What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet Could be Affecting Your Sex Life?Pharmacology has been a wonder keeping us alive and healthy way into the late stages of life. However, no drugs work 100 percent the way they should no matter if the drug is a prescription, illegal, or over the counter medication.

Side effects, often includes things like:

  • anal leakage
  • muscle aches
  • headaches
  • drowsiness

Some drugs can affect the sexual response, and if you are having problems in the bedroom, the problem may not be you but what’s lurking in your medicine cabinet.

Medication can vastly impact the mechanics of the body

Take Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) for example. These are one of the most prescribed classes of anti-depressant medication around. The sexual side effects will have an impact upon 80 percent of patients prescribed SSRI’s (Rosen, Lane, Menza, 1999).

They are effective in making your blues go away but some of the most common side effects are:

  • sexual dysfunctions like erectile issues
  • low libido
  • vaginal dryness
  • delayed ejaculation
  • inability to orgasm
  • vaginal pain

What drugs cause sexual side effects?

SSRI’s are just one of the many classes of drugs that can limit a person sexually.  Other classes of drugs that can cause sexual side effect in men and women are:

  • Blood Pressure Medications
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Various Cancer Medications
  • Cholesterol Medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Anxiety Medication
  • Antihistamines
  • Heart burn medications like Zantac
  • Pain medications
  • Nicotine
  • Alcohol
  • Cold medications

Most of you reading this have taken something off this list at least once. Sexual side effects are common like nausea or drowsiness and many medications affect sexual function in some way or another.

We often take these medications without a thought and have a sexual dysfunction never tying the two together. We blame many things but not medication. Even if you do blame the medication, its not like you can stop taking your blood pressure medication because you will die.

So what can one do?

For starters, talk to your doctor about the possible side effects you are experiencing, perhaps there is a different drug you can take. One thing to keep in mind is just because you experience a side effect in one brand of medication in a class of drug, doesn’t mean all will give you the same side effects.

For example, SSRI medication have several brands like Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, and Celexa. Say you are prescribed Zoloft take the pill and few days or months later you can no longer get an erection or struggle to climax. It does not mean that if you take Prozac instead you will get the same side effects.

For women treating the side effects medically is limited. For men PDE-5 inhibitors (like Viagra) can be prescribed barring health limitations of course to curb the side effects.

There are ways that require no change in medical treatment at all. Changing sex to fit your current life conditions is the key to a life long good sex life. A person sexually changes as they age; great sex, over time, requires adaptation. Medical issues are one such change.

Here are some tips and facts that can help improve sex lives when medical issues get in the way.

  1. Use lube!
    Lube can prevent vaginal and penile pain and injury. Stimulation of anyone’s genitals with unlubricated devices or skin can result in injury, bleeding, and pain. There are many choices of lubricants around, for finding the one that is best for you check out “Slippery When Wet: What You Need To Know About Lube”.
  2. Men do not necessarily need an erection to orgasm.
    Erection, orgasm, and ejaculation are three separate bodily functions. With no sacrifice of pleasure of any kind a man can orgasm with a flaccid penis.
  3. Sex does not have to mean vaginal intercourse.
    An important distinction because referring to sex as vaginal intercourse only, it devalues other sexual behaviors as not sex. We see vaginal intercourse has been taught as the only real form of sex. For procreative sex that is absolutely true vaginal sex is the only way to have procreative is vaginally. People can live great sexual lives and never have vaginal intercourse. Variety is the spice of life narrowly looking at sex as just one thing options and variety is limited.
  4. Slow Down, penetration does need to happen you have an erection.
    Foreplay for men and women will allow the body to be fully aroused before penetration occurs, loosing the arousal could be become less likely. Physiological arousal (AKA Erection and vaginal lubrication/tenting) can wax and wane like the moon during sexual encounters. Meaning that it’s a normal thing that happens. Once you return to stimulation the arousal should return. The reason many cannot regain the arousal, after it wanes, is panic. So breathe, refocus, and remember you can still orgasm even if you cannot regain the lubrication or erection.
  5. Schedule time for sex no matter what.
    Often we get discouraged and anxious about sex when we are not working or just are never in the mood. Being sexual is important for couples and often the mood will come after the sexual encounter begins.

Have more questions about the sexual side effects of medication? Contact us today.

Resources

Rosen RC1, Lane RM, Menza M. (1999) Effects of SSRIs on sexual function: a critical review. J Clinc Psychopharmacol. 1999 Feb;19(1):67-85.

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