Hello, my name is Kesha. Back in 2016, i went to see a psychiatrist for social anxiety. I was never clinically diagnosed with the disorder, I sort of diagnosed myself because I always felt extremely anxious around others.
After my first visit, I was prescribed Zoloft 50mg. Two weeks after using the medication, I noticed that, whenever I would have sex with my husband, I wasn’t able to reach orgasm. This has never happened to me out of the 7 years we’ve been together. In my mind, I was thinking that maybe I was having a bad night or my body was tired. But then I began to notice that it was happening every time we’d have sex.
I began to panic when I noticed my genitals felt numb and I had absolutely no sensation down there. I would masturbate for hours without feeling a thing. I even loss sensation in my nipples. In the beginning, I didn’t realize it was the medication causing these issues until about month later when I began to connect the the dots.
At my follow up appointment, I spoke to the psychiatrist about what I was experiencing. He insisted to me that, with time, my sex life would return to normal. He ended up upping my dose from 50mg to 100 mg. I continued taking the pills until I realized I wasn’t getting better. Later on, I had another conversation with him about my issue. Again, he responded that I would get better with time and suggested upping my dose once more. I refused, and eventually stopped seeing him and quit taking the medication altogether.
Months went by, and I still didn’t know or understand why I could no longer feel pleasure. My orgasm and feelings never returned as promised. In fact, I was getting worse! But still, I held on to hope that, with time, I’d return to normal. After a year passed with no improvement, I began to research…..
One day, I typed in my search engine,- “Zoloft sexual side effects.” And then, I found it….. I stumbled across an online group of Zoloft users. There were hundreds of comments from people in this group who were experiencing the exact symptoms I was. Some, for many years after discontinuation! Finally, I had a name for my condition, PSSD ( post ssri sexual dysfunction):,-(
I was devastated reading the many stories of people suffering from this condition. And then, after realizing there wasn’t a cure for it hit me even harder. I was shocked that this was a real thing. Apart of me was in denial, but I new it was real because I was experiencing it!
Five years after using Zoloft for about 2 months, I have not returned to normal. I am still unable to orgasm, plus I have zero libido. There has been times where I had “windows” to when I’d feel in the mood for sex. I even felt like I could climax, but the feelings were short, pleasureless and muted.
I’ve seen numerous doctors and specialists hoping for an answer. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on treatments, creams, and supplements hoping to fix myself, but so far, nothing has worked. I was also surprised to find that most of doctors I’ve seen have never even heard of PSSD.
I feel so lost-and betrayed-and hopeless. I went to a professional for help, not to have my sexuality stolen from me. I was never depressed before using Zoloft. I had social anxiety due to a lack of self confidence. A pill couldn’t fix that. All I needed was talk therapy and self belief within. Now, I AM depressed because I lost a part of me that should have never been taken away. It hurts deeply to know that I will never fully have another chance to experience life as a whole. My human experience has been permanently altered and no one can tell me why.
Everyday I think about what’s happened to me and everyday I wake up filled with great sadness, anger, and regret. Everyday, I wish I’d never went to see that psychiatrist and everyday, I wish I’d never taken those pills. Everyday I morn the loss of my sexuality and wish very badly to have it back.
For years I kept this a secret from my husband and others because I was to ashamed and embarrassed to talk about it. I recently opened up to my him about what I have been experiencing and why I’ve lost interest in sex. I was forced to open up to him because he thought I’d lost interest in him. At first he didn’t believe me until he researched PSSD himself. This has devastated my marriage of 11 years. It’s hard being married with no desire for sex.
This whole experience has changed me as a person. I use to be positive, happy, and energetic despite my awkwardness. I use to be sexually in tune with my body and I felt sexy and loved every bit of my sexuality. Now, I’m none of those things. The joy of life has been sucked out of my existence and I no longer find pleasure in life anymore. It feels like I’m stuck in a bad dream. All I want is to be myself again and reconnect sexually with my husband. I so badly miss the burning desire and passion I had for him.
I’m finally at a point where I’m no longer afraid nor ashamed to talk about my condition. PSSD is a very real and very devastating condition for those of us experiencing it. I hope to one day be freed from this personal hell and I want the same for the other victims. Hopefully that day comes soon.
Originally published at https://www.pssd-uk.org on February 28, 2021.