Methamphetamine is a stimulant that powerfully activates brain chemicals linked to feelings of reward and pleasure. Some meth users find that, at first, the drug enhances sex. But over time, the drug's effects on your sex life can be very negative. Here’s what you need to know.
Short-Term Effects of Meth on Sex
In a 2016 study in the International Journal of High Risk Behaviors & Addiction, researchers interviewed 35 male meth users. Most of the men said that their first uses of meth boosted their sexual pleasure. They also said they felt a greater sense of control during sex and lasted longer. Study participants also said that meth increased their libido, and that they enjoyed sex more when their partner also used the drug.
These powerful effects of meth on sex may play a role in addiction. Users enjoy more pleasurable sex and orgasms, encouraging them to continue using meth. But the drug’s pleasurable effects on sex quickly lose their power.
Vikram Tarugu, MD, who runs an addiction center in Florida, tells WebMD Connect to Care that meth can temporarily help with sexual problems. It also increases sexual appetite, and may inspire you to pursue high-risk sex. “While meth feeds the ravenous appetite for sex in the brain,” says Tarugu, “it unfortunately often induces erectile dysfunction, and the endless bombardment of erotic thoughts and pictures eventually dulls one's desire to genuinely experience sexual arousal.”
Long-Term Effects of Meth on Sexual Function
The longer you use methamphetamine, the more likely you are to have meth-related sexual problems. These include:
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Delayed, weak, or nonexistent orgasms
- Sexually aggressive behavior
- Less pleasurable sex
- Trouble getting aroused
Meth could also affect your sex life by harming your relationships. Some meth users may develop physical symptoms like missing teeth or sores on the face. These effects could make it tougher to find a willing sexual partner. Or they could damage your self-esteem, further eroding the quality of sex.
Sexual health is closely related to overall health. Certain health problems, such as heart disease, may cause problems with sexual function. Meth raises your risk for a host of health issues, including heart disease.
Meth Sex Recovery
You have to overcome addiction to recover from meth’s long-term effects on sexual function. As long as your brain remains dependent on meth, the drug may continue to affect your sex life.
In some cases, the effects of meth abuse may linger even after you quit. For example, a 2019 study in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology found that meth increases the risk of serious heart health issues, including heart failure. Heart health issues can cause erectile dysfunction that may not improve without treatment.
Get Help Now
Meth addiction is a treatable medical condition, not a personal or moral failing. Many meth addicts feel hopeless. This belief that recovery is impossible is a side effect of the disease, not a reflection of reality. WebMD Connect to Care counselors are ready to help you find the care you need.