Background: Sexual dysfunctions are common in depression but are often underreported and the misconceptions about sexual functioning are highly prevalent. Medications used to treat depression can also cause impairments in sexual functioning. Hence, we decided to study the prevalence and types of problems in sexual functioning, sexual myths, and misconceptions in depressed males and compare it with the general population, along with the changes in depression and sexual functioning after treatment with escitalopram.
Materials and methods: A total of 56 depressed males diagnosed as per the International Classification of Diseases 10 criteria and 60 males from the general population were recruited after their informed consent. Beck Depression Inventory, the Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale, the International Index of Erectile Functioning, and a questionnaire to assess myths and misconceptions were used for assessment. The patient group was treated with escitalopram and all the above scales were re-administered after 6 weeks.
Results: Most of the patients had mild-to-moderate grades of depression. Sexual dysfunctions were seen in 62.5% of the patient group. Significant differences were seen with decreased sexual desire, orgasmic problems, and overall dissatisfaction in the patient group. Depression was found to be significantly associated with sexual functioning. Myths about masturbation and penile size and shape were higher in the depressed population. After treatment with escitalopram, there was an improvement in depression and satisfaction with intercourse and overall sexual life.
Conclusions: Mental health-care professionals, must inquire regarding sexual functioning sensitively, ensure that they psycho-educate those with misconceptions, and be watchful for changes in sexual functioning when they prescribe antidepressants.
Keywords: Antidepressants; depressed males; male sexual dysfunctions; myths and misconceptions.