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Nancy Schimelpfening

Poll: Do You Experience Sexual Side Effects Due to Your Antidepressant?

By April 22, 2013

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Published reports about how common sexual side-effects are vary quite a bit, probably because many patients are shy about such a personal topic. How common are they really? Voting in our poll does not reveal your identity to anyone. Please join us in creating an honest assessment of just how common sexual side-effects are. Any type of sexual difficulty that you developed as a direct result of taking an antidepressant that can't be accounted for otherwise by other drugs, illness or the depression itself would count. Symptoms that you might have experienced would include low libido, difficulty with orgasm, erectile dysfunction, decreased vaginal lubrication or ejaculatory difficulties.

POLL: Do You Experience Sexual Side-Effects Due to Your Antidepressant?

(1) Yes
(2) No
(3) Not Sure

View Results


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Comments
October 16, 2006 at 7:35 pm
(1) lori says:

Wellbutrin changes my normally very strong libido into a mystifying force of nature. It has had a similar effect on everyone I’ve ever known who took it. I think it’s odd that this potential side effect isn’t mentioned more often– I would think more people would be encouraged to try the drug and enjoy a more normal sex life.

January 24, 2007 at 4:42 am
(2) jgirl says:

i really hope taking wellbutrin helps my libido. im 20 years old and been on remron for 3 years. its making me more depressed that i cant enjoy or even get into a relationship cause i dont have a sexual desire. this is day one of wellbutrin

February 7, 2007 at 10:24 am
(3) John Condron says:

This may be an interesting question with which to play around, but your results will obviously be skewed, as a result of a selection bias. Obviously, people who have not experienced sexual side effects are far less likely to respond at all. I would predict that the majority of your respondents will report side-effects.

February 7, 2007 at 8:16 pm
(4) Flowerbells says:

I’m happy that my medications have completely removed all my sexuality.

If I were in a good sexual relationship, of course I would be extrmely unhappy about this! It would absolutely ruin my marriage or relationship.

However, I used to have a very intense, constantly high libido (desire). It’s said that bipolar disorder has periods of increased sexuality. Not me! Mine was ALWAYS strong. It was miserable, because (1) although over my lifetime I probably had close to 40 relationships with me, only 4-5 of which were serious ones (4 marriages), only TWO of these men were any good in bed! Fortunately, one of my husbands gave me 11 terrific years — sexually, but he was very emotionally and financially abusive!

Most of my serious relationships have turned into where I was emotionally and occasionally somewhat physically and somewhat sexually, or drastically financially abused.

Had I not been so sexually driven, I could have been as happy as I am now,alone with many good friends of both genders, and not impoverished b/c I would hot have been moved from place to place by husbands who tried to isolate and control me.

After my 2nd and 3rd marriages ended, I asked physicians to spay me, like a cat, but they said this was not possible.

Well, yes, it is! Take antidepressants! I have vaginal dryness; no more desire to masturbate; no interest in men in a romantic and sexual way, don’t flirt. I just tell men who are interested in me or try to flirt that I’d make a very good friend, but that I want to be upfront right away, that I have NO sexual drive, NO interest in romantic relationship with ANYONE. I tell them if they would like to be friends, here are some of the things I enjoy doing together (I list some, like videos, going to the theatre, hiking, parties, not a drinker,etc). I tell them if they are looking for a partner, it’s fine with me, that I have no jealousy and would be very happy for them to take out other women; that if they find a committed relatonship, I would be prepaared to lose their friendship — because I know when I had a romantic partner I strongly objected to my man hanging around with all his old “girlfriends” and “women friends.” I would have expected him to say goodbye to them, and I said goodbye to my male friends when I met him!

So that’s how it is for me, now. I am free of being controlled by male egos and by my own female libido! And I am very, very happy about it. Losing one’s sexuality is not bad, for some of us!

