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Sex & Depression

Community Member


This is my very first post so please bare with me as I ramble and write my novel.

My fiancé and partner of 8 years has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety recently, he had his suspicions and so did I but was reluctant to seek help for a very long period of time, I must say I am really proud of him for taking a step in the right direction.

For years our sex life has slowly dwindled and it's been difficult for me to cope with. During this time many significant things have happened that have hindered it including children and a long term affair on his part before the depression began. 

I have a much higher sex drive than he even before the issue arose but we managed to meet in the middle but for the last say 4/5 years sex has been relatively non existent.

Majority of the time there is no real intimacy, no excitement and it's all one sided. To put it bluntly I am completely and utterly unsatisfied but I will take what I can get when its offered once in a blue moon, generally once every 6-8 weeks.

I really desperately want to get the spark back but with every "I'm tired", "I don't feel like it", "tomorrow babe I promise" I lose confidence and hope and it has become really soul destroying to continuously be rejected.

Ever since the depression has been confirmed he is using that as the excuse. He will say he's sick, there's something wrong with him. My issue is that I feel like he's using it as a means of justification and avoidance on an issue that is long ongoing, nothing I try works.

We still spend time together, talk, cuddle on the lounge and tell each other that we love each other it's just the sexuality and sexual intimacy that is lost, I don't even remember the last time we tongue kissed (is that what it's called nowadays? Ha!)

So I suppose my question is, will it always be this way? What can I do to help? Should I continue to bring it up or just accept its done for? I can't go on this way and I desperately want to make it happen with him. 

Is it possible to work on this issue while he is receiving treatment or should I just accept defeat?

I don't know the right way to deal with it and I feel the more I bring it up the more he pulls back but I just so desperately want it fixed.  

I love him so much and I want to support him in any way I possibly can and I am so hoping there is a way we can overcome this!



9 Replies 9

Community Member

Hi there, Needingadvise.  It sounds as though he does want to 'rekindle' the flame, maybe still feels guilty for the affair.  He's not actually backing away from kissing, cuddling etc.  Have you attended counselling with him, ask him if you could.  Depression does play a large role in loss of libido, and no doubt his guilt is also causing depression.  If he is on meds, this too can cause loss of libido.  He could be embarrassed that because of the meds he is unable to perform.  With meds, they have some side effects and I think one could be loss of libido.  How long ago was the affair?  That coupled with depression, meds, he has got a lot on his plate, so lack of libido is affected by everything that's going on.  From the sounds of things he still loves you, as he adjusts to the meds, his libido should return.  I can't say how long, a Dr would be better equipped to answer that.  It depends on a lot of things.  Perhaps you could see a Dr, ask him about the meds, possible side effects etc.  I think his embarrassment over lack of intimacy causes him to 'sidestep' the issue with 'not tonight, dear, have a headache, or tomorrow, when I'm not so tired'.  It's easier for him to sidestep, than admit he can't perform.  Men like to initiate, when they can't, they sidestep with what seem to us, lame excuses.  He may not understand himself what's happening either.  Have a talk with Dr about side effects from meds, I think you'll find that has a lot to do with the problem. 

Hope this has helped.


Thank you so much Pipsy for your very supportive and non judgemental reply. 

After reading what I had written it comes across very selfish and harsh but it's not intended to be and I'm glad that it didn't come across that way to you.

The affair went for a very long time, over a year, and ended in late 2011 although I didn't find out about the entire truth until midway through 2013 and it's something I really struggle with which I know doesn't help the situation.

 We did go to counselling at that time but we didn't stick with it and we definitely should have. 

I hope he is open to the idea of going again and focusing more on our relationship rather than the betrayal, I'm sick of milling it over and over but realise it needs to be dealt with properly. 

How should I approach it? I don't want him to feel pressured and I dont want to push him especially with his diagnosis being so recent.

Hi Needingadvise.  Actually your original post did not come across as harsh.  You came across as still very much in love with your fiancé and that's a real positive.  When you went for counselling before, you said you didn't 'stick' with it?  Can I ask why you didn't stay with it?  Sometimes the counsellor themselves can be a bit off-putting with unintentional remarks.  Have you thought about contacting relationships Australia, they have excellent counsellors who would talk to both of you.  I would, perhaps, mention, gently, that it might be an idea to get some advise re: meds and their side effects, first.  Maybe get some literature concerning this, leave it lying around where he will see it.  You're dealing with a very tricky situation here and you need to have the right approach so as not to let him think you're questioning him.  Once he starts perusing the literature, let him know you're willing to discuss whatever and whenever he wants.  Follow up with gently suggesting further counselling as you now realise you should have stayed with it, longer.  If he does mention the affair, tell him you're more interested in your relationship than talking about something that's over and done with.  Keep reiterating how much you love him and how much you want to work things out for both of you.  Obviously the way things are at the moment, the affair is still very much in your mind, probably his too.  That's quite understandable, you've gone from a reasonably happy, healthy, intimate relationship, to - nothing.  If you can get him to agree to further counselling (here's hoping), give R.A  a call and see how to arrange counselling.  As I said before, take it slow and gentle.  Remember, he's a man, they're proud and don't like being questioned about their prowess as men.   

