Depression Meds in the Way of Sex

"I think your only other choice is to think about taking a drug vacation if you and your doctor could try that together," Dr. Schwartz suggests, among other options.

Q: My husband and I both enjoy sex, but I suffer from severe depression and anxiety and have been on all kinds of medication for 10-plus years. I cannot do without them. I also cannot achieve orgasm. I've been to so many doctors, and they all say the same thing: It's my meds. My question is: Do I have to pick between being happy on my meds, or having an orgasm? Lately it's getting hard to pick. I really need to reach orgasm. Is there anything I can do?

Dr. Pepper Schwartz: Have your doctors tried you on Wellbutrin or some of the anti-anxiety or depression drugs that do not have the same chemistry as Zoloft, Paxil, etc? I presume they would have tried to offer you another drug and that you didn't tolerate it - but just in case they didn't try other drugs, I am bringing up that possibility.

I am also assuming that they have tried calibrating a lower dosage, so the power of your drug was somewhat modified. That would be a possible thing to talk to them about.

Other than those ideas, I think your only other choice is to think about taking a drug vacation if you and your doctor could try that together. I know of many people who ultimately need to be on medication who have gotten off for a short while, reestablished their sexual energy and orgasmic capacity, and then slowly reintroduced their medication. Only your doctor can know if this would be a safe thing for you to do, but you could introduce the idea and see what he or she recommends.

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If none of this is possible, try masturbating to orgasm with a vibrator. This can be much more intense than your husband's touch or intercourse. If you've never used them, you should go to a sex shop (there are lots of female-friendly ones these days) and get some help picking one out. The staff of these places are usually unflappable, nice and very knowledgeable. Or you can order vibrators online at sites such as,, or Use them with lubrication and you might find that your body can overcome the medication that is presently blocking orgasm.

Photo by ley dallimore.

Dr. Schwartz  answers questions  every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Submit your question hereRead more of Pepper's  columns here . And be sure to follow Pepper on Twitter  @pepperschwartz.

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