March 25, 2007 at 7:20 pm
(5) RM says:

Effexor did me in right away. Prozac that I was taking before Effexor did not effect me sexually. I am now on Wellbutrin which does not effect me,though the Klonopin does to some extent or is it just middle age? Anyway my wife left so does masturbation count in the survey? lol

May 18, 2007 at 1:48 pm
(6) Beth says:

I am 25 and recently became sexually active. I have been on antidepressants since I was 17 years old.
Looking back on my childhood I realized that I used to have orgasms as a little girl by rubbing on the floor. Now when I do the same thing it doesn’t work. Neither does any other touching or rubbing. I can get to a certain point but just can’t get over the edge.

August 5, 2007 at 7:02 pm
(7) Mike says:

I started taking wellbutrin 150mg. twice a day for about 6 months.my sexual side effect is that I get erections several times a day. they won’t go away on their own. thank god my wife is so understanding and helps me with them as much as she can, but she can’t be there 24 hours a day. she said she is so understanding about my side effects because her mother took wellbutrin and had over sexed side effects. if anyone else has the same side effects as I do feel free to email me or answer here. my email is mgl1951@sbcglobal.net. thanks for any comments or just to talk to someone who has these side effects.

August 23, 2007 at 10:30 am
(8) Ryan says:

Every since I started taking Wellbutrin almost 4 months ago, I have noticed that it has taken the “edges” off my highs and lows as far as my emotions but hasn’t changed who I am. That is good. I have also felt a little spacey sometimes, with out losing concentration if that makes any sense. As far as sexual side effects, well, I have noticed that I don’t have as many erections during the day but as soon as I go to sleep it seems I have one all night long. I’m almost 39, so unfortunately a nocturnal emmision is probably out of the question but we will see.lol. My libido has definately increased and oddly the strength and length of an orgasm has very much increased since I started the Wellbutrin (as opposed to almost never acheiving orgasm on Lexipro). Over all I am pretty happy with wellbutrin.

March 31, 2011 at 1:41 pm
(9) marc says:

Did you ever try Zoloft , Paxil or Konipin. I was prescribed Paxil and Klonipin for stress/anxiety. They worked but made me tired and decreased my libido. Trying to go of them is physical and mental torture so I was prescribed Zoloft to help with the withdraw difficulties of the others. I heard Wellbutrin is allot safer and is easier on your Libido.

Thanks

January 10, 2008 at 4:44 pm
(10) Mike says:

I took Wellbutrin for 14 mo. I had E.D. to some degree before starting the drug and it was increased quite a bit while on Wellbutrin. My libido was always quite strong and it did not decrease much while on the drug. The first day of reduced dosage (from 100mg twice a day to 100mg once a day) I experienced much stronger erections.

February 9, 2008 at 11:41 am
(11) Ace says:

Doctors like to downplay the negative sexual effects of anti-depressants, but they are wrong. Effexor, Cymbalta, and Limbitrol all effected me. And if anything, people are less likely to admit to a doctor that they are having sexual problems, particularily one of the opposite sex. So when doctors tell you only the problem people are the ones on the internet complaining, that is hogwash. They will tell you the % is only about 5% that have sexual problems, when in reality, it has to be at least 50%. On this poll it is 86%, for crying out loud. Doctors just want to sell their medications that they are told to by the big pharmaceuticals.

February 20, 2008 at 9:18 am
(12) janet says:

I took Effexor for the first two or three years of my major depression. The drug probably saved my life but in doing so many things were changed–no sex drive. I suppose a complete loss of sex drive versus being alive is a small price to pay. Of course my dosage was gradually reduced and due to other side effects I then went on Prozac, then eventually to Welbutrin. I live a good, quiet life, I am quite functional. I could blame all three drugs for a total loss of libido, which still continues, but who knows maybe it was approaching middle age, maybe some depression lingering–I don’t know. I do know that I ended a nine year relationship due to the lack of libido. I actually felt guilty about avoiding sexual encounters and felt he deserved a fully functioning mate. I do not miss sex. I tried to explain it to my doctor and my former boyfriend by saying you don’t stop to eat a meal when you aren’t hungry.

