How Mental Illness Hurts the Female Sex Drive

depression, hormones, mental illness -

How Mental Illness Hurts the Female Sex Drive

If you are a female who suffers from a mental illness, whether it is anxiety, depression, or something else, it can hurt your sex drive. Here is what you need to know about mental illness and its connection to the libido, as well as what you can do about it.

Mental Illnesses That Include Low Sex Drive as a Symptom

Today, there are many mental afflictions and realities which make things confusing and painful for women. Some of these conditions carry along with them a reduced libido. This includes social anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and even ADHD.

Low sex drive is considered a disorder in and of itself — Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (FSIAD). It is characterized by symptoms like:

  • Limited or absent sexual thoughts/fantasies
  • Reduced or no response to sexual cues or stimulation
  • Loss of interest or inability to maintain interest in sexual activities
  • Significant feelings of frustration or concern over lack of interest or arousal

How a Low Libido Can Affect Your Life

In a 2017 study of more than 11,000 men and women between the ages of 16 and 74, 34% of women and 15% of men said that they’d experienced lack of interest in sex for at least 3 months over the past year. Half of those who lost interest in sex also reported that they were distressed about it.

The most significant effect of low female libido is the way that it affects a woman’s relationship with her partner, particularly in married relationships. Women with a normal- or high-libido partner often feel pressured to perform in order to keep up with their other half. This can lead to sexual avoidance, faked orgasms, and can cause significant tension within the relationship.

It’s important to note that not all women are bothered by low libido. Many women with low libido are not interested in sex and are very content to live without it. However if for whatever reason you are bothered by your lack of sex drive and would like to increase it, there are some things that you can try.


If your low sex drive is associated with a mental illness, the medications that you are taking may be contributing to the problem. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) in particular are infamous for lowering female sex drive. If you are on an SSRI, speak with your doctor about trying an alternative that is less likely to interfere with your libido.

There are also supplements for low female libido, such as L-arginine and horny goat weed. Omega-7 supplements for vaginal dryness have also been reported to help with sex drive, especially in postmenopausal women. By taking these supplements, they help you regain your sex drive and feelings of emotional intimacy that you once had.

A study published about ten years ago looked into the effects of Viagra on women, with promising results, but more recent research has turned up Viagra-like drugs specifically for women that are more effective. Flibanserin (Addyi) works to raise levels of hormones dopamine and norepinephrine to promote sexual desire and arousal, and has been approved for use by premenopausal women.