Can I Recover My Orgasm After Taking Antidepressants?

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 09:00
Submitted by Betty Dodson

Dear Betty,

I have been on paxil and lexapro as well as Strattera for ADHD since 4th grade… It has helped me focus and accomplish what I knew I was capable of; I am now at one of the top universities. But I also feel like a sexual socio path…. and get no pleasure from boys and want to get off these medications that have robbed me of a valuable part of my life. I am 20 now, have thigh squeeze masturbated since I was a kid, read a fair amount of erotica, and watch porn, but I don't have a very strong drive to seek out boys.

I always attributed this to "self control" from strattera, and lack of interesting and hot buys. I have always been surrounded by as a liberal artist type in a very conservative culture. But now, I am realizing the problem is deeper, my clit feels nothing when I touch it manually and now even when attractive boys that I like and respect feel like doing stuff with me, I either don't want to or get nothing out of it other than scientific observation of men and sexuality which looks like it is worlds away from anything I have felt in a long time.

I remember a time in early middle school when the guy I like grazed my arm accidentally and I felt a strong cliche "pleasurable burning" and around 8th grade my phone went off by my clot and I felt an intense wave of something…. but I can't imagine feeling anything like this now….. my sister who has never been on medication has orgasms and has had lots of boyfriends. considering how much I liked boys in early childhood, I could probably have been the same way.

Dear E,

I don't believe any 20 year old woman is a "lost" cause, but I really can't add to your list of things that you've tried and didn't work. Of course it's the damn drugs that you think you can't live without. Did the doctor tell you that this med wold help you to focus your brain but it will also interfere with having orgasms? And if she did say that, would you or your parents have listened?

I'm sorry to say your best chance of learning about sexual pleasure would be to deal with your addiction to pharmaceutical drugs. Perhaps the dose can slowly be lowered. Maybe as you get older you can stop altogether. Since you get more pleasant feelings from a boys touch, then get a sweet boyfriend who will not pressure you to "come" so he can prove he's good in bed. Maybe you can find a young man who is on similar drugs.

I'm a strong believer in alternative healing modalities. And as soon as pot is more acceptable and legalized, it might be a blessing to help kids come off these heavy drugs that Big Pharma is pushing on people to keep their profits soaring.

Another thing, since you have pursued some kind of semblance of pleasure for so long, I suggest you check out what you think that might be like? Porn stars are paid to fake pleasure. Romantic love stories exaggerate passion. So whenever you feel anything that might simply be "pleasant" I'd accept that without passing any negative judgements. I'm finding that far too many girls and woman have very exaggerated notions of what sexual pleasure is like or how it will feel.

We need an army of healers to work with all the kids who were put on meds for what? To get better grades? Be easier for the parents to handle? It's a crime against sexuality! Just don't give up altogether but also try not to judge yourself too harshly. When and if you find a solution, please get back to me and become one of our bloggers to help all the billions of people hooked on these nasty heavy but legal drugs. Get a law degree from your "top university" and take these heart less shitheads to court. Be a whistle blower and sue them for robbing you of your sexual sensations to feel orgasmic pleasures and joy! Get mad and force them to change so your future children won't suffer the same fate.

Dr. Betty

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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Mrs. Dodson, You are correct

Sat, 08/16/2014 - 17:42
Disappointed (not verified)

Mrs. Dodson,

You are correct in identifying often unnecessary psychopharmaceutical prescriptions across the western world. That said, however, to demonize said psychopharmaceuticals is exceedingly naive on your part. There are, indeed, many whose quality of life has been improved greatly due to advances in psychotropic medications. There are also many who suffer silently, not seeking help and sometimes to devastating outcomes at that, all because there is a huge amount of misinformation being disseminated by people like you who contribute to the already large stigma surrounding psychotropics and neuropsychiatric maladies. 

There are unfortunate side effects associated with many psychotropics. There are also ways to mitigate them should the patient treated need to be kept on the medication after other solutions to treat whatever disorder is ailing him or her have failed. Let's focus on the further development of psychotropics that are void of sexual side effects while maintaining efficacy rather than further perpetuationg the notion that all said drugs are "nasty heavy (sic) but legal" in all instances for all taking them. 
This young woman who is being treated for ADHD and likely a depressive or anxiety-spectrum disorder as she is taking two SSRIs, or antidepressants used to treat said spectrum disorders, respectively, should not by any means simply take herself off the drugs and while you alluded to the woman consulting her physician, you did so with a negative slight and unfortunately so. There may be those who are taking psychotropics who after a period of time may taper off the drugs successfully, and then there are others who need to stay on the drugs lest they relapse and quality of life and daily functioning decline rapidly. Depressive-spectrum disorders, anxiety-spectrum disorders, and ADHD can be life impairing, so please be mindful of the content of your responses before you publish them for the internet audience to read. 