February 20, 2008 at 11:33 am
(13) Bob says:

I’ve taken most all of the SSRI’s over the years – some work better than others on the depression, but all SSRI’s did away with my libido. Erections were almost impossible and when I got one, if I could climax (which seldom happen), it was not much of a climax compared to the ones I had while not on SSRI’s.
I took Wellbutrin (not a classical SSRI) several times over a couple years. It seemed to work well on the depression after a few weeks but after 6 months or so it did not work near as well. The good thing is that Wellbutrin did not hinder my libido or erections and even seemed to enhance them (as you mention).
FYI – have you ever considered using St. John’s Wort? Its over the counter in the States but its Rx only in Europe and there it is the most widely prescribed depression med. I’ve taken it for some time now and there are no side effects for me except relief of my depression

February 20, 2008 at 1:01 pm
(14) Richard says:

Well I had no sexual dysfunction at all taking anti-depressants so seeing the poll results saying that only 5% said the same as me (with another 7% undecided and the rest saying yes to the question) quite staggered me. This left me wondering if it was actually the peoples’ depression itself causing a lot of the sexual dysfuntioin rather than the anti-depressant medication they were on?
Sincerely from Richard

February 20, 2008 at 1:13 pm
(15) Richard says:

Btw, to add to my previous message – I was on citalopram (ciprimil) for a lenghty period and later fluoxetine (prozac) for another lengthy period. Neither hindered me or effected me sexually. But then neither did both drugs ressolved my depression nor my reasons for it either. Problems still exist behind when one is taking anti-depressants. I have no experience with other anti-depressants. I am off them now at long last and feel better for it in myself as a whole. Also maybe I came to see that the anti-depressants were not really making any worthwhile benefit to me. Still I do not know either what I’d have been like if I had not taken these anti-depressants – so maybe they did benefit me at least by giving me some resbite.
Sincerely from Richard

February 20, 2008 at 3:06 pm
(16) nan says:

I have been on every other class of antidepressant and am now taking MAOI’s in the form of the emsam transdermal patch. I also have a VNS implant.

No medications have ever had a percievable benefit for me. None have decreased my very strong labido. However, while my drive has not diminished, my ability to reach orgasm has diminished in the last two weeks. I started taking emsam on 12/25 and have just started the 12 mg patch.

Besides the fact that I am overall feeling worse and not better, this side affect is just no acceptable. Before I make an issue of this with my physician, I will give it a few more weeks to get to full dosage, but unless a miracle happens with my mood, I done with MAOIs!

August 19, 2011 at 4:53 am
(17) Doug A says:

Nan,

I’m also on Emsam, moving from 6 weeks at 9 mg to 12 mg, and experiencing some ED and extremely difficulty reaching orgasm, if at all. Not sure if you’re still on this, but did you ever find an effective counter-measure for this side effect and regain full sexual function?

February 27, 2008 at 1:22 pm
(18) Erika says:

Before I began taking an antidepressant my sex drive was like that of a 18 year old male. Granted, this was only when I wasn’t in one of my two week depressive episodes, stuck in bed or on the couch. Now, my depression is under control and I feel GREAT – these antidepressants certainly saved my life!!! HOWEVER, my husband and I have not had sex yet this year…AND IT’S FEBRUARY 27th!!! I just don’t have any interest. I wish I wanted to – it doesn’t turn me off but it sure doesn’t bother me to go without it for weeks on end (obviously). I’ve tried the “drug holiday” and that didn’t/doesn’t work for me. Another bummer – I AM taking one of the antidepressants that’s supposed to minimally affect libido – I take Wellbutrin (and Lexapro) – but let me tell ya, THAT doesn’t help me either. I’m really frustrated because I want to want to have sex – but I just don’t want to!!! On the rare occasion I do, it takes me short of forever to climax. As one of my male friends who was taking Wellbutrin and Lexapro so eloquently put it, ‘I could show up to the birthday party, I just couldn’t open the gifts.’ I know actually wanting to live and having hope and a positive attitude should FAR outweigh the significance of losing one’s libido – and it does – it’s just disappointing that I have no interest in the one activity that separates me and my husband from me and the male friend I was referring to above. Any one have any suggestions?

May 3, 2008 at 9:52 pm
(19) Me Male says:

Been on Anti-depressants for a little over 10 years. OCD was my issue. Now I have none of that…thank God.

Not sure the trade off is what I want though.

