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The Monster Under the Bed

Sex, Depression, and the Conversations We Aren’t Having
Publication Date: March 27, 2020

Foreword by Stephen Biggs, RP

Almost everyone has had some interaction with depression. Whether it’s you, a family member, a friend, or a partner who is affected, depression has the potential to touch us all. Even so, many of us don’t know how to handle depression becoming part of our love life and it can quickly become the monster under the bed.

From “you have to love yourself first,” to “don’t stick it in the crazy,” to dead silence, popular responses to the topic leave much to be desired. But you’re not alone and you can have successful relationships and satisfying sex with depression.

This exploration of how to navigate sex and relationships while coping with depression includes practical tips and real-life examples. Heavily informed by surveys and interviews with over 1,000 people, JoEllen Notte will help you understand how sexual function is affected by depression and what keeps us from effectively addressing it.

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  • “Notte gives great advice on how to communicate about your sexual feelings and needs, and the importance of rejecting old beliefs about yourself, your partner, about sex, and about depression in order to create a more satisfying sex life. She urges couples to talk openly and honestly with each other about what they are going through and what they are feeling, rather than making assumptions and trying to protect each other’s feelings… This book is also a very valuable resource for therapists, doctors, and other clinicians that treat clients struggling with depression.”

    —Kathy Labriola, counselor, nurse, and author of The Polyamory Breakup Book

  • “JoEllen Notte has the courage to talk about the thing that most of us try to sweep out of our writing and lives. She is engaging and passionate, clearly writing from the heart, and showcasing her vulnerability. By focusing on sex and depression, she gives us the opportunity to take a look at ourselves, and how these issues touch every one of us, and realize that having these conversations can help us all.”

    —Cooper Beckett, author of My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory and A Life Less Monogamous, host of Life on the Swingset podcast

  • “JoEllen has a unique way with words and is able to convey her points in a way that often leaves a lasting ‘zing’—in the very best way. She makes an impression and a lasting impact, and she can artfully intertwine snark with candor in a way that facilitates a quick connection with her audience, whether it be in-person or online. JoEllen recently has been tackling, researching, and writing about sex and depression, specifically how to navigate the unpredictability of mental illness while partnered, and is giving millions of people access to a trusted resource who not only understands them, but also wants to help reframe their experiences.”

    —Anne Hodder, ACS CEO, Lead Educator Hodder Media Inc., Sex-Positive Sex Ed with Anne

  • “JoEllen Notte takes taboo subjects, sex and depression, and makes them approachable for anyone ready to take the journey. With her wit, empathy, and knowledge, JoEllen makes it safe to people to explore their deepest pleasures and their biggest fears.”

    —Shadeen Francis, MFT

  • “JoEllen Notte is one of my favorite sex ed writers. I read what she has to say because not only does she tackle two of the most sensitive topics in our culture—sex and depression—but Ms. Notte informs and educates readers using her delicious wit. This makes the tough parts accessible; not easy to do with an often challenging subject. I appreciate the tips, knowledge, and advice she shares and one can easily see she is an expert on the topic.”

    —Lanae St. John, sexologist, author of Raising Sex Smart Kids, TheMamaSutra.net

  • “Like most people, I’m really uncomfortable talking about any mental health issues, let alone my own. Which is exactly what JoEllen Notte’s new book, The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression, and the Conversations We Aren’t Having, is about. Don’t let the title fool you though. Yes, the book is the intersection of sex and depression, but JoEllen has so many good points to make about depression and general, that I think everyone should read it.”

    —Septimus Reviews

  • “JoEllen is, as far as I’m concerned, a leading authority on the intersections between sex and depression. Her work both fascinates me as a sex nerd and comforts me as a depressed person. Not nearly enough people are having the kinds of conversations JoEllen facilitates, so I consider her work vitally important. She makes sex and mental health an accessible, interesting, and thought-provoking topic, whether she’s writing thoughtfully on her blog or elucidating cleverly on a panel. Her work makes me feel less alone, and I know I’m far from the only one she’s affected in that way.”

    —Kate Sloan, sex journalist, blogger, co-host of The Dildorks podcast

  • “JoEllen is making it possible to talk and think about sex and depression in new ways. Depression can affect every aspect of a life, including, perhaps especially, sex. Through her outspoken advocacy, and independent, ground breaking, research, she is shining a light on an issue that affects millions.”

    —Jacq Jones, sex educator, owner of Sugar

  • “JoEllen’s work is a true gift to us all. The impact of depression and mental health on sexuality is a vitally urgent topic and JoEllen is bravely and brilliantly leading the conversation. JoEllen’s own immense intelligence is matched by her dedication to gathering the stories and data from thousands of people affected by depression. She asks bold questions, gathers compelling research, and then offers us effective strategies and resources. I know I am among a legion of sex educators, therapists, and wellness professionals ready and eager to recommend JoEllen’s upcoming book to our audiences. Her writing is relevant for all of us, but is revolutionary for the millions of us that both struggle with mental wellness and want a vibrant healthy sexuality. Our interview with JoEllen has emerged as one of our most popular and provocative episodes. We still receive emails about it years later, revealing the need and hunger for her work.”

    —Chris Maxwell Rose, sex educator at PleasureMechanics.com

  • “JoEllen Notte began an important conversation about mental health and sexual health when practically no one was talking about it. She has led the way in expanding public dialogues about the intersection of these very important issues with her thoughtful writing and presentations based on her groundbreaking original research. JoEllen dared to speak about a topic no one else would and has changed the way we think about sex and depression. Her work is, quite simply, invaluable.”

    —Tristan Taormino, sex educator, host of Sex Out Loud Radio, and author of Opening Up

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