Sexually Confused or Chemically Imbalanced Cosmopolitan

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May 13, 2020 | 24 Comments


  1. The same type of problem, in addition to having different severity of symptoms, could be bothersome for one person and extremely dramatic for another.
    Someone could die for something that another does not care about at all.
    People themselves can devise different ways and ideas to save themselves from the sense of tragedy and get on with life somehow.
    For example, there are those who believe that by relying on god and praying, will heal, and that calms them down.
    Those who are convinced of the power of a certain type of diet or holistic remedy and recommend it to anyone who has a problem without even investigating what the problem is.
    Those who say, “as long as you think about it, you can’t heal! (I’d be curious to rip off his limb to see how he’ll grow it back by distracting himself with other things).
    I know some people who have PSSD for years but not very heavy, who have made compromises and prefer to say that they have now simply become “demisexual”.
    Someone with PSSD who has lost his sexual sensitivity may need to turn his sexual habits into some sexual deviance that was not part of him and could be comforted to know that “he is not alone”.
    Now I have also discovered that someone who has become anorgasmic because of the antidepressant perhaps calms down if begins to believe that orgasm is not so important.
    I don’t see the article only intended to discredit us; different points of view are brought into the stories: tragedy and “hope”; sexual dysfunction from depression (which some actually experience) and potentially permanent iatrogenic sexual dysfunction and the actual confusion to distinguish them that by a clinician, by an outsider, there may be.
    I would have chosen different points of view to present the problem of PSSD in its severity to a wide audience. But maybe a Cosmopolitan wouldn’t have been able to do it and, perhaps, between no article and this, better to have it.. However, I am probably naive about certain propaganda strategies.

  2. Couldn’t there be an opportunity here for all who suffer PSSD or PGAD to write to Cosmopolitan explaining their experiences, and detailing the causes as they see them? At the same time, of course, mentioning the Rxisk Prize Campaign and its needs and merits!

    • Seems to me of little use to privately instruct the Cosmopolitan team with our stories. We could turn to other well-known magazines for the publication of a better article. Women’s Health has 8 million followers on FB (Cosmopolitan 10 million), I wrote to them, explaining the topic PSSD and PGAD, saying that there was availability for interviews of patients and doctors, but without an answer. Maybe others would be more successful. Other magazines?

  3. Derek Jones, a film producer and one of our RoAccutane bereaved parents’ group, did get a piece in Cosmo about his sin Jesse’s PRSD some years ago. It turned out as nuanced as this one. I think like everyone else, Cosmo are watching their financial backs, just like the BBC. They are interested enough to run the article but scared of Pharma’s stranglehold everywhere. At least every such article will be read by others with our experience. I do loathe the way though that the doctor is rolled out to have the last word, to put the reassuring lid on things, so to speak.

  4. Sounds like a good idea Mary! Even if none of these are printed, they may have an impact. Or maybe there’s a celebrity, fashion designer or writer with ties to the magazine that we could appeal to. (Not to mention, we could publish a couple of the best ones right here … )

    To me the story seems carefully crafted to “air out” or “discuss” the problem while nimbly bringing us back to a pro-drug perspective. First they pick an author who says anti-depressants Saved Her Life — they cured her of awful depression, self-harm and OCD. She may be 100% sincere in this, but she is in a minority. Most users will not feel their problems solved or their lives transformed to anything near this degree, and so can’t tell themselves that any sexual impairment is “worth it.”

    Second, the author’s problems are relatively mild. Basically, she finds orgasms elusive or difficult — but she still likes sex, and her relationship with her man is still strong. So they can carry on happily for half an hour while waiting for her to orgasm, and keep “experimenting” with vibrators, lubes and such until her body adjusts by itself. She mentions in passing that some folks have far worse symptoms – but we don’t hear much about them. No emotional numbing, no broken relationships, no loss of interest in sex and romance in general. Those problems are left for the “expert” to discuss – as symptoms of Depression Itself, not side effects of the pills.

    We’re left with the idea that any sexual side-effects of antidepressants are limited to “mechanical” or “performance” problems (erections and orgasms). And sexuality is so much more than that, right? With a little love and ingenuity, we can find alternate ways of making each other happy! This is a very popular point of view with women in general, who often wish men were a bit less fixated on performance and getting across arbitrary goal lines.

    So the woman who is not on these pills will be happy to learn that the problem is not terrible. In fact, it’s not too different from the relationship problems she has dealt with from time to time! She needn’t be afraid of these meds, should she ever need them, and needn’t worry if a daughter, sister or friend starts taking them.

    In the process she gets another dose of the real Cosmo Philosophy, which is a “saucy, fun” variant on a very old lesson: Problems with sex and relationships are a woman’s responsibility, and any woman who “can’t” solve them on her own simply isn’t working hard enough.

