Having a healthy sex life is good for your mental health. Whether with a partner or as a solo experience, sex releases “feel good” hormones (oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins). Sex helps you sleep better, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and even (almost!) counts as exercise. For many of us, engaging in sexual activity is a wonderful form of self-care.
However, sometimes our mental health complicate our sexual desires. Anxiety can make it difficult to relax sufficient for sexual experiences. Stress and anxiety release cortisol, which can decrease your sex drive. Depression can also make sex difficult; in fact, a decreased sex drive is often a key indicator of depression. Some medications used to treat anxiety and depressive disorders can also decrease sexual interest, libido, or make it difficult to achieve orgasms. If this is a problem, consider talking to your doctor about decreasing dosage or trying alternate medications.
In rare cases, extremely high or low sex drives may be a symptom of a sexual disorder, such as hypersexual disorder (sex addiction), hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), and sexual aversion disorder (SAD). You should discuss any concerning symptoms with your doctor or therapist — compassionate help and treatment is available.