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The Truth About Sex and Men’s Mental Health
Here’s what you should know to stay healthy and happy in body and mind.
Sex affects mental health and vice versa. While old taboos still linger around discussing both sex and mental health issues, talking about how they’re linked can lead to even more barriers when it comes to getting support from family and friends.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We live in changing times, and there’s more cultural space than ever to talk about sex and men’s mental health. The relationship between your sex life and mental well-being matters because awareness allows for more effective self-care strategies.
Whether you’re single or with a partner,you can align your sexual needs with an understanding of how sex impacts your mental health. Healthy sex can improve your relationship and overall well-being, even as some mental health conditions can contribute to sexual behaviors that may put you at risk. Moreover, unaddressed relationship troubles can manifest as problems in the bedroom, and it’s not uncommon to have difficulty with sex when you’re under a lot of stress.
The good news is, help and information are available. Whether you are managing a mental health condition or undergoing a life crisis affecting your sex life, you deserve support. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that impact sex, men’s mental health, and what you can do to feel better.
Depression + Sex
Depression can halt sexual desire no matter how moderate or severe it is. It’s common for depressed men to lose interest in sex or struggle with impotence or premature ejaculation. Further, some antidepressant medications, particularly SSRIs, can contribute to sexual shutdown in many people.
Sex, Anxiety, + Stress
Anxiety can contribute to arousal non-concordance. Simply speaking, this means that your mind and body aren’t in sync when it comes to sex. Your body might feel turned on when your mind doesn’t (or vice versa) when you’re feeling anxious or managing a chronic anxiety disorder.
Both anxiety and intense stress can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. And if you’re feeling stressed because you’re not active in the bedroom, this can lead to an unfair burden of expectation that makes the issue even worse. Both men and women can experience a lack of arousal when stress and anxiety hit, and some therapies can help.
Troubled relationships can lead to problems with sex. If you’ve got unresolved or ongoing issues with your partner, this can lead to an intimacy breakdown. Conflicting worldviews and/or sex drives, poor communication, sexual traumas, stress, and parenting demands can all take a toll on your sex life together.
If you’re feeling shut down sexually and you’re in a relationship, take an inventory of how you feel in your relationship and weigh other factors that may be contributing to the problem.
More Complex Conditions
Some mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, can lead to reckless or compulsive sexual behavior. While sex addiction and bipolar disorder aren’t necessarily linked, they can both lead to self-destructive choices. If you’re struggling with sexual behavior that you don’t feel good about or that harms other people, it’s time to get help.
Mental health therapies have never been more accessible or affordable since the advent of online counseling. Whether you’re stressed out, unhappy in your relationship, or managing a mental health condition, you might be struggling sexually as a result. When sex is good, it can boost your body-mind health and bring you closer to your partner. If that’s not the experience you’re having, however, you deserve better. Seeking help can help you find solutions and support when you need it most.
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