Sex and Mental Health

Sex is complicated. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, sex is so prominent in our society and culture that it can feel like we’re bombarded by it every day. Recently, research has shown how a healthy sex life can actually help to improve or maintain one’s mental health.

For example, researchers have shown that sex can ease stress, improve self-esteem, as well as boost some cognitive abilities. But what does a healthy sex life look like? While it will be different for every relationship as people have differing preferences, the biggest factor that will determine whether your sex life is healthy or not, is whether you and your partner are happy with it; if not, you may want to start a discussion with your partner as to why that is and how it can be improved.

One thing which can make sex even more complicated than it already can be, is mental illness. Disorders such as depression can decrease your libido, as can some medications. A common symptom of bi-polar disorder is sexual risk-taking, which has the potential to damage a relationship. Below is a short list of a couple things you could try if you feel as though your mental illness is affecting your sex life:

  1. Talk to your healthcare professional, whether that be your doctor, psychologist – anyone that may be able to help, or point you in the right direction.
  2. Talk to your partner – communication is the most important part of a relationship, and communicating your concerns with your partner is always better than worrying about what they might think.
  3. Redefine what a ‘normal’ sex life is – a healthy sex life is one that both you and your partner are content with, which may be completely different from how others define it.
  4. Remember that successful relationships are about more than just sex; they’re about sharing a connection with your partner that extends beyond just physical needs.

 

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that there’s more to life and relationships than just sex. Whether or not you have a mental illness or not, sex can still be a very complicated topic and sometimes difficult to talk about, but that’s exactly why we need to.

If you feel as though your sex life is impacting upon your mental health, and are wanting to talk to someone about it, please don’t hesitate to contact us at BayPsych Consultants, either by phone on 3488 04830, or by email at admin@baypsych.com.au

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