Hope this helps.  If you need further assistance BB is here 24/7.  We actually have trained counsellors who may be able to point you in the right direction too. 

hello and please have no fear about what you have said, you're just tellingus how it is.
It's actually a credit to you for staying with him after he had the affair which went for over a year, as I would normally advice you to leave him, simply because it was for a long time and there must have been problems stemming from his engagement with this other person, however you do love him and that's why.
As Pipsy has said it could be because of his medication and if this is the case then his medication should be changed, but that's if he wants this to happen.
Do you think that the 6 to 8 weeks is just out of duty, and how does he feel or react after you're had sex, I only ask this because when my wife (ex) wanted to have sex with me it made no difference after we have had it, in other words I was still depressed, but she was not one who wanted it often, even in my good days.
I'm not quite sure whether it's his depression stopping him, or his guilt, or his medication or his reluctance after his affair or all four combined.
I hope that he wants to have counselling with you, however to get someone to change from being 'I'm tired or I don't feel like it' is going to take an extraordinary amount of effort, which I'm not sure is going to happen. Geoff. x

Thanks for your reply Geoff, I was really hoping to get a mans perspective! And thanks for the very helpful advice again Pipsy!

The times we do have sex it does feel like it's a little out of obligation, afterwards he is much the same. 

 Its not the medication because he has only just started last week although I am concerned the medication will make fixing this impossible.

I have looked in to relationships aus as well as unifam who we went with before but it's asking him that has me feeling stuck. We didn't stick with it because I suppose we thought that maybe we didn't need to, we did about 2 or 3 sessions as a couple and then we were supposed to branch off and do some individual counseling before coming back together as a couple. 

I can tell he is embarassed when I try to talk to him about it and shuts down quite quickly but assures me that it's not me and he loves me and he's sorry and he wants to fix it but I honestly don't think he realises how much it is effecting me and that it's not just the issue of it not being often enough but also that I want it to be better than what it is, like it used to be once upon a time.

This has been going on for years now but has become worse more recently. I don't know what the cause is either Geoff but I can't help but think it's me, he mustn't find me attractive, maybe he is getting it elsewhere? Who really knows!

The decision to stay with him after I found out was because I fell pregnant at the exact time it came out (before I knew the actual extent mind you, that wasn't for another 18months) I decided to try my best to work it out and if it didn't at least for my child's sake I could say I gave it my best shot. Some days are really hard and I wonder why the hell I ever went back but lots of the time I am happy that we are together as a family and I am happy that my children have both their parents in the home and that they have such a loving, involved dad.

Is it even possible to completely turn your sex life around? I realise it will never be like it was in the honeymoon phase and that with time things are never going to be all fiery and passionate in a relationship but there has to be a happy medium doesn't there? Is it fair of me to expect/want that?



Hi Needingadvise.  Reading between the lines, you and your fiancé both want the relationship to work.  The problem is neither of you know how to fix it.  You're right that the 'honeymoon' phase has passed, but that's because you've been together for so long.  How many children do you have and how old are they?  The reason behind that question is: would it be possible to leave the kids with someone and perhaps have a short holiday (couple of days, maybe a week, if possible) just the two of you.  If you could have 'time out' together, you would be able to talk without interruption.  I must admit, I do admire you for wanting to work it out after everything that's happened.  I get the picture he does too, but doesn't know how to.  That's why I suggested time out together.  You definitely need to broach the subject of further counselling, time away together would also give you that opportunity.  Would your fiancé be willing to look at that possibility.  Are you willing to try for that?     

Pipsy, our children are 3 & 1 and unfortunately we live a little ways away crime family so it's literally a 24/7 job, we get no time whatsoever other than when the kids are in bed to spend quality time together and I think that plays a part in all this as well.

 we would love nothing more than to be able to go or for dinner or to the movies but it's just not something that's really possible at he moment unless we organise in advance and family would have to travel which means it would have to be for a worthwhile reason, not just a date night if that makes sense.

He had a follow up appointment with his doctor today and asked about the side effect of low libidos and the doctor assured him the one he prescribed should not be an issue, he knows there is a sexy drive issue  he has also requested he have a testosterone level test.

When he got home we discussed what the doctor said and I took the opportunity to suggest the counselling and he said yes that's fine by him so that's the plan!

thank you for all your helpful advice 🙂

hey Needingadvice89, just popped in to say hi - I read your story and just wanted to say that I'm glad you're heading in the right direction! I think the hardest step is to actually get your partner to take action and seek help, which he has down. Hopefully in the next few weeks his meds will kick in a lift his mood. Checking his T is also a great idea. How old are you guys??? I must say having two children so young must be a tonne of work so kudos to you guys for all the hard work you do. I really do hope you manage to find some time to yourselves and get back to some regular action. If you possibly can make time for yourself and when you feel down about your current situation, try and go out and get some exercise (hope you have one of those double prams!!) to release your frustrations. Let us know how you're going (and trust me, you are not alone!!!)

Community Member

Hi,it would be difficult to understand your partners motivation for his affair without more knowledge of who he is and why he believed he felt entitled to break his commitment to you.

His depression is possibly due to his confusion and inability to express how he feels.

Questions like,how could this affair happen? I thought I was a better man? Why can't I fulfill my sexual life outside of marriage? how do I live my life wanting more than my partner ? can be overwhelming.

There are many reasons for him to retreat from sexual intimacy and possibly you both would benefit from counseling in Sex Therapy that would define the devide you feel and give you help in moving closer.

An affair is not the problem if you can truly forgive him, it is why it happened.

Dr Rosie King has written texts that are really easy to read and can help couples become sexually connected but the relationship needs to be one of shared values and commitment.

i would find a really good Psycholgist and work on the relationship and then look at sex therapy if it's needed.

Sexual intimacy is the glue that enriches many loving relationships and without it you can feel lonely and depressed.If you love him and want a committed relationship it will take absolute honesty that can redifine what venerability looks like to you and your partner.Dislosure of your innermost desire needs each of you to trust and truly want the best for each other what ever that looks like.

I have been in a similar space with my partner and after 25 years am still learning what I need to be there for her.

I guess if you can look at the long term and say that these circumstances happen to couples and there is no normal in relationships and the complexity of human nature will often deliver wanted joy but also difficult times as well,that's life.You should have fun along the way.