Depression is when the emotional system becomes overloaded and it becomes stuck in sadness and the body collapses. Symptoms include pervasive low mood, low energy, fatigue, low motivation, poor concentration, lack of sexual desire, interference with sleep and appetite and loss of enjoyment or pleasure in things you once enjoyed. Guilt, irritability, worthlessness and punishment feelings can also be involved. There is a tendency to withdraw and shut out loved ones.
As you can see this is not the environment for sexual opening or comfortable moving towards. It is not the environment for curiosity and play, for relaxation and pleasure for giving and receiving.
The body is not designed to shut down and shut out when we are in this collapsed state. Our sexual system is functionally turned off. For people who have had a positive sexual history, the loss of sex as a comforter can be an additional loss. For our partner who crave our attention and touch, this rejection can feel like a physical pain. Sometimes sexual dysfunction can cause depression. Men with erectile dysfunction, progressively lose interest in sex and can become depressed by their lack of sexuality. Equally women who have pain with penetration or impossible penetration can become depressed at lack of ability to have intercourse. Both situations can impact on self worth.
Medications to treat sexual desire also impact on sexual function, delaying orgasm and ejaculation, causing vaginal dryness, impacting on erection function and ability to get aroused. However this is usually an additive effect and once depression is reduced the impact of medications are not as severe.
Treating depression is required before sexual desire and sexual function returns. The first steps is to move towards touch, without demanding the sexual performance, without intrusive intercourse. Intercourse is a high desire sexual activity and if performed in low desire sate reinforce sexual aversion.
Depression and the impact on sexual relationships is a very manageable and treatable situation.