Some folks find that antidepressants cause sexual problems. However, there may be alternative options, so chat with your doctor!

In the quest for mental wellness, many peeps tackle depression or anxiety head-on with the help of antidepressants. They’re a trusty sidekick in the battle against the blues.

But when you thought you had the upper hand, they throw you a curveball — one that hits right in the libido department. Yep, these meds have a knack for dampening the desire for intimacy and can leave your sex life in the dust. Everyone’s different, and you may not notice any adverse effects between the sheets.

If you’d like to learn more about the sexual side effects of antidepressants and unpack what happens and why, continue reading.

Any antidepressant medication can cause sexual problems, but they’re not created equal in terms of their impact on sex drive.

Research shows that sexual dysfunction is common in peeps taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Examples of these meds include:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

Paroxetine is commonly associated with decreased libido and delayed ejaculation. On the flip side, mirtazapine (Remeron) appears less likely to cause sexual dysfunction.

Antidepressants like SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These messenger chemicals are responsible for your mood but also have a say in your bedroom activities. So, when you mess with their delicate balance, it can throw a wrench into your sexual mojo.

SSRIs can also reduce luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone levels. LH and FSH are hormones the pituitary gland produces that are crucial in regulating reproductive function, including testosterone and estrogen production. If levels take a nosedive, you might feel less frisky and have less desire to get down and dirty.

Yes, antidepressants can be a depression game-changer, but they can also bring unwanted side effects to the bedroom for people of all genders.

If you have a penis, you could experience:

  • Decreased libido. One of the most common side effects of antidepressants in men is a drop in sexual desire. So, you might find yourself less interested in your love life or motivated to get intimate.
  • Erectile dysfunction. The dreaded downstairs noodle! Trouble getting or keeping it up for the main event can lead to frustration, anxiety, awkward moments, and strained relationships.
  • Delayed ejaculation. You may hit a roadblock when trying to reach the finish line. Delayed ejaculation or anorgasmia can throw a wrench in your climax game, making it feel like a marathon to reach that peak moment.

Antidepressants can also throw a curveball into the mix for peeps with vaginas. Here’s what you might encounter:

  • Decreased libido. Just like the penis parade, women may find themselves experiencing a drop in libido while on antidepressants. Cue feeling a bit meh about getting down and dirty.
  • Difficulty with arousal. You may have trouble getting in the mood. Even when engaging in activities that would typically rev your engine, it might feel impossible to ignite the spark. Talk about a buzzkill!
  • Vaginal dryness. Antidepressants can be a real party pooper when it comes to natural lubrication, leading to dryness and discomfort during sex. Ouch! It can leave you feeling sore, irritated, and more prone to pesky infections.
  • Difficulty reaching orgasm. Getting to that big finish might feel like a major challenge. These difficulties can seriously dampen the mood and leave you feeling unsatisfied.

When dealing with the ins and outs of antidepressants and their effects on sex drive, your doctor is the MVP. Here’s when it’s time to book an appointment:

  • Persistent problems. If you’re having trouble getting it up, reaching the big O, or just not feeling like bedroom fun time, then reach out!
  • Quality of life’s taking a hit. When those side effects start messing with your vibe, impacting your relationships, or cramping your style, it’s time for advice.
  • New kid on the block. Fresh side effects popping up? Or old ones worsening? Who you gonna call? Hint: it’s not Ghostbusters.

Above all, keep it real with your doctor. It may be embarrassing to talk about downstairs bits, but there’s no need — they’ve heard it all before! You could benefit from a change in meds, dosages, or formulations, and your doctor can help. So call them!

Antidepressants can be a total mood killer when it comes to getting busy, causing sexual dysfunction, and zapping your sex drive. But there may be a workaround.

Keep the lines of communication open with your doctor and discuss alternative medications. You could find a game plan that keeps your mental health in check without putting the kibosh on your sex life.