Drug makers have long bemoaned the list of negative side effects while taking the older tricyclic antidepressants (the most prevalent of which were a feeling of “dry mouth”, drowsiness, upset stomach or constipation). None of those side effects are good things to have to deal …

16 Comments to
Sexual Side Effects of Antidepressants

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  1. Docs need to ASK about the sexual side effects the same as they ask about constipation. They need to make it a part of each session in order to help patients become more comfortable talking about this issue. This goes for PCP’s as well as psychiatrists.

    Psychiatrists also need to ask BEFORE prescribing for a baseline. And they need to understand if the patient would like to improve their sexual resposiveness as part of regaining their health. Doctors need to get over their shyness/fears in order to help patients achieve fuller lives.

    em

  2. In my opinion, this is part of what enhances the placebo effect of antidepressant medications. This is based on Cognitive Dissonnance theory. In order to justify the suffering of the side effects, the patient/client will come to believe, “But it’s really worth it, because it is so beneficial.” So, what I am saying is that negative side effects actually enhance the perceived benefit (and actual benefit) of the medication in terms of reduction of symptoms of depression. Patients don’t have to feel like they were “fooled” by thinking that the drugs were effective, but they can marvel at the strength of their beliefs in curbing their difficulties with depression. It’s really incredible how beliefs can affect biology.

  3. I think people could do themselves a favor and always ask their doc before starting any new medication — “Hey, what kind of common side effects should I expect with this medication?”

    If someone has asked a doc about the expected side effects for a SSRI antidepressant and wasn’t told about the possible sexual side effects, I’d love to hear about it. Post your experiences here… Thanks!

  4. Amen!

    I’m happy to say I can’t post an experience. I hear about side effects from my doc, then have the chance to ask questions and decide whether the potential side effects are worth the potential benefits to me (including the sexual side effects of Zoloft before I started a brief course about 10 years ago).

    If ever I had a wish for others, it’s to have a clone of him in their lives. If ever I had a sadness, it’s that most people don’t.

  5. I have been seen by numerous psychiatrists and have been prescribed several antidepressants. NONE of the psychiatrists forewarned me of possible sexual side effects. When one psychiatrist suggested I take prozac—I refused because I had taken it before and it caused me some sexual problems. When I told the psychiatrist this, she said, “maybe sex is not really that important.”

  6. I have never been on antidepressants but my boyfriend takes zoloft and he has no sexual desire at all any more it has been very hard for us in our relationship and our age does not help any because we are not that old.

  7. I remember when I was put on venlafaxine I slowely lost all interest in any form of sexual contact.
    My doctor advised this was due to my mood and not at all related to the medication.
    Yet after some research of my own if then found out it’s quite common in the newer forms of SSRI’s.

  8. Both prozac and cymbalta dampened my desire, but when i started taking a beta blocker and benzodiazapene in combo with cymbalta to help with anxiety, desire came back like mad. My poor partner can hardly keep up with me now. Any ideas for why this good turn of events occured?

  9. I too was not warned about the sexual side effects of SSRIs and found out the hard way. I have tried different types and really have not found a clear winner. I think if you are depressed enough that you can’t get off medication you are just stuck dealing with them (or trying to mitigate them) until better remedies come along.

  10. I have tried lots of antideppresants, and they all had that “cannot have an orgasm effect” Now celexa allows orgasms. But I’ve been on it so long I don’t think it is helping my depression as much. Does anyone know or a good SSRI that allows orgasms.

  11. I have tried lots of antideppresants, and they all had that “cannot have an orgasm effect” Now celexa allows orgasms. But I’ve been on it so long I don’t think it is helping my depression as much. Does anyone know or a good SSRI that allows orgasms.

  12. I was not told about sexual side effects of cymbalta and was told that celexa didn’t have that problem. When I refused to take them I was sent to a counselor whose only counseling was on which drugs I should take. When I checked on the side effects of the medications the counselor discussed I discovered that he had lied to me about sexual side effects in order to get me to take the drugs.

  13. my boyfriend is on antidepressants, not sure on which one though, but he has no problem getting an erection but does not have an orgasm at all during sex, and he hasnt got much feeling in his penis, only way he can orgasm is if he masturbates for like an hour and he has to almost choke it for him to feel anything.. there should be an antidepressant that has no sexual side effects what so ever.. !

  14. My husband is on Lexapro and has almost zero interest in sex. We’ve been married for a little over a year and it’s killing me. His psychiatrist never told him in advance of the possible sexual side effects and in fact even now keeps telling him it’s not the drug. And he believes her, says that’s just the way he is now. It was NOT the way he was for the first six months of our relationship. She had the nerve to tell him to bribe me with sex to get things he wants (NOT sexual things–I’d be happy to give him that!). What kind of psychiatrist does that?

  15. I am concerned that I may lose my fiance. I have been depressed and gaim several pounds and haven’t been interested in sex for a couple of months now. Before we had a very active sex life!!!! It was exciting and happened often. He has been complaining but understanding about this. Now I have been prescribe Pristique and I really want to take this so I can fix some of the issues I have been dealing with. My concern is I wanted this to help me with my sex life, but after all this reading and research I am undecided because of this sexual side effect. Years before I had taken Prozac and knew what that did to my sex life, but I was hoping by now that the pharmacuetical companies had fixed this issue about sex. Very concerned!!

  16. The incidence of mental illness has risen along with this change in behavior and lifestyle. Deficiencies in Vitamin D can lead to feelings of fatigue. Depression, in particular, is often linked to illnesses that are associated with a lack of Vitamin D. Diabetes, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis are just a few. Research has found that taking Vitamin D can improve the symptoms of these diseases and those of a number of mental illnesses.

    Take in more Vitamin D!

  17. I have been on Celexa for two years. In that time I have lost desire and feeling in my ‘unit.’ I am slowly getting off the Celexa now. Fortunately there is Cialis which is pretty effective – but I still don’t feel the whole body yearning that I used to feel.

    Of course part of this is age. I am now 45. Yet, I am married, and sex is a necessary option. I use Cialis, but I am really scared that my wife will find out and perceive my desire for her as chemical instead of the real deep love.

    It all makes me really mad.

  18. I am one of the lucky ones. I have OCD and was prescribed 50mg sertraline, and told to take it every night. I was not warned of the side effects. I took the pill the first night, and was stoned out of my head the next day. The second day I was a little clearer, but still very stoned. My doc’s nurse said I was not stoned, but “just a little out of it”. I’ve smoked enough pot in my younger days to know the difference. The nurse also told me to “just cut the pill in half, (I couldn’t because it was a capsule), then she said to just take one every other day, and eventually I won’t feel “out of it”. The third and fourth days I was “just a little out of it”. On the third day I realized I hadn’t woken up in the morning with my customary erection. Then I realized I could not feel my genitals at all. I had no feeling in my genitals, and complete erectile dysfunction. When I told my doc, she said “well all drugs have side effects” Thanks for telling me about the sexual side effects and the genital anesthesia before hand! I did not regain feeling in my genitals until 8 days after I took one 50mg capsule of sertraline. Thankfully after I was so stoned the first two days, I didn’t take another. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think most people, even depressed people, want to have sex, or at least have feeling in their genitals.

    I feel bad for all of the people suffering through indefinite sexual side effects.I hope that someone will find a cure for that. In the meantime, I am still struggling with my OCD and still looking for a drug that is not and SSRI, SNRI, or TCA. I refuse to take anything with a sexual side effect now. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any drug for OCD except anti-depressants. Good luck everyone.

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