Sex Gets Real with Dawn Serra podcast

301: Sex and depression with JoEllen Notte

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tl;dr JoEllen Notte is here to help us explore depression, relationships, and how depression and mental health can impact sex and desire, plus connecting during a pandemic.

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Patrons who support at $3 and above, this week you get to hear a bonus chat between JoEllen and I on this cultural idea that people with depression are essentially asexual, desexualized humans and what JoEllen actually found in all of her research plus looking at sex as an a la carte menu versus a buffet. (And Eeyore masturbating totally gets talked about.) Hear it at

In this episode, JoEllen and I talk about her new book, "The Monster Under the Bed" which is all about sex, depression, and relationships.

We talk about how the entire world is coping and struggling with depression, anxiety, panic, and trying to survive the unknown. How normal it is to be feeling numb and disconnected while also feeling more emotional and tender.

We explore how being in close quarters with a partner can lead to a reckoning with our relationships, important questions to ask ourselves during these times when we're wondering if our relationship is the problem or just how terrible things are in general and how to tease out whether it's the person or the relationship.

JoEllen and I share some of the catastrophizing stories our brains like to tell us and ways we cope, plus communicating our mental health needs with a partner and why context matters SO much when it comes to our libido and pleasure.

JoEllen also cannot stress enough how important it is to read Emily Nagoski's "Come As You Are" if you haven't already.

Be sure to send in your questions! I would love to hear from you. Use the contact form at

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About JoEllen Notte:

JoEllen Notte is a certified sex educator, writer, speaker, sexuality researcher, and mental health advocate. She blogs at The Redhead Bedhead and has been published by the BBC, Glamour, Bitch Media, xoJane, and Kinkly. JoEllen's book The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression, and the Conversations We Aren't Having will be released on March 27, 2020.

Stay in touch with JoEllen at and get a copy of The Monster Under the Bed at your favorite local bookstore.

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Episode Transcript


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