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Orgasm and Drugs

Drugs that Impact Orgasm

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Updated November 20, 2008

Drugs can impact orgasm either through direct effects on your body or indirectly by making you feel more tired, reducing your ability to concentrate, or negatively affecting your mood.

There are many drugs that can get in the way of you having an orgasm. Studying the sexual side effects of medications is a relatively recent practice. These days most doctors will be aware of the major sexual side effects of medication, but because both they and their patients are usually uncomfortable talking about sex, the information often gets left out during appointments.

Here are some of the kinds of drugs that are known to have a negative impact on orgasm and a few examples of specific drugs in each class:

  • Neuroleptics and antipsychotics (including chlorpromazine, thioridazine, fluphenazine, haloperidol)
  • Antidepressants (both SSRIs and trycyclic antidepressants and SNIs such as Effexor and Cymbalta.)
  • Blood pressure medications (including reserpine, clonidine)
  • Sedatives and tranquilizers (including Phenobarbital, diazepam, alprazolam)
  • Recreational drugs (including alcohol, ecstasy)

How Can I Tell If Drugs Are Effecting My Orgasms?

If you’re taking any medication and you can’t have an orgasm, start by talking with the doctor who prescribed the medication about possible effects. If the drugs you’re taking are “recreational” the easiest thing to do is stop taking them and see if that changes your ability to orgasm (and if the stopping part is the problem, this About.com site can help).

What Can I Do If Drugs Are Effecting My Orgasms?

If you’re on a medication you can’t simply stop taking, there are still possibilities of reducing the impact of those medications on orgasm by talking with your doctor about:
  • changing the dosage
  • switching to a different medication
  • changing the timing of medication
  • taking a “drug holiday” (only possible in some cases with some drugs)

In addition, there are specific medications sometimes used to counteract the sexual side effects of medications, such as Bupropion.

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