    • This is so well written and thought through Johanna. And you are bang on the money when you refer to leaving the tricky stuff to the ‘expert’ to sort out. The expert here (as everywhere) being the universally acclaimed ‘fount of all knowledge’, the DOCTOR. So often the doctor is treated like royalty. Whatever he/she says, goes. Who would dare to contradict or gainsay what the doctor says, we all genuflect (well, not those of us in the know, from hard won experience) to them like they are God, or like Moses hopping along from the Burning Bush with the Truth for us all to swallow. So in this Cosmo article, they are the magazine’s get out of jail card.

      And yet for so many, the doctor is key to mental imprisonment, pushing us into a jail we don’t see coming, a jail of our own making because of this mad deference to doctors. In so many Asian families, the children are encouraged to become doctors. I guess many do have an early wish to help and cure etc, but the parents are well aware that a career in medicine is a passport to esteem, power, money and position. And their hardworking kids are encouraged to go for it. This is not meant to be in any way racist, it’s just stating a fact, and we can see from TV coverage how many doctors there are of many different nationalities working here, but sadly many Asian ones seem to be dying, out of proportion with non-ethnic doctors. My point is that these ethnic families KNOW what an advantage being a doctor confers. Their children are exhorted to study hard and gain that advantage. We must see that many doctors of all creeds and origins are really good well intentioned people who do study extra hard and put in time and effort which brings them this advantage, but it DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY make them god-like. We must be aware that they do NOT know everything.

      The answer…. ‘listen to the patient, he will give you the diagnosis’ -Sir William Osler – oft quoted here, and rightly. Cosmo doesn’t see this, maybe. But they need this pointing out to them, with gusto. Nor do their financial backers. Whoever they are….

  5. Inner Compass Initiative has a new facebook group, Inner Compass Conversations, where Laura Delano goes live weekly, usually with a guest to discuss matters pertaining to challenges with psychiatric drugs and withdrawal. Tomorrow (Saturday) there will be a discussion on how medications affect sexuality. From the comments I’ve seen on the post, those with longstanding problems with PSSD may be underrepresented in the discussion. So if anyone here is interested in adding to that discussion here is a link. Perhaps there will be other PSSD sufferers attending who would appreciate hearing of the important work Rxisk is doing in this area.

  6. SSRI’s and other medications, disrupt the regulatory systems in the body.
    Apart from inflicting damage to certain areas of the brain, they can also disrupt and may permanently damage the electrical synapses of the brain.
    Some induce violence, aggression and suicidal ideation which may be further amplified by other meds.
    Experience tells me that these meds combined with other meds, can induce a whole host of issues to the central nervous system and immune system.

    I also can understand and appreciate that certain antibiotics can induce system lupus and other immune deficiency disorders.
    This is why serious drug withdrawals, never show up on any tests.
    Serious symptoms could be misdiagnosed for some other health issue.
    I believe those who have had adverse impacts by medicines, carry more weight than flawed clinical data trials. ~This I know!

  7. See update to the post. Have the Dutch government opened a door to anyone on SSRIs or post SSRIs asking for guidance on what they might do in the current pandemic circumstances?

  8. IMHO… these doctors who shift the blame from the SSRIs onto the “symptoms of depression” are incredibly ignorant people. There is far more than enough peer reviewed evidence to show beyond any shadow of a doubt that SSRIs have profound sexual side effects in the majority who take them within a certain dosage range; furthermore, there is more than enough evidence to show that a large portion of these people will have long lasting/permanent problems. The genital anesthesia caused by PSSD (especially in my case) is so profound and obvious that I can quickly become very angry when someone tries to shift the blame on something else (especially if they try to shift the blame onto my mindset). It is not very difficult at all to distinguish the difference from PSSD and depression. Depressive or anxious episodes may cause a temporary decrease in sex drive but that’s about it… PSSD is not merely a temporary decrease in sex drive… it is a far more CONSISTENT decrease that is often accompanied with much more severe symptoms such as pleasureless orgasms, genital anesthesia, erectile dysfunction, etc etc. It is very easy to distinguish the difference and yet you still have doctors who claim that depression is usually the main cause and that it is hard to distinguish between the two. It’s absolute bologna. If you ask me it’s nothing more than damage control. They are trying to make the drugs seem less responsible than they actually are so that they don’t have to own up to the countless lives they have destroyed.

    Also, if you don’t mind me asking… why is it that you don’t seem convinced of “conspiracy” like ideas when it comes to these topics. If you ask me there is more than enough evidence to suspect a conspiracy. These drugs (SSRIs and certain antipsychotics) are used as a form of punishment for sex offenders and they are prescribed to children and young adults in similar dosages (sometimes even the exact same dosage).

