Depression and Sexual Functioning

It has long been assumed that depression impairs sexual functioning. To date, studies have focused on global aspects of sexual functioning and the interpretation of findings is often confounded by antidepressant use among respondents. Results from a study comparing women with depressive symptoms with non depressed women (Frohlich & Meston, 2002) indicated, as expected, depressed women reported more impaired arousal, orgasm and sexual pain, and less sexual satisfaction and pleasure than did non depressed women. Novel to this study, depressed women reported greater desire for sexual activity alone (i.e., masturbation) than non depressed women reflecting, perhaps, a desire to engage in self-soothing behavior.

Recommended paper: 

Frohlich, P., & Meston, C. (2002). Sexual functioning and self‐reported depressive symptoms among college women. Journal of Sex Research, 39(4), 321-325. (PDF 990 KB)