Dear Wendy: “I Can’t Climax On My Meds”

I’m a 25-year-old single woman with diagnosed clinical depression. I received this diagnosis about five years ago and have been on the same medication off and on since. It has many side effects, but one of the most frustrating is that it kills my ability to orgasm. I still have a healthy libido and enjoy sex, but the big finish just doesn’t happen. Obviously that’s a medical issue, not a relationship issue, but my question is: how do I handle this when I’m with a new guy? For most of the last five years I was in a long relationship, so he knew about it when I did. But now I’m interested in someone new and don’t know what to do. Should I fake it? I don’t want to mislead anyone but I worry that if I disclose the situation he won’t be interested in me. Maybe he’ll think, “What’s the fun in getting off with someone who can’t get off at all?” Also, I don’t necessarily want to discuss my illness with someone I’m only seeing casually. FYI: I’ve considered switching meds, but I don’t want to change something that works very well for me, and the medication I’m on actually has the lowest instance of sexual side effects of any on the market; I’m just part of the very unlucky 0 percent of the population. — No O

First of all, do not fake it! That’s about the worse thing you can do. Sooner or later the guy you’re sleeping with is going to figure out you aren’t coming and it’s going to be much more awkward to come clean (no pun intended) or to keep lying. What you need to do is speak to your doctor about the possibility of trying different medications. Everyone’s body reacts differently to drugs and what doesn’t work for other people may work for you and vice versa. You may fall in the “very unlucky 0.5 percent” who experience sexual side effects of your current meds, but maybe you’d fall in the lucky 0.5 percent who don’t experience any sexual side effects on another medication. You need to discuss your options with your doctor(s).

If this turns out to be a side effect you continue to experience, you should be honest with the person/people you’re seeing and let them know you’re on a medication that has some sexual side effects he may or may not notice. You don’t have to tell them what the medication is for — if he asks, you can say “it’s private,” but I’ll be happy to tell you if we become more serious — and if he presses you about specific side effects, you can simply tell him you may not respond to stimulation as dramatically as other women but it doesn’t mean you don’t like sex or aren’t enjoying yourself — that, in fact, you like it very much. The key is to be somewhat vague until you trust a person more, without lying or withholding important information.

I am completely in love with my boyfriend of two and a half years. He and I have had it rough, mostly due on my part in the beginning where I took him for granted and would be rather mean to him. I would break up with him over the smallest things because I was selfish and couldn’t see how much he cared about me and because I didn’t initially take him seriously. I hurt him, and we’re still together, but he has now fallen out of love with me and tells me he doesn’t think he could ever fall back in love with me. Is there anything I can do to get him to fall back in love with me? Have I been so selfish that this is no longer salvageable? — Looking For Another Chance

It sounds like you really did a number on your boyfriend and if he’s telling you he fell out of love and he can’t imagine ever falling back in love with you, he probably means that. If you’ve been selfish for over two years, you saying you’re ready to change is probably too little too late. You know, sometimes it’s best to simply learn from our mistakes, vow to do better the next time, and move on. Take what you learned in this relationship — which is probably irreparable at this point — and apply it to your next relationship. Be a better person; don’t take the people in your life for granted. Maybe some day in the future, after your boyfriend sees you truly have changed, you might earn a second chance with him. But don’t count on it and don’t press it if it’s not what he wants. You’ve done enough to the guy.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”}.