My libido has reduced to zero unless I take a drug holiday for a couple days prior to planned activity.

For the women who may not understand, also included in this is reduced sensations which in my mind can be a turn off. That could be the reason why some males get a good erection yet cannot ejaculate. Lack of sensation can also take away drive after awhile.

I do know though from experience that if you tried to plan your time together say on a Sat., do not take any medication on Friday or prior to the activity and see what happiness. This advise came from my
shrink.

It is not a pleasant experience to feel this way. I had a hi libido before I started to go thru all this
sh….

The stats are alarming…86% with difficulty. This should have been further broken down by type of med and whether one was male or female. In effect, the poll tells us something but how do we isololate this?
Age should also be included in a poll
cause when your older, libido may reduce somewhat.

signed… me.

September 7, 2008 at 2:10 pm
(20) Tom says:

My wife has depression issues – we are married 11 months – last October when we got married she was the most complete sexual partner I had ever had – and as a result our level of communication on a daily basis was great – no hidden agendas – nothing that couldn’t be talked about.
She’d come out of an abusive relationship and like someone flipped a switch on a given day the sex stopped – and so it’s bee for 11 months – and so the communication has deteriorated and the resentment and anger level increases – and the relationship is turning to shit.
She’s in therapy – once evry two weeks – was taking welbutrin, now lexipro. She’s drinking more.
I’ve been in therapy the whole time as well – more often then she – sometimes a couple time a week – I hate this – I’m not young – and nothing is improving or changing.
I rarely let her know how I feel – try to stay upbeat, supportive.
Sex has become just fuck him – not a relational thing at all and I resnt that – although I rarely let on how I feel about that.
So at the end of the day I rarely let on how I feel about anything, don’t demonstrate any emotion and am basically living a bullshit existance so as not to do anything that may trigger increased depression on her part – I’m real tired of it and while she’s the best woman I have evr know – I don’t know how much longer I can do this
Suggestions?

January 28, 2009 at 8:56 am
(21) Not dead yet says:

My wife suffers from depression and has for awhile. We used to have a great sex life. I have a very high drive and it is now to a point of I can quote her reasons why she is not interested. It is to the point that if I am thinking of being intimates all the excuses run through my mind and I just roll over.
I am now re-evaluating the relationship. This has caused a definite rift between us.

Not dead yet

February 2, 2009 at 11:45 pm
(22) kns says:

The depression has pretty much killed my sex life! In a way, I think I would welcome having the meds kill my interest.
Not much fun for a partner when I’m so down, because sex goes beyond the moment. Its being attracted to the person, hard to be attractive depressed!

March 30, 2009 at 12:56 pm
(23) Handyman says:

I used to be on 10mg of Lexapro for my OCD, but the sexual side effects were bad news. I had a hard time getting to orgasm when masturbating and I didn’t have a very firm erction. This was horrible considering I only see my wife on weekends. I switched to Wellbutrin which was good on the side effects, but it made me anxious and kind of paranoid, so I had to go off of it. I’m not sure what to do now.

May 18, 2009 at 10:01 am
(24) Ned says:

I have been on zoloft close to a year and a half. My sexual dysfunction included slow or no ejaculations. I have just started on wellbutrin sr and I am anxious to see if this will help. It seems to help with the lack of motivation I had and hopefully the negative sexual side effects will diminish.

February 4, 2010 at 4:16 am
(25) Jake says:

I recently ramped up my Wellbutrin XL to 450 mg daily and after 3 days I’ve been having some concerning effects — libido is certainly raised but I’m seeming to experience hypersensitivity, to the point that I can have orgasms in seconds. This is extremely concerning as most men describe having augmented sexual performance, but at least each consecutive day has improved this problem.
What I’m wondering is, if when the medication ‘levels out’, will my hypersensitivity?

March 14, 2010 at 11:33 pm
(26) S.R. says:

I am on Cymbalta 50mg per day. My sex drive is fine. I am also on blood pressure medication as well. I have heard lots of people say anti-depressants and blood pressure medications can decrease your sex drive. Thank God I have no problems in that department. In fact sometimes I wonder if my meds increase my desire because I want it so often.

