it creeps back so I try to change things. Before I was under a lot of pressure where I was living and what I was doing so as well as taking medication I moved to a better place where the pressure was taken off of me. Now when I feel the cloud returning I try and figure out what about my life may be causing it and change my routine.

This I realise may not help you in your situation but I thought hearing you are not alone and others understand may help. I think what you are doing is the best way about it. Meet it head on. Seek help. And most of all communicate. Tell your wife how you are feeling, how much you love her and basically everything you said in your post. If its difficult to do face to face maybe write her a letter as I think you may feel more comfortable putting it down on paper. Above all dont give up. You'll get there.

Good luck x

Well I lost a longer reply but my first point was like miss S's. Also the idea that your life is too good for depression is common. An expression of the self-hater within and anither stick to beat yourself with.

In sex concentrate on pleasuring your wife in other ways. Enjoy that for itself and the relaxation may help.;-)

I do understand a lot of what you're going through. You don't seem to be doing as badly as you think, if you're getting help then you haven't given up completely which is a good sign.

I would ask yourself what the cause is, for most people I know that have had this it was either something missing or something going on that stops you from getting to where you want to be. For me it was a whole load of things that needed to be addressed.

Well done for keeping a relationship going while you've been shutting yourself off from the world.

From your post, I can only assume that you haven't got over some demons from the past.

One question I would ask is are things better when you're on holiday? If they are, the problem is very likely something going on in your life rather than something in your head.

Try and set yourself some small targets in life, it can be a case of needing something to look forward to. Finally be patient with yourself, the recovery can be slow but steady.

I am on the other side the wife I too am on antidepressants and have throughout my life,, but hubby has a serious mental illness, with so many meds his libido is nilll now, I am older than you so don't need sex with hubby to know he loves me. We've talked this through a lot because he needed to know I'm not offended as I've often said my first husband was a sex pest, every day and he was rubbish my thought was I'd rather do without. I have toys and daft crushes but best of all I have a very understanding husband just because he can't give me sex i have this, also no pressure on him. Sorry this the longest post I've done.

Well done in getting help, if you can't think tomorrow then don't give Oh cuddles talk if you can. It will pass but it takes time all the best.

Hi and thanks for the replies.

I have recently been very open with my wife about how I am truly feeling. I never wanted to reveal it to her for fear of hurting her, which is a big part of why I bottled it away. I didn't want her to feel a failure because she couldn't make me happy. Ironically, this has just made things worse as she has questioned whether or not I love her, and I have shattered her self-confidence, and pushed her to breaking point (she is struggling to cope with me)

I have noticed my sex drive has come back a little after fully opening up to my wife, and starting anti depressants. I won't say I'm horny every day, because I'm not, but it's far more reasonable now than the once a month (or less) it had slipped to. I have to wonder if guilt played a part in that? i.e. Because I was hiding my depression from my wife, I felt guilty (I don't like hiding things from her), and that contributed to my problems even more.

My biggest issue is self confidence, or a lack thereof. As I said, I was bullied when younger so my confidence was never that high anyway. I do work in a stressful environment, so my work does get brought into question a lot. I guess this has contributed hugely to my total loss of self confidence, as when you get questioned about so much of your life, you start to question it yourself. I have become an expert at beating myself up and always seeing the worst in every situation. I have recently taken a promotion at my work which will see me in a far different position and hopefully with less stress. I hope that contributes towards my recovery as well.

I have tried CBT (well something along those lines) with my local GPs, it did help but unfortunately I let things slip far too easily. I am an impatient person unfortunately, but I do realise that I need to work at things in order to get better. I am hoping that working with a counsellor will help me far more, my first appointment is Thursday coming so we will have to see.

In regards to being on holiday, things can be better when I am on holiday. I had a 10-day break in majorca last July, and my anxiety certainly wasn't as bad, but I still wasn't up for sex.

Thank you again for all the kind words

Firstly well down you for writing all that down. Being able to talk to someone and describing how you feel is one of the first steps of overcoming things. If you can open up like that in CBT you should really gain some help from it. But the person you really need or open up and talk to is your wife. If you can't verbally talk to her that do whta you just done with us, write it down and give her a letter to read. It's important she understands what's going on in your head so that she can be there for you.
Your antidepressants meds should start to make you feel a little better after about a month. With this type of medication there is always a period of adjustment. Sometimes you will need the level of medication increased a few times until it wholes and sometimes you also need to try a few different types of Meda until you find one that works best.
Your concern about the damage this may do to your marriage is understandable. How about you start setting out them for just the two of you. Arrange for a weekend away, choose a date night each week. Buy her some flowers etc. Some small tokens like this will help show your wife that you still love her and you are desperate to make an effort to make things work.
The antidepressant mess should also combat the anxiety. So hope fully the panic attacks should also disappear soon.
You mentioned you are scared to bring a child into the world because your depressed. Let me tell you this...... Children will bring you more joy and happiness than anything else in this world. We went through a couple of tough years where money was very short, we lost our house and partners buisness, my job was awful and I found out my mother was having an affair. We had one bit of bad news after another and I felt depressed but my kids got me through it. Waking up every morning and seeing you child grinning from ear to ear because you have walked into the room melts your heart. They are so entertaining too.
I have so many friends who didn't want kids but fell pregnant and they found it hard to bound during the pregnancy, but as soon as the baby was handed to them they all said they felt a level of love and joy that they cannot describe. So please don't think bringing a child into the world because you have depression would be unfair. The fact that you are thinking like that shows me you would be an amazing father because your already thinking of the needs of your future children.
There is lots of ways you can pleasure your wife without full blown inter course so maybe but her some toys and enjoy using them on her. If you stop concentrating on the need to perform and instead concentrate on playing with her you will probably find yourself so turned on that you are ready for sex.
Your taking control or your life now, and I promise that dark grey cloud hanging over you will lift. X x


although I am not depressed I can go through periods when I doubt myself. I know this was caused by being harrassed by my family, mainly my mom, and my classmates whole my childhood. I was never good enough for my mom, she put me under lot of pressure. Its something my grandparens did to her, because she was just a worthless girl, never enough, never doing anything right. Just complete waste of space and their time. And my grandparents act the same way towards me still. I am failure to them as I am single. I failed because I have university education, but I am unmarried and dont have kids. Etc.

My mom can be like that too. We spoke about it few years back and she admited this to me. But I know that although she did not want to be like her grandparents, she was. And now I am facing hard decision for the future myself. Do I want kids? I admit I am starting to feel at times it would be good, but at the same time I know I can never have them. Because I fear I would act like my mom. Even if I would not want to act like she did. I know if I get stressed and pressured, I can bit crash. I can blame myself, call myself worthless, and worse. And I am scared I will do this to any kid I would have. I did see a professional about this and it is helping and I am doing much better than I used to. But I am really scared to have kids still. I am scared I will do the same damage to them because of what my mother did. And I know I will likely never have childern for this very reason.

I have been diagnosted by imposter syndrom a year ago? As result most likely of all the things i went through as kid.

So I can see why you are worried. It is not easy if you have a mental problem. I know this will be hard. But I think you will have to take bit time to adjust to the meds but for depression you should be able to get yourself sorted out if you are also getting professional councelor help at the same time. Also maybe talk to the professional about your worries and they may have some suggestion. Also if your wife is struggling, maybe agree she will also seek some professional help? Maybe it would help her bit understand your worries and be able to better cope with your admission.

Good luck, hope your marriage will not break because of this.