Guest written by Missy Modell, a musical parody artist and activist focused on the intersection of social justice and pop culture. Missy is the founder of YES MAM Creative, a consultancy for mission-based brands. You can find Missy on Instagram at @missymodell.
It’s widely known that sex positively correlates with mental health. Now, what happens when (like many of us), one suffers from depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders? The link between sex drive and mental health is powerful. It is no wonder that when we feel off, it may be challenging to get off.
To help guide us through this conversation, we sat down with AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, Sexuality Educator, Licensed Relationship Therapist, & Clinical Supervisor, Anne Mauro, to discuss this very important and often unspoken link.
Lovers: Most common complaints you see in your practice?
Anne Mauro: Mixed matched desire. One partner has a higher desire for sexual activity than the lower desire partner.
Research shows that up to 80% of couples regularly experience situations where one partner wants to have sex and the other doesn't - Psychology Today
Lovers: What is something that is extremely common that you see come up that no one talks about?
Anne Mauro: Sex! You know a lot of people are having and have had it. It's been a taboo secretive topic for most people. Many people are much more comfortable having sex than talking about sex.
Lovers: What is the role of mental health in sex drive?
Anne Mauro: Mental health does intersect with sexuality, however, that intersection looks different for everyone. Some people will experience mental health challenges and have an increase in sexual desire, craving sexual connectivity. Others may completely recoil from any suggestions of intimacy.
According to a study published by the American Family Physician, “70 percent of adults facing depression without treatment had problems with libido.”
Lovers: When would you say that you should seek support?
Anne Mauro: If you are experiencing distress and don't know how to decrease the distress on your own. I also think you should reach out for support if you're struggling with communication around sexuality. Because sex has been hush hush with a dash of shame, a lot of us don't have the skills to have healthy and productive discussions about sex.
Lovers: Any tools for self-care in and outside the bedroom?
Anne Mauro: Practice being present in your body and communicating with your partner around sexuality both in and outside of the bedroom. Make sure everyone has enthusiastic consent for the sexual activities they are participating in. Articulate your desires and boundaries clearly.
Lovers: Favorite books, podcasts, or resources for navigating sex and mental health?
Anne Mauro: One of my favorite podcasts in Sex is Medicine with Devi Ward. A book that I have recommended often is “Come As You Are” by Emily Nagoski. I also recommend the website OMGYes for lessons in vulva anatomy and masturbation.