5 Common Medications That Can Hurt Your Sex Life

Every medical decision you make has a consequence. 

Deciding not to receive any medication will also have an effect. But all patients need to be informed about the possible side effects of medication. 

It is also essential to evaluate the risks of not receiving therapy and available treatment options. Then, each person can make educated decisions about their own health.

Male sexual dysfunction is probably the most disturbing side effect, especially in young men. 

If you realize that a drug is causing you erectile dysfunction, you probably want it out immediately. But how do you know? 

Sometimes psychological factors can also play a role in sexual function. That’s when doctors come into play. They can tell you if your erectile function is due to a drug or something else.

But in this article, we’re bringing a list of the top 5 medication groups that can ruin your sex life. 

Be aware and try to identify if this is happening to you. Then, if you determine that is the case, talk to your doctor about it and find a suitable solution.

5 Common Medications That Can Ruin Your Sex Life

The side effects medications can cause range from erectile dysfunction to sexual desire problems. You can experience low testosterone levels as a side effect of certain medications. 

Keep in mind that having these side effects listed does not mean all patients will experience the same problems. It is a possibility that manifests sometimes.

In any case, many drugs can affect your sexual activity. These are the top 5 agents to blame:

Some blood pressure-lowering drugs cause erectile problems

There are many types of high blood pressure medications. Some groups cause erectile difficulty in male patients. The most common are diuretics and beta-blockers.

Diuretics act on the blood flow and the blood vessel. When the blood vessel wall changes inside the penis, the capacity to fill the organ with blood may become affected.

Beta-blockers act on the autonomic nervous system. This branch of the nervous system is responsible for erectile function. Naturally, if something goes wrong, you would have an erection problem.

This type of sexual dysfunction in men should be evaluated carefully. Remember that blood pressure may also lead to a sexual problem

Cardiovascular disease causes endothelial dysfunction. A malfunctioning endothelium may not produce nitric oxide and results in a decrease in sexual function.

Is it your medication or your underlying condition that caused erectile dysfunction in the first place? That’s a good question to consider with your doctor. If you find out that medications are the cause, there are many other drugs you could try (1).

Antidepressants can reduce your capacity to enjoy orgasms

Similar to beta-blockers, antidepressants work directly on the nervous system. A group of anti-depressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is usually to blame for male sexual dysfunction.

They are very helpful in calming down anxiety and depression. But they also inhibit and may even kill your sexual desire. Male patients may experience delayed ejaculation, even with adequate sexual stimulation. This may even lead to low libido and severe sexual problems.

Sexual function is very complex and requires psychological, nervous, and circulatory health to work out as expected. Antidepressants are taking down the nervous part. But if you don’t take them, you could be affected by the psychological factor. So, the best way to work around this problem is to discuss your options with your doctor and consider choosing a different type of antidepressant (2).

RELATED: 5 Things Men Should Know About The Sexual Side Effects Of Antidepressants.

Some painkillers may lower testosterone levels

Many patients abuse painkillers, which may lead to severe problems in the liver and other organs. You could end up with low testosterone in some cases, which ultimately affects your sexual desire and causes erectile dysfunction.

Luckily, not all painkillers affect your serum testosterone level. They are mainly opioids and other prescription painkillers. They inhibit a part of the brain that stimulates your testicles to synthesize testosterone. That’s how they cause sexual dysfunction in men, especially those with borderline testosterone levels.

Thus, it is always wise to measure your serum testosterone levels before using opioids. If you have low T or borderline levels of this hormone, you could discuss other treatment options with your doctor to preserve your erectile function (3).

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Sleeping pills are associated with painful and troublesome erections

In a sense, sleeping pills are similar to beta-blockers, antidepressants, and opioids. They act in the nervous system and may trigger an erection problem. 

In this case, the problem is known as priapism. It is a prolonged erection that is neither pleasing nor comfortable. It lasts for hours and can become very painful.

If you don’t solve this problem in an emergency room, the blood trapped in the penis causes permanent tissue damage. You could end up with irreversible erectile dysfunction. This is because the blood flow does not circulate, and the erectile tissue starts to die off.

This type of erectile problem is mainly caused by a sedative antidepressant known as trazodone. If you’re receiving this medication, be sure to talk to your doctor about the possibility of sexual problems in the future (4).

Some prostate health medications cause sexual dysfunction

Several prostate health drugs cause sexual dysfunction in men. In benign prostate hyperplasia, alpha-blockers may lead to erectile dysfunction. They are similar to beta-blockers, as described above, and cause the same sexual problems.

In prostate cancer, surgery is a common cause of erectile problems. Hormonal therapy (a type of anti-testosterone therapy) causes low libido and sexual performance problems.

The prostate is surrounded by nerves and structures responsible for erectile function. Testosterone can also trigger prostate growth. Thus, different mechanisms converge in prostate issues and prostate health drugs to trigger erectile problems.

You can find alternatives depending on your case. Some patients have experienced recovery without side effects using natural alternatives. Others need to undergo complex procedures and recover their sexual function after some time (5).


Sexual dysfunction in men is multifactorial. We need an intact cardiovascular and nervous tissue to maintain erectile function. Psychological factors also play a significant role. Thus, medical education is fundamental if you have sexual problems and believe they are side effects of certain medications.

High blood pressure meds, antidepressants, sleeping pills, prescription painkillers, and prostate health medications could be ruining your sexual function. If you think is happening to you, talk to your doctor about it and find a suitable solution adapted to you.

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  1. Manolis, A., & Doumas, M. (2012). Antihypertensive treatment and sexual dysfunction. Current hypertension reports, 14(4), 285-292. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22581395/ 
  2. Rothmore, J. (2020). Antidepressant‐induced sexual dysfunction. Medical Journal of Australia, 212(7), 329-334. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32172535/ 
  3. Hsieh, A., DiGiorgio, L., Fakunle, M., & Sadeghi-Nejad, H. (2018). Management strategies in opioid abuse and sexual dysfunction: a review of opioid-induced androgen deficiency. Sexual medicine reviews, 6(4), 618-623. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30057139/ 
  4. Scherzer, N. D., Reddy, A. G., Le, T. V., Chernobylsky, D., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2019). Unintended consequences: a review of pharmacologically-induced priapism. Sexual Medicine Reviews, 7(2), 283-292. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30503727/
  5. Albaugh, J. A., Sufrin, N., Lapin, B. R., Petkewicz, J., & Tenfelde, S. (2017). Life after prostate cancer treatment: a mixed methods study of the experiences of men with sexual dysfunction and their partners. BMC urology, 17(1), 1-9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28619019/

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