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Sex and Antidepressants

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                 Wednesday, April 16, 2008
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A very warm welcome from Carmen Sutra:  

I don't often dedicate an entire mid-week issue to a reader
comment from a prior week, but a letter last week really
struck a chord with you, my dear readers. A reader indicated 
he is taking antidepressants and that he could achieve an 
erection, but not climax. Thus, he turned to us to help him 
sort through the often frustrating and overlapping world of 
sex and antidepressants. 

This issue affects both partners in the situation, and I want 
you to know many women also wrote in about a decreased libido 
and difficulty having an orgasm while taking antidepressants. 
To hopefully help many of you, I included a variety of letters 
that offer suggestions, words of encouragement, and experienc-
es that illustrate that you are indeed, not alone.


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Today's Topic: Sex and Antidepressants


I would like to help the guy who is on anti-depressants that
are making it so that he cannot achieve orgasm. I suffered 
through the same problem while I was on them.

The first thing that I need to know is why he is taking them. 
If it is for depression then I would suggest that he ask the 
doctor about changing the medication. There are a lot of anti-
depressants on the market and another type might deal with his 
depression without messing with his ability to function sexu-
ally. The other thing is that if he is taking them for depress-
ion then changes in lifestyle and circumstances might allow 
him to get off of the medication all together. 

Any form of exercise increases the production of the good 
chemicals in the brain and helps with the depression. I would 
suggest that if his partner is willing to do it go for walks 
with her. You can then motivate each other to keep up with 
the regular exercise and the time you spend together taking a 
quiet walk might also help to lift your mood.

However, if this person is suffering with chronic pain and 
has been given the anti-depressants to try to combat that 
condition I would suggest that he ask his doctor about another 
drug. That drug is called Gabapentin and it has been shown to 
be as effective in treating chronic pain as anti-depressants 
for some people. The big difference being that there aren't 
any sexual side effects with Gabapentin. 
[I strongly second the motion for exercise! Everything I've 
read indicates the same thing - that exercise helps increase 
the good chemicals.]


I also take anti depressants and had the same experience that 
your reader is experiencing. I discussed this with my doctor 
and he advised me that splitting the dose to half in the morn-
ing and then the other half in the evening might be effective. 
It took a little while adjusting the timing etc., but the end 
result is that I can now receive the release that my wife also 
enjoys. Have the reader talk to the doctor and he should be 
able to have some of the same results as well.

Dear Carmen,

I, too, have been on medications in the past that made ejacu-
lation difficult and at times impossible. It was incredibly 
frustrating for me and my partner. But I discovered from a 
loving lady that prostate stimulation can make all the differ-
ence. After I satisfied her, she would insert a finger and 
press on the prostate with the pressure I requested while she 
performed oral or manual stimulation on me. It made all the 
difference and was a wonderful orgasm! I do know that there 
are some women who feel uncomfortable touching the anus, so 
medical gloves can cover this problem (both literally and 
figuratively) for both men and women who have a problem with 
this. And don't forget the lubrication!

Hi again.

I have been taking anti-depressants for 12 years now. It was 
then that I was diagnosed with chronic moderate to severe 
depression. Tried all the new ones SSRI'S Paxil, Zoloft and 
prozac. The sexual side effect was very bad. While doing 
intercourse it would take so long that i was tired and couldn't 
climax. Well about 5 years ago I switched to Wellbutrin. 100 
mg to be exact and that is the maximum dosage. I also take 25 
mg of zoloft. Has been working fine in the sex department as 
well. I am 55 and male and I use cialis sometimes although I 
can enjoy it without the cialis.

Also If it is too long between climaxes, like after a week, 
the penile and vaginal atrophy starts to set in. So use it 
more and it becomes easier. (You don't have to do alot to 
wake the old guy up for action).
[Others mentioned Cialis, too.]


I've been using antidepressants since they were first intro-
duced in the eighties. Different drugs have different side 
effects. I have also experienced difficulty ejaculating (don't 
misunderstand everything feels great but you just can't quite 
"get off") I found that once I had ejaculated from that time 
on  "coming" was much easier. This happened after we hadn't 
had sex for about a week and we were both really excited.   

It seemed like some kind of "tipping point" (pardon the 
cliche) and that my body had to relearn how to orgasm again.  
the feeling was kind of like a stuck valve that finally let 
loose. after that having an ejaculation took a little more 
"work" than it had before but that was ok for both of  us.
Interestingly my wife had the same reaction when she changed 
her medication ( also an antidepressant) Normally very orgas-
mic, she too had to "relearn" how to "come". I've heard 
that some folks take a day or two break from the drugs to have 
a little "vacation" that works but I didn't like the ensuing 


The guy with the problem climaxing is probably taking Paxil.  
His problem is not unusual. Do not suddenly stop without the 
doc's advice. Ask the doc to experiment with other anti-
depressants. The problem does not go away.


Regarding the gentleman that had just started taking an anti-
depressant and was having trouble climaxing. I too have been 
through the same situation, and it can be very frustrating, 
for both parties. My girlfriend at the time thought it was 
due to something she was or was not doing. It took me about 
thirty to sixty days for things to start returning to normal.  
Sometimes during this "adjustment period" I had to pleasure 
myself to help relieve some of the non-climaxing frustration.  
Even then it took awhile, I was able to climax manually, and 
things eventually returned to normal. Occasionally, I would 
have a relapse, but very, very infrequently.

[Continued below...] 

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I was taking one antidepressant and was happy I could achieve 
erection, but had EXTREME difficulty climaxing. I did a little 
research and found it is called "anorgasmia", the inability 
to come. I also found that a request from my psychiatrist for 
a medication change enabled me to enjoy the full benefits of 
sexual union, now getting pleasure for me as well as my part-
ner. As an aside, I also now have less lethargy as well as an 
ability to get a full night's restful sleep. I would recommend 
to anyone experiencing any kind of sexual dysfunction to dis-
cuss any and all problems of that nature with their doctors, 
asking them to review their meds. 


I was on zoloft...initially, I couldn't climax, but loved 
just relaxing and enjoying the slow stroke feeling. after a 
while the brain builds a tolerance to the drug and I could 
climax normally, but was still able to go longer than before 
the zoloft.....and the sex is more enjoyable than ever. 


That's a wrap, everyone! Thank you SO MUCH for all this feed-
back. I truly appreciate that we can share our experiences,
tips, and ideas to help benefit readers around the world. 
Aw, great big Great SEX cyber hugs! Let me know if you have
anything to add to today's letters, and I will include some
of them on Friday. As always, I remain...

Devotedly yours,   

Carmen Sutra   

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