Do Antidepressants Really Ruin Your Love Life?

Illustration for article titled Do Antidepressants Really Ruin Your Love Life?

Psychology Today has a trio of articles about antidepressants and love/sex that I feel uniquely qualified to comment on since I am both on antidepressants and in love (and having sex). [Braggart! -Ed.] The main article, "Sex, Love, and SSRIs" wonders whether selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (the class of drugs that includes Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and others ) "compromise the ability to feel love," because SSRIs inhibit dopamine, which is also responsible for the feelings of elation and ecstasy that accompany falling in love. The author uses the anecdotal evidence of "Megan," whose sexual side effects ruined her relationship with high school sweetheart "Neil." The anecdote felt so weak (a high school love affair dissipating when the pair goes to separate colleges? You don't say!) that I wasn't surprised when she also used a seemingly dubious statistic to back it up: "Approximately 70 percent of people taking SSRIs suffer from sexual side effects."


Whoa, whoa wait. Back. It. Up. I've never experienced any sexual side effects, so I decided to do a little research to see if her stats held water. And just by doing a quick Google search, I found several articles refuting that 70 percent statistic. Take this article from the Harvard School of Public Health, which summarizes several studies on the sexual side effects of SSRI users and reports that the highest percentage of sexual side effects in any of the studies is 34%. (Strangely, the fear-mongering subhead of the Psychology Today article, "How SSRIs Wreak Havoc On Courtship", is just as misleading, as the article itself notes that a diligent shrink will work with a patient to find the right combination of meds that you know, doesn't clit-block an orgasm.)

But could I be calling bullshit on this study prematurely? Perhaps! So I'd like to see how the medicated Jezzies out there stack up to Psychology Today's statistics. Take our poll below, won't you?
I can't wait to hear what you pillheads are experiencing.


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Sex, Love, and SSRIs [Psychology Today]
My Boyfriend is on Zoloft [Psychology Today]
The Power of Love [Psychology Today]

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From KINDA personal experience, I've noticed a side-effect for my husband, who has been on anti-depressants. Especially when first going on the drug, coming takes a bit longer. Doesn't render sex un-enjoyable, it makes it last longer. The drive is still very much there.

I'm guessing it's the same reason a guy can't come when he's on ecstasy, as the drug does SIMILAR things, what with the seratonin and the dopamine and the kids with their rock music...