Sexual Dysfunction & Substance Abuse

Sexual Dysfunction Disorder

Sexual dysfunction is a problem that affects many men and women in their lifetime. The condition covers a range of sexual problems including erectile dysfunction, premature or delayed ejaculation in men, pain associated with intercourse, low libido and poor response to sexual contact. Drugs and alcohol are known to affect a person’s sexual behavior, ability to function and sensations. Drugs and alcohol are often taken as a way to hide psychological or emotional problems or to ignore physical difficulties that are contributing to sexual dysfunction.

There are four main categories of sexual dysfunction disorders which are sexual desire, sexual arousal, orgasm or sexual pain disorders. Each one has distinct symptoms, yet all are negatively contributed to by drugs and alcohol. Some drugs have been found to make sexual problems worse, others are milder. Regardless, sexual problems can cause major relationship and psychological problems if unresolved.

Sexual Desire Disorders

Sexual desire disorders are more commonly referred to as a loss or decrease in libido. This condition may be caused by the influence of substances, fatigue, depression or anxiety. Some medications such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications are known to cause a loss of libido. Alcohol and other substances can also negatively impact on a persons’ libido. Fatigue associated with an alcohol or drug binge may also affect a persons desire to have sex.

Chronic, long term marijuana use is known to contribute to a loss of libido, especially in women. This lack of sex drive is a symptom of bigger motivational issues that many people suffer when using this drug. For the most part, a persons’ sex drive will return to normal with discontinuation of using marijuana.

Sexual Arousal Disorder

Alcohol is one of the most common substances to affect a persons’ ability to be aroused or maintain arousal. A sexual arousal disorder typically refers to problems associated with getting and maintaining an erection, or for women, to be able to maintain arousal during intercourse. Cocaine and other stimulants can also cause a person to have difficulty in becoming aroused or maintaining a level of arousal.

Orgasm Disorder

Men and women often find they have trouble reaching orgasm when under the influence of alcohol other substances. Women are especially sensitive to the effect that drugs can have on their ability to orgasm and men can have premature or delayed ejaculation as a result of being high or drunk. Most orgasm disorders, or anorgasmia, are the result of undiagnosed or untreated psychological issues that a person is suffering. Chronic fatigue and insomnia can also affect a persons’ ability to achieve a normal level of orgasm. Opiate addiction is known to cause anorgasmia.

Anorgasmia can cause significant personal and relationship problems. Frustration arising from an inability to orgasm despite stimulation and arousal can cause irreversible relationship breakdowns, especially in the case of men. For women the disorder is more common and can lead to unhappiness, depression and feelings of inadequacy.

Sexual Pain Disorder

Sexual pain disorders are almost exclusively a female-only condition. This disorder causes a woman to feel immense pain and discomfort during intercourse and sexual interactions. There are two main types of this disorder, dyspareunia or painful intercourse and vaginismus which is an involuntary spasm of the vaginal muscles. This condition is believed to be caused by psychological concerns, especially anxiety about sex or being the victim of sexual assault or trauma.

Alcohol-induced Sexual Dysfunction

In low doses, alcohol can contribute to arousal and loss of inhibitions which may increase the likelihood of sexual contact. Women often speak of feeling more confident and sexier when they are under the influence of alcohol. Men will also experience the same boost of confidence and desire to have sex and will often seek out sex, including using prostitutes when under the influence. However, when a person drinks to excess, binge drinks or chronically drinks alcohol, this boost in sexual desire is often not found.

Alcohol related sexual problems are widespread and well known. Most men will experience a temporary form of impotence when having indulged in too much alcohol. This can not only be embarrassing for the man experiencing this, but also for the partner faced with a man who is unaroused or unable to maintain an erection. Women will also find themselves in situations where they may be unable to orgasm, have problems being aroused and maintaining desires.

In some cases, alcohol brings about memories and thoughts of conflicts and personal problems. If a person is suffering from anxiety or depression, these problems will affect their ability to have sex. Many people self medicate their personal and emotional problems with alcohol or other drugs. It is therefore only natural that the problems will still affect them, even when they are drunk or high. Long term, chronic alcohol abuse can affect the sexual impulses in a person, which can cause impotence and additional sexual problems. In some cases, these issues are not reversible or treatable.

Sex and Heroin

Heroin addiction is a known cause of sex problems and sexual dysfunction. In the beginning, a user may experience normal desires and sex but this soon changes as the drug begins to take hold of them. The lure of the drug makes them seek it out above all other things, including sexual contact. Heroin and other opiate drugs are known to cause people to fall into a desensitized dream-like state when they are under the influence and all desires to do anything are gone. This includes spending time with friends, family members, partners or children. For a partner, this can mean that the time or desire to have sex is gone completely.

Research suggests that in some cases, sexual contact is avoided by heroin addicts because of the risk of passing on blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitus. However, it is more likely that the effect of the drug on a person is the reason for the lack of interest in sex, poor sexual performance and low libido.

Treatment for Sexual Dysfunction

In some cases, sexual dysfunction can be easily treated through a number of different libido boosting medications such as viagra. However, these type of medications do little to solve to puzzle as to why a person who should otherwise be healthy and sexual is experiencing sexual problems. Some individuals have deeper, psychological problems that are causing the issues they are having with their libido, desires or feelings. Others are simply experiencing the negative effects that certain drugs have on a body when taken in chronic levels. Abusing drugs and alcohol causes many problems for a person, including sexual issues and the only solution is to stop using the drug before the issues become permanent.


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