Parkinson's Disease and Problems With Sex

Medically Reviewed by Christopher Melinosky, MD on August 26, 2021

Finding out that you have Parkinson’s disease can affect your whole life, including your sex life. But there are ways to keep that part of your relationship strong and handle any problems.

Parkinson’s can affect your sex life in several ways.

First, the condition often causes tremors and stiffness in your body. That could make sex difficult, painful, or uncomfortable.

Men with Parkinson’s may have erectile dysfunction (ED) from nerve and muscle problems. ED can also happen if a man has poor blood circulation to the penis. Be careful about taking a medication for ED. Parkinson's disease tends to cause low blood pressure. Taking a medicine for ED combined with Parkinson's disease could cause a dangerous drop in your blood pressure.

Women with the condition may have vaginal dryness and need more lubrication so sex feels better.

Men and women alike may notice a drop in sex drive or desire after getting diagnosed with Parkinson’s. This might be linked to levels of dopamine, a brain chemical tied to many Parkinson’s symptoms.

Or it could be that you’re depressed about the diagnosis. And some medicines, including antidepressants, can hamper your sex drive. In rare cases, some medications may cause inappropriate compulsive sexual behavior.

Last but not least, the stress of having a serious condition can also take a toll on you and your partner. And you may feel too fatigued to be in the mood.

What Helps

Tell your doctor about problems you’re having with sex. Also let your doctor know if you think you might be depressed.

In your relationship with your partner, it can make a big difference to share how you feel, what you need, and what might help. You two may want to experiment to see what feels satisfying for both of you now.

You may also want to look into stress management techniques such as meditation, support groups, and counseling for more help.

Show Sources


Parkinson's Disease Foundation: "Gambling, Sex, and . . . Parkinson's Disease."

Parkinson Society Canada: "Parkinson's and Sexuality."

American Parkinson Disease Association: “Parkinson’s and Sex.”

American Parkinson Disease Association: Washington Chapter: "Sexuality, Intimacy and Parkinson's Disease."

Parkinson's UK: "Sexual problems and Parkinson's."

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