Today I want to talk about something that I am familiar with, and that is the effect that depression has on the bedroom, with your husband, having sex. And I’m talking about that because I am Janna Denton-Howes and I am a sex and intimacy coach for married women, so I have some qualifications when it comes to talking about intimacy and long-term relationships.
I have never experienced clinical depression, I want to make that really clear, because I hate it when people throw around the terms, “I’m just a little depressed.” Well, really? Probably for someone with clinical depression, they’re like, “You’re feeling low.” And so I’ve experienced feeling low, just as much as I’ve experienced anxiety before. The main effect that I see on the sexual experience is not wanting to have it at all. And I don’t know if that’s because our culture has really put this strange idea into everyone’s heads that to enjoy the sexual experience you need to be in the mood. You need to be all hot and bothered and feeling sexy and all these ridiculous things that we’re told that don’t help create an intimate heartbeat in your relationship. There is so much expectation.
It’s Not a Performance
So really the main thing I want you to take away from this short little ditty we’re going to do today is that you can feel however you want to feel and still enjoy some nurturing, some self-care, some dopamine hits, some endorphins, some oxytocins, and feel-good hormones, within the experience with your husband. You do not have to be happy or to feel anything sexy-wise. You can see the sexual experience as something that will help you feel better, not something that you have to feel better in order to enjoy. This is a really important thing to deeply put into your sweet little hearts because we really have been ingrained with the opposite idea. You do not have to perform in order to enjoy some physical pleasure together. You do not have to be anybody else than just yourself.
Try Something Different
And if you want to put this to the test, when you’re feeling low, go snuggle up next to your husband and smell his armpits. I know that sounds so crazy, but he’s got these amazing pheromones that attracted you in the first place. And that smell, that musky scent (you can also smell his neck as well if you want but I enjoy the good hit of the armpit smell), will calm you down. Snuggle in, breathe in the smells, and have no expectation of yourself to feel anything at all. And then just see how you feel.
Make sure you’re designing the sexual experience to be nurturing and nourishing, so you aren’t having to put on scratchy lingerie that you’re super not into or perform sexual acts that are not very nourishing. And then it can be a place you go to, to feel better.
Put it on the Calendar
You need a sexual experience. You need that heartbeat and just schedule it because why not? It’s the best way to do it anyway because we’re all so busy. Then you can look forward to just a moment in which you do not have to pretend to be happy because that is exhausting.
I hope this has given you some permission to just be who you are and show up how you are with your partner, your helpmate, the person who is with you in all the ups and downs of life, and who wants to support you. Hopefully, you now realize that you do not have to perform or be anybody different and you can just really take from the experience with him.
I hope that was helpful. And if you are in a low period right now in your life, or you have struggled with clinical and chronic depression, my heart goes out to you. I know a sliver of what that might feel like and it is really challenging. It’s not just a matter of perking up and seeing the bright side of life. No, that’s not going to cut it. So I hope that you feel relief and I hope you feel heard, I hope you feel seen, and I hope that today is the day that you give yourself a little bit of grace.
Talk to you soon.