April 20, 2010 at 8:47 am
(27) Sarah says:

I’ve been on Effexor for the past 3 years which wasn’t a problem because I wasn’t dating and it definitely saved my life. Last year I got married and realized that my sex drive wasn’t as high as it had been before I started Effexor. About 6 months ago I switched to the generic-Venlafaxine and now my sex drive is pretty much non-existent and I can’t seem to orgasm anymore. Going to the doc today to ask for an alternative. Thanks for all the comments posted above.
What do you guys think about trying something like this?

May 10, 2010 at 8:18 am
(28) Jeff says:

I have been taking budeprion (generic wellbutrin) for approximately 5 weeks. So far, it seems to be helping in a minor way the general lethargy and sadness I had been feeling for several years. I am optimistic these positive effects will increase, given the indication that it may take 4-6 weeks to work. Even at 44, I have a strong sex drive anyway, but I am definitely experiencing more frequent and extraordinarily strong erections – EXTRAORDINARILY strong. Moreover, my orgasms have increased in intensity and duration.

July 16, 2010 at 10:54 pm
(29) Dee says:

I have been on Bupropion hcl sr 150MG (Wellbutrin) twice a day, since May (two and a half months) I just take two at the same time in the early morining about 5:00 am. My wife is also on a anti depressant, not sure which one, but I notice her sex drive is very low, I just notice in the last two weeks, my sex drive is extermely strong, while she not in the mood, I have to deal with it, very frustrating, so that’s way I started to look for help on web sites, I have also found myself doing things that I don’t normally do, I embarrass to say, but since we are on the computer and you dont know me, I will say, maybe someone can help me, or I could help them, things like, masturbating and looking at porn, because Im frustrated. This medication has save my life, I’m off the couch and I go to work every day, but the side effects, I had no idea, this is my first time being on a anti depressant, Im 44 years old, but this stuff has me acting like I’m 18, it’s tough enough for me, with my wife, with her I dont need my sex drive to increase, I need it to decrease or we are in big trouble, HELP!!!

March 30, 2011 at 3:17 am
(30) ryanjinkins says:

I too have been experiencing a sexual problem. I personally feel like it helped. I have more confidence, I usto not be able to last too long in bed and now I feel like I could go for hours. It’s frustrating when the times come when I cant finish, but hey? what do ya do.

July 31, 2011 at 11:58 pm
(31) TT says:

After taking Celexa my libido never returned to normal. I went off of it, and didn’t start any new medications for a month in the hopes it would return, but nothing.

It seems Celexa did me in permanently and it’s destroying my relationship since he’s now convinced I don’t want to have sex, and don’t lubricate at all, because I don’t find him attractive anymore.

My doctor just told me all I could do was ‘wait’. Easy for her to say.

October 13, 2011 at 10:28 am
(32) Losing My mind says:

my wife has been on Effexor,,,now the Generic Venlafaxine now for a long time,,,at first it was great,,,we almost got a divorce because of her “irritable ” episodes , but came to the conclusion and realized that bipolar runs in her family. Trust me this drug saved my marriage at that time, but after years of taking it the sex drive is completely gone. We have been married for 15 years, got married young i was 21 she 20. Our sex life was great,,like freaking rabbits. Now,,,,nada. Now this drug i think is ruining our marriage. I have a very high sex drive and need it at least 2-3 times daily. Lets just say i spend a lot of alone time with myself. And tring to get her into it is impossible. Just seems she doesn’t want anything to do with me sexually, and its very frustrating. Ive tried everything, i take her shopping for sexy clothes, trips, toys, nada. I don’t know what to do, i love her very much, she is my HS sweetheart, but i am extremely lonely . how do i get her off this crap so i can have my wife back!

May 24, 2013 at 9:39 am
(33) Jamie says:

I had never had problems with libido prior to being prescribed Celexa. In fact, it was probably overactive and my constant desire ruined my relationship with my boyfriend. Its just not considered normal for women! But within a week I noticed that though my desire was similar I could not achieve orgasm as easily as before. That said, when I finally do achieve them, they are incredibly intense and mind blowing. I’ve come to believe that Celexa is a miracle drug in more ways than one.

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