Sex and the Sedative: Is There a Price for Happiness?

A 1984 article in The Village Voice titled “Sex or a Sense of Humor?” was comprised of impromptu interviews with Greenwich Village types who were given a choice of (sic) giving up sex or their sense of humor. All but one chose to keep the chortles coming, which was cited as their only survival tactic in a sea of one night can’t stands. Besides, why choose?

An annual checkup with a General Practioner and affirmative answers to a 10 question true or false test (‘Have your sleeping habits changed?’, ‘Has your appetite increased/decreased’), can net patient prescriptions to antidepressants. According to the script info, after five days, most patients experience a noticeable lift in spirits. They become more outgoing, handle the stresses of work more easily, and their social life soars. In addition, it is non-addictive, cheap (with insurance coverage), legal, and readily accessible. Joan E. Lisante wriites in an article a potential 1.5 billion of the world’s population currently take antidepressants.

Yet many people lose all or most interest in sex, according to an article based on a survey in Psychology Today (“To Be or not to Be: Happy”) written by psychotherapist Dr. Laura Bailey. Halting intake of the drug has some mild side effects noticeably short-term dizziness.

Born to be Sad

Depression plagues some families. Previous remedies included talk psychology, vitamin therapy, and physical exercise. Physical exercise works best. According to scientists, the workout releases neurotransmitters, endorphins, and a consequent physiological accounting for euphoria. If relief for depression was as simple as a gym membership, why do people take antidepressants?

Neuroscientists speculate that some people are hard-wired genetically for certain types of behavior. Other factors include Intelligence Quotient, the way a person relates to his family, to authority and to his predestined depression. Add to this, the biggest marketing pool in the world, Baby Boomers, already comfortable with downing opiates in college dorms or Asian jungles, and there is a verifiable market pool that, with congruent advertising, continues to spike for many years to come.

The Spoiler

Can you imagine Samantha, Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte, of Sex and the City fame, in androgynous clothes, hairdos and, yes, clunker shoes playing Twister on a Saturday night and sipping Diet Coke?

It could happen.

Just as The Village Voice predicted 30 years ago, a person can have sex or she can have a sense of humor, but she cannot have both.