Finally, when using terminology surrounding a responsible user of prescription drugs, please use correct terminology. "Addiction", with its stigma and colloquial usage attached is not appropriate here; rather, "physical dependence" is more appropriate. 

DJC, Ed.D. 

SSRIs are never scientifically tested against Dr.Betty's methods

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 02:52
Lizzie Smith (not verified)

No doubt the arguments of DJC, Ed.D are expressions of deep concern about a certain part of depressive patients, those, who seem to benefit during some period of time from psychotropic medication. Certainly there are those who experience they have been helped. 
We will never know, though, could these patients have been helped without psychotropic medication. For example, by finding their body-mind in a more profound way. By finding their sexual response, and, adopting a tailored, medically correct diet. General psychiatric medical science does not do research on these areas of humaneness by organizing comparative double-blind experimental setups.   
When the first SSRIs (selective serotonin uptake inhibitors) came to the market 1988, at least seven things were quickly generally known about the new, revolutionary happiness-pills.
1. They were said to be safe and harmless to use and prescribe even for general practitioners, compared with the older heavier more toxic psychopharmaceutical drugs.
2. A patient was able to safely stop taking the SSRIs or change the prescription to another similar or other kind of preparation, since the SSRIs did not have major adverse interactions with other medications or alcohol.  
3. Stopping the medication with SSRIs was said to be easy as the SSRIs caused no physical dependency the way the older psychiatric medications did. 
4. From the beginning, though, there was in the literature available the very disturbing scientific research result according to which the SSRIs had no reputed antidepressive effect at all. I.e. researchers found SSRIs were not any more effective than a placebo or, no medication or psychotherapeutic counseling at all.
Note. These, mainly are the issues compared with the drug. I have never heard of a research arrangement where Dr. Betty's or any bodysex method plus medically sound tailored diet would have been compared with psychothropic medication in fighting depression. I sincerely doubt there ever will be. Which pharmaceutical company would be interested in arranging such a research?
Nevertheless there is abundantly valuable empirical evidence of Dr. Bettys method's effectiveness and there is coming in more information all the time.    
5. From the beginning it was known the SSRIs could be surprisingly risky. The risks were marginalized in the information for general public. The general practitioners were not taken away the right to prescribe the SSRIs despite the alarming news. Patients on the medication had sudden attacks of physical violence. Suicides or grave assaults towards others could take place specially at the beginnig of the medication.
One theory behind this was the depressive patient had harbored the idea of violence or suicide for a period of time. The person was able to undertake the action now after receiving the medication, that gave the needed energy impulse for the destructive act. Sure. In order to give rise to this the medication must have messed with the judgement and a number of other capacities of the person's mind as well.     
6. For many, the SSRIs blocked the orgasm right away. As the medication inhibited mental extreme modes like overwhelming sadness and joy, it also sabotaged the experience of sexual orgasm. 
7. It was well informed from the start that long-term effects of the drug are not known. The positive effects of the SSRIs were nonetheless said to be so promising that the world-wide experiment of ordinary people as guinea pigs was allowed to proceed.
Since the start SSRIs have been a great big pharma success story. They have been one of the most sold prescription drugs in the world along with products for stomach acidity problems, and statins.    

SSRI + Me = No Problem with sex

Sat, 01/03/2015 - 15:36
LLBean (not verified)

I first took Zoloft when I was about 24 years old.  I am now 35 and have been on and off over the past 10 years.

My personal experience with an SSRI + sex is varied.  I remember when I was very very depressed and anxious.  I had no interest in sex or masturbating.  However, as time went on I was able to get aroused, orgasm, and fully enjoy sexual activity.  I am still taking the zoloft and I don't feel any effects of it on my sexual health.

My intuition says that it is less about the medication but more how you think and feel about yourself which is a bit of a double entendre I believe (unless I completely used the term double entendre incorrectly, LOL).  If you're constantly worrying that you can't enjoy sex, get aroused, orgasm etc. you won't, regardless if you are taking something or not.

For many I am sure this is easier said than done though.  
Thought I would add to this thread.  Thanks!

I have been appreciating your comments on the site.

