Over the years I’ve written about a lot of sex-related topics but sex and depression is the one that is closest to my heart. Since 2012 I’ve been exploring the impact depression and its treatment can have on sexual function and relationships and something I noticed early on was that an issue that loomed as large as the impact of depression itself was the silence surrounding the issue. The intersection of two taboo topics, sex and depression seemed to be something a lot of people would prefer not to discuss, leaving the people affected by it feeling lonely, unheard, and hopeless. In 2014 I started researching the topic in earnest, launching a first-of-its-kind survey to gather information, ask questions and give voice to an issue that affects so many people.
I am not a doctor or a therapist. I am a writer and sex educator and I am committed to challenging stigma, offering resources, and helping folks feel seen, heard, and supported.
On this page you will find links to all of my sex and mental health-related content: Articles, podcast appearances, panel discussions, tips on writing about the topic, quotes and references in the media, even some of my favorite resources. You can use the links below to jump right to the section that interests you or scroll down to see everything!
Sex and Depression: A Sex Educator Explores Her Own Diagnosis – OC87 Recovery Diaries
After years of writing about the subject of depression I, for the first time since 2012, wrote in detail about my own experience with it.
It’s hard enough to navigate depression and maintain a sex life, add ridiculous (and way too frequently repeated) misconceptions to the situation and it can feel impossible. Let’s stop with that, shall we?
Sharing some quotes from my interviews, I looked at what some people with depression think their doctors need to know when it comes to sex.
I’m revisiting the topic of ways you can work around sexual side effects- and stuff that can help. This one was for MetroUK so all my recommendations are available outside of the US.
It can be hard to know how to support our partners and tempting to got into “fix-it” mode. Here’s why you don’t want to do that and what to do instead.
On World Health Day I hopped over to the BBC to talk to partners about navigating depression, finding support, and how you may be helping even if you don’t realize it.
Adult Toys & Products For Navigating Sexual Side Effects – Peepshow Toys
Sometimes medications affect our sexual function. If you want to have your meds and your pleasure too there are things you can try to outsmart the side effects and get back to getting down.
Our world can be brutal when you’ve got a mental illness but there are some things we can all do to make it a bit less challenging for people who are struggling.
I saw a terrible therapist for YEARS, ignoring multiple cues that it was time to go. Want to avoid my fate? I want that for you too, read on!
When your partner is dealing with depression it can be hard to know what to do. These 5 steps that can help it make a bit more sense.
Let’s Talk About Sex And Depression – Bitch Media
I talk women, sex, depression & my first-of-its-kind survey for Bitch Media.
Another shooting another debate about the mentally ill. Today I want to take the image of mental illness back from the guys with the guns.
When people do horrible things there’s often a rush to label them “crazy”. Here’s why that’s a problem and how to still bitch about them without doing it.
When we feel gross it can be hard to treat ourselves well. I’ve got some strategies
What Exactly Are Sexual Side Effects Anyway? – Kinkly.com
We hear a lot about the “sexual side effects” of antidepressants, but what does that mean? I lay it out.
Sex When You’re Depressed- Don’t “Just Do It”
It’s awesome that more people are talking about depression- it’s less awesome that I keep seeing articles telling people with depression & low libido to “just do it”. I offered a different perspective.
Sometimes depression can suck the sexy right out of you which can be even more depressing. I have some ideas for dealing with that.
The relationship between sex and depression is a topic that is close to my heart- This piece showed that a lot of folks feel the same way.
The sex and depression piece that started it all. After I talked about my sexual side effects, a lot of people started talking to me about theirs.
In this episode, Andrew talks with JoEllen Notte; well known researcher, mental health advocate and writer about the linkages between sex, depression and disability. They talk about how she manages her depression, whether or not she believes depression is a disability, and so much more.
Brown Chicken Brown Cow- Sex and Depression with JoEllen Notte
August 28, 2017
In this episode, Monkey and HethreBeth interview JoEllen Notte. JoEllen is a noted writer, speaker, researcher, and mental health advocate. We talk about the intersection of mental health and sexuality. It is a good conversation about a serious subject but if you or someone you know and love manages their mental health this episode and can give you and them tools to think about mental health and sexuality in a new way.
JoEllen Notte joins Camille to discuss her research into the intersection of these two stigmatised topics. Discussion includes:
- What effects can depression have on someone’s sex life?
- What the hell are “sexual side effects” when it comes to antidepressants?
- Why doesn’t the medical and pharmaceutical community see this as a “quality of life issue”?
JoEllen discusses the impact of depression and its treatments on sexual function and relationships. She also discusses her original research and offers tips and strategies for navigating relationships when depression is part of the equation.
Sex on the Brain- Sex & Depression
January 12, 2017
JoEllen Notte dives into her research on depression and how mental illness and medication can impact our sex lives and our relationships. She also debunks depression myths, offers important advice for partners of people living with depression, and emphasizes how none of us are broken.
This week on Sex City
August 9, 2016
“Cordelia has the pleasure of interviewing JoEllen Notte. Since 2014 JoEllen’s been doing extensive research on sex and depression. She’s just finished presenting at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, and I’m looking forward to chatting with her.”
Between the Sheets with Lora Somoza- “Sex & Depression”
March 21, 2016
This week on Between the Sheets with Lora Somoza: We’re having a frank discussion about Sex and Depression. What are the signs? How can you help yourself or your partner? What are the common pitfalls and misconceptions? Tune in for the answers. You never know when you or a loved one may need them. Sex educator JoEllen Notte and comedian Adam Carl join Lora for a very informative conversation.
Millions of people struggle with chronic depression – and all of them have a sexuality. Yet the relationship between sex and depression is rarely discussed. On this podcast episode, JoEllen Notte shares her wisdom about sex and depression.
Sex Nerd Sandra- SEX & DEPRESSION WITH THE REDHEAD BEDHEAD!
March 29, 2015
CONFESSIONS, LIBIDO & GENITALS! Sandra comes clean with pal Rachael for support. Then, JoEllen Notte, a.k.a. The Redhead Bedhead, shares findings about this invisible illness and how it intersects with sex as she prepares to write her upcoming book “Monster Under the Bed.”
JoEllen talks about the impact depression can have on one’s sex life (and some fun toys stuff too!) with the Raw Sex crew.
JoEllen talks with Bianca Palmisano as part of Intimate Health Consulting’s 2017 Sex Ed-vent Calendar
Crista Anne and I take on a problematic practice in the sex and depression conversation.
Sex and depression went viral and I shared some thoughts about writing on the topic responsibly.
These are someone of my favorite resources for getting partners on the same page and for feeling less alone when dealing with depression.
How To Help Someone With Depression by Steven Skoczen – In my opinion this is possibly the best piece written on this topic to date.
Depression Quest– A video game designed to recreate the depression experience. It sounds terrible but is actually a phenomenal resource for partners of people dealing with depression.
Hyperbole and a Half – Comics that discuss the depression experience openly and honestly.
Robot Hugs– More comics. Shorter pieces that break down individual parts of the depression experience. Great for “this is what’s happening RIGHT NOW” explanation.
Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life
by Emily Nagoski Ph.D.
If you want to understand how and why depression affects sexual function, learn about the science of sex. Not specifically depression-related, this wonderfully thorough and delightfully accessible book is a must read for anyone who wants a better understanding of sex.
Sex For Smart People– Episode 27: Get Rid of the Idea That Sex Can Be Easy