Sex as leisure in the shadow of depression

Liza Berdychevsky, Galit Nimrod, Douglas A. Kleiber, Heather J. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a freely chosen activity intended to generate pleasure and enjoyment, sex is an important human experience associated with a sense of "normality" and well-being. However, depression and antidepressants are typically associated with decreased libido and diminished sexual functioning. Drawing upon netnography and constructivist grounded theory, this study explored how sex is perceived and experienced by people with depression who participate in on-line depression communities. Analysis identified five themes dealing with sex, antidepressants, relationships, loving oneself and others, and sex as a resource for coping. Demonstrating that sex loses its qualities as a leisure activity, the findings suggested a complex and multidimensional paradox of sex as leisure in coping with depression, which involves not only individuals with depression but also their significant others.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)47-73
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Leisure Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Constraints
  • Coping
  • Online depression communities
  • Relationships
  • Sex

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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