Betty Dodson's picture
Sat, 01/03/2015 - 19:39
Betty Dodson

Hi Lizzie, there is such a quick turnover with the posts, I find myself struggling to keep up. This one just came through and it's one of my pet peeves, anti-depressant drugs. Your comments are so well said. Yes, I believe having a fullfilling sex life is healing to the point these drugs are no longer needed. My post marital lover actually came off a series of drugs prescribed by his psychiatrist: One to deal with anxiety, one to wind down, one to sleep and one to wake up. Between all the uppers and downers he was constantly popping pills. This was in 1965.

I met him while I was getting sober from an uhappy sexless marriage. He'd been divorced for a year from an unhappy predictable marital sexlife. We spent that first year in bed fucking our horny hearts out while he stopped the pills cold turkey. Then we entered America's sexual revolution as two sex starved adults. It would take several years before he was on the other side. He also stopped seeing his drug pushing expenive Park Avenue therapist. Tuned out that an abundance of sex and orgasms with multiple partners cured his 17 years of sexual frustration trapped in a monogamous marriage with a woman he really cared for. Sexual repression with women's confusion over how to enjoy orgasms and the ultimate boredom of monogamy keeps Big Pharma's profits soaring. 

Me? I'd only suffered though a seven year spell of very liittle partner sex. But in my art studio I mastered the fine art of masturbation which I then turned into my next career. I trust experience way above some theory. I watched him transform from a depressive pill baby to becoming a desireable bachelor and great lover, a man women chased after. We stayed friends to the end. I wouldn't recommend cold turkey but I know from experience that having access to multiple sex partners can heal the most manic/depressive accademic professor in his forties.
Tell me more about yourself Lizzie.
Betty Dodson

Dr. Betty's body of work: Inspiration, wisdom, source of energy

Sun, 01/04/2015 - 04:31
Lizzie Smith (not verified)

Thank you, Dr. Betty.
You and your work are such an enlightening joy in the darkness, a fountain of energy and well-needed information. 
I started following the website a couple of years ago having more time on my hands after partially retiring from my career in writing.
I'm 20 years your younger with, certainly, the most typical life events: long marriage, two children, career, grandchildren, divorce, after which followed a lengthy period without a romantic relationship, or any relationship of the kind, for that matter.
Staying by myself for too long was something I would not do again. It was not always easy, but it was simple, to live for the work, family, and forget about most of everything else.
The impulse to stay with D&R was new boyfriend, 67, appearing a few years ago. Two sluggish, sleeping sexualities got a jump-start.
Was it not exciting. And it still is. Bf says to send his love to you, Betty.
Thought I knew some basic facts about sexuality in my sixties. Found out there was a whole world of richness I had no idea of.
For example: Masturbation enhances partnersex. It is not something you leave to rest when entering a relationship. A person over 65 is physically and mentally in her/his prime time for solo- and couple-sexuality.
You only need to stick to the practice. Persevere. Hang onto it as if it were a prescribed medicine that your life depends on.
After some hang ups had been removed also Bf adopted a regular solo-practice following years of laziness in self-appreciating.
The last few years together have been revolutionary concerning quality of life.
A lot of health issues have disappeared. Over time our wise mind-body obviously starts to express gratitude, if we take the trouble to be faithful taking care of it. General health quickly improves in visible, detectable ways.
Grateful to you, D&R.
Dr. Betty, specially love your memoirs and rememberings from the past.
All the best for the years to come,

I have

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 15:54

I have also been on SSRI:s for a long time and I notice no difference in my sex drive or arousal other than when I'm off them I'm more likely to have anxiety, which of course kills all your libido.

I have struggled with feelings of guilt and inadequacy due to the fact that I need to take drugs to make it through life. This is, quite frankly, counter productive and just adds to all the real shit you need to deal with.

I look forward to a long, horny existence with or without SSRI:s. As far as I'm concerned, they've only helped me. Though a lot of people suffer side effects and perhaps take them unnecessarily, it's wrong to completely blackpaint them and tell people to come off them out of hand.

