Drug abuse can have direct, immediate and devastating effects of sexual performance and fertility. Men who seek rehabilitation to stop drug abuse may be surprised to find out that sexual performance may be lacking even after they stop taking drugs. According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, drug abuse has lasting effects on sexual performance that rehabilitation may not cure.
Sexual performance was studied in a group of 905 men. About 550 men suffered drug addiction, including alcohol, cocaine, heroin or a combination of one or more drugs. The remaining 356 men were used as controls.
Data was collected on sexual desire, sexual performance, orgasm and sexual arousal. Even though men had completed a rehabilitation program, sexual performance remained altered when compared to the results of the control group. Specific areas of sexual performance were altered by specific drugs or drug combinations.
- Speedball and Cocaine: Sexual Pleasure and Sexual Desire
- Alcohol: Sexual Arousal
- Heroin, Cocaine, Alcohol and Speedball: Orgasm
Previous studies have claimed sexual performance returns to normal within weeks of starting rehabilitation. This study included men who were at least two weeks into a rehabilitation program, but some men had been abstaining from drug use for at least one year. Researchers did not note if longer duration of abstinence improved sexual performance. Men were treated at one of nine drug rehabilitation centers. The differences among treatment protocol were not mentioned.
Despite the long-term side effects of drug use, drug addiction carries much greater risk of long-term health problems and increased risk of early death. The study does show a correlation between long-term problems with sexual performance in drug abuse patients, but it does not follow patients longer than one year, so there could be significant performance after more than one year of treatment or abstinence.
Source: Pablo Vallejo-Medina, Juan Carlos Sierra. Effect of Drug Use and Influence of Abstinence on Sexual Functioning in a Spanish Male Drug-Dependent Sample: A Multisite Study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02977.x