    There has been peer reviewed data suggesting SSRIs may have long term sexual side effects since like 1991, and they are also used to punish sex offenders. I have even seen you say that pharma companies know what kinds of problems people will have on their drugs (as it’s in their data) whilst simultaneously denying that you could have that problem out in public.
    So the government obviously knows how much these drugs damage your sexuality (it’s almost as if they’re designed to do so). The fact that it’s in the data and that they use them to punish sex offenders means that they HAVE TO KNOW that it has these effects, and yet they simultaneously prescribe the same drugs to children and young adults with no warnings? Furthermore, the children and adults that are most commonly targeted by these substances are ones with disabilities or mental health problems…. I mean come on what more evidence do you need of conspiracy. Ive kept up with many Rxisk posts and have seen most of not all of your lectures yet you never seem to touch on this subject. Why is it that you never mention the governments knowledge of these effects? Why is it that you never mention that these drugs are used to punish sex offenders whilst simultaneously being given to innocent children and young adults?? Are you afraid of coming across as “too conspiracy”? This is something I have been wondering for awhile now…

  9. Sadly, most people don’t die from a disease(s).
    They die from drug induced problems.
    Just like SSRI’s induce sexual issues, they can also induce Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.

    Does genetics honestly play a role with many diseases?
    Once you connect the dots and learn from the patients drug history, you may be surprised what is causing a persons angst.
    Clinicians have known about this for a long time and if the culture does not change we are giving Western Medicine more power to do unnecessary harm.
    Perhaps the sedatives that elderly are being given are causing many unnecessary falls, also.

  10. are there any other iatrogenic conditions to whom there are cures for ? Or are all types of iatrogenic conditions considered permanent ?

  11. SB….. Very damning information…
    The third reference clearly states that SSRIs can especially help knacker female and adolescent libido as quote the previous drugs were targeting ‘testosterone’.
    I know someone who was prescribed Citalopram by their GP to affect a decrease in libido…

  12. It should never get to iatrogenic in the first place, Adam!
    Perhaps, there should be charges made against those who carelessly ‘carry on’ with exploitive prescribing habits and dangerous procedures, especially to patients who are vulnerable.
    IDK what makes some clinicians so obsessed in ruining lives or inducing unnecessary suffering.~ Must be a sadist trait of some clinicians!

  13. I notice that no one had discussed the flip side of the sexual side effects coin here. Ten years after finishing Effexor-XR, I still look back at the overly sexualised person it made of me and just don’t want to know her. I don’t recognise that person. The overwhelming sense of shame means have not had the courage to have a relationship since. If a man even reaches out to hold my hand, I shrink away. Still have tardive dystonia too, so I continue to live with multiple impacts on my life. I don’t dwell on them, but in this forum, am prepared to state what is fact.

  14. Cosmopolitan, or Cosmo as it is referred too tends to be aimed at 18-26 year old women. Successful women who like to look good, feel good and do well.
    Cosmo woman has it all : Looks, a great body, great Career, great sex, great partner …..
    Taking an SSRI is likely to affect her sexuality, and or her partners, so what can she or he do?
    Amy is struggling to be orgasmic but hey that is NOT the drug manufacturers problem. If she tries hard enough and is as ‘ Stubborn as a ‘horny’ Mule ???? things will be ok.
    Meanwhile Kyle blithers on about other types of sex ‘Non vaginal ‘ ? Presumably he is alluding to mutual masturbation, oral sex and or anal sex. Kyle notes that 75% of women fail to orgasm via vagina sex. This is well known to Cosmo girl, who usually is a big fan of sex toys and cunnilingus ( Probably not a big fan of anal sex ) I suspect SSD or PSSD affects all erogenous zones….so just what is other types of sex ?
    Not responding to visual, oral, manual, and or vagina stimulation is an humiliating experience. for anyone: Male, Female, Hetro, Gay, Bi Trans, .
    A few months ago Frankie Bridge, a well know celebrity who used to be in a girl band and is married to a premier footballer told her 1 million plus Twitter fans that having been on 10 different anti-depressants, she had lost her libido. She was worried that hubbie might think it was him, but assured us it was the pills. But as quote ‘she would be on them for life ( Frankie is 31) what choice did she have?’
    Amy, Frankie, Kyle describe depression pills as brilliant and life saving,? so much so that it seems sexual dysfunction is a price worth paying,
    Where is the outrage ? Depriving even a sex offender of their libido is a human rights issue. After the war Alan Turing one of our greatest minds was offered prison or chemical castration simply because he was homosexual. He reluctantly accepted chemical castration. he subsequently took his own life…..Plenty of 21st Century outrage…….

    I would like to see a good-looking celebrity champion the RXISK prize. Well done L and others for sharing such insightful information……..

  15. The Dutch clearly have an understanding as to how important sex is too most people’s emotional and physical well being.
    would that they were as vociferous about those that manufacture and promote a product that violates this most basic of human rights.

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