The pharmaceutical industry and depression

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 18:16

Having worked in health care myself, I think there's no question that SSRI and SNRI anti-depressants are vastly over-advertised by a greedy industry, and are all too often irresponsibly prescribed and poorly monitored. They also have a multitude of adverse effects, only some of which are sexual. Effective alternative treatments for depression, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, are much less well-known to the public and are therefore greatly under-utilized. However, only the person suffering from debilitating depression or anxiety actually knows about the pain he or she has experienced and what helps or doesn't help to relieve their distress. I'm all for drug-free methods whenever possible, i.e., talk therapy, meditation, cognitive therapy, yoga, exercise, a healthful diet. However, I'm also all for preserving life and hope. Sometimes, for some people, drug therapy, as imperfect as it is, can be a part of a regimen that helps them, whether temporarily or longer-term,  to maintain their overall quality of life.

Hi Patrick! I basically agree

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 15:15

Hi Patrick!
I basically agree with what you say about the problems with SSRI:s and the administration of drugs. My point is that what you are saying - and what is so frequently posted here - is one-sided. To say that SSRI:s are a perfect solution is bullshit. [= 12.7272720336914px]To dismiss them is equally bullshit.[/][= 12.7272720336914px] [/][= 12.7272720336914px]To say there are no side effects is bullshit. To say that everyone experience side effects is bullshit.[/]
Furthermore, your post illustrates just what I'm talking about when you write: "[= 13.63636302948px; line-height: 22px]Sometimes, for some people, drug therapy, as imperfect as it is, can be a part of a regimen that helps them, whether temporarily or longer-term,  to maintain their overall quality of life."[/]
[= 13.63636302948px; line-height: 22px]For us who use SSRI:s with positive results to say a therapy which works for us is "imperfect" is exactly the attitude which causes us to feel guilt about our lives and ourselves, for not managing to live a whole life by practicing yoga and taking wheet grass shots. I agree a lot can be done other than taking drugs. Things that might even eliminate the need to use drugs. But this is not always the case and the process might be long. It's disrespectful to question a solution that works for someone who's struggling. Because we still struggle with our issues even though the medicine may help us keep head over water.[/] There is nothing "imperfect" about that solution when it's a solution that helps.

Solutions for depression

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 19:19

Hi Elin,

I wasn't questioning how well SSRIs work for you, or for any person happy with them. Clearly, they work very well for you and you're the best, indeed the only, judge of this fact. There's nothing 'inferior' about being a person for whom medication is the best solution for their depression. But as someone in health care, I'm familiar with the adverse effects that are common with these meds. Not universal, but common. When I spoke of SSRIs or SNRIs not being a 'perfect' solution for depression, I meant only that an ideal universal solution for depression would lift every depressed person's mood without any side effects, would be easily affordable, and so forth. We don't have such an ideal anti-depressant yet, and that's the only reason I used the word 'imperfect'.

So from my point of view, if a person takes anti-depressants and they are satisfied with the results, with or without side effects, that's wonderful. If SSRIs are a perfect fit for you, I would never question that, and of course there's nothing to 'feel bad about' if you've found the right method to help your mood, whether it's medication or anything else. It's all about increasing our quality of life through whatever means are effective. I do think that it's worthwhile letting the public know about alternatives or supplements to anti-depressant medication, because depression is such a common and painful condition and because meds don't work for everybody. The more weapons we have to choose from, in my opinion, the better. But there's nothing imperfect about the method that works the best for you.

Hi Patric! Well, I didn't

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 17:38

Hi Patric!
Well, I didn't think you were talking about me per se, and I wasn't either even though I use myself as an example. Nice to hear that we agree - the more weapons the better.

Exactly . . .

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 17:48

Hi Elin. Yes, the more weapons the better, for sure. Depression deserves to be eliminated from the face of the earth. Wishing you the best.


Mon, 11/16/2015 - 21:50
Heather Sanborn (not verified)

Though I do not have a medical degree, I find I am compelled to reply to this latest response. I WOULD categorize the original questioners pharmaceutical dependency as "addiction"...and not "physical dependence". As a former patient of the SSRI family of drugs, for many years, I would accurately describe my dependence on them as an addiction. There is a mental state you reach when attempting to discontinue these medications whereby you tell yourself "if I could just take one I will not be so anxious" or "I need a pill to get through this". There is, in large part, a mental dependence to these medications, not only a physical one. I'm thankful I live in the wonderful state of Maine where my Medical Marijuana card has helped me transition to something that is better for my body, mind, and soul. (Although I'm sure there are some out there who would disagree with this statement this is not a blog on the pros and cons of Medical Marijuana and its medicinal purposes)
In closing, please know that the dependence on anti-depressants and the following withdrawals from said drug are very much both a mental AND physical addiction. I wish all of you the very best in your attempts to rid your body of these toxins. Congratulations to those of you who have!