Drugs and Erectile Dysfunction: Is There a Relationship?

May 5, 2019
Erectile dysfunction is a problem that affects many people. Is there a relationship between erectile dysfunction and drugs? Discover the answer in this article!

Various disorders can affect sexual performance and hinder the enjoyment of sex. One such disorder is erectile dysfunction. However, keeping in mind the many different factors that can affect the body, you might be asking yourself if there’s a relationship between drugs and erectile dysfunction.

When a man goes to the doctor because he’s unable to maintain a full erection during sex, he has to undergo both a physical and psychological evaluation to rule out the possibility that a period of stress or anxiety is causing his erectile dysfunction.

After all the necessary tests, if the specialist diagnoses that the patient is suffering from erectile dysfunction, they’ll classify it according to its etiology: neurogenic, endocrinological, vasculogenic, or drug-induced, among others.

The Negative Effects of Drugs

A man smoking.

Although you might only be thinking of “hard” drugs, alcohol and tobacco can also affect your sexual health.

In this regard, there are other “drugs” that people often don’t consider as such that affect sexuality.

For example, alcohol and tobacco are drugs that negatively affect your health. In addition, antidepressants, hormonal drugs, and cardiac medication may also be connected to erectile dysfunction.

This article may interest you: How to Help Improve Your Partner’s Erection

Drugs and Erectile Dysfunction

Below, we’ll analyze the relationship between drugs and erectile dysfunction according to the results shared in the article “Drugs and Sexuality: Great Enemies” (in Spanish). We’ll also mention common drugs that can negatively affect sexual performance.

  • Tranquilizers: The most commonly used drugs to treat anxiety or stress are benzodiazepines such as diazepam. They can decrease arousal or prevent orgasm, especially when the doses are high.
  • Synthetic hormones: They should always be administered under medical supervision only. Otherwise, they may affect erections.
  • Antidepressants: At low doses, they may help improve the sexual response of a person who’s suffering from depression. However, in many cases, higher doses that can affect sexuality are required, possibly leading to decreased arousal and erectile dysfunction.

Drugs and Sex

A man suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Avoiding toxic habits is the first measure to reduce health problems, especially when it comes to sexuality.

Many of the drugs we didn’t mention above can affect sexual performance. You probably remember a movie in which a couple lit a cigarette after having sex. Although this may seem harmless, it can lead to erectile dysfunction.

  • Tobacco: In young people, this type of drug can affect erection during sexual intercourse if there are no other causes (such as depression or anxiety). Kicking this habit can lead to improvement.
  • Heroin: This “hard” drug is a depressant of the central nervous system. Thus, it causes loss of libido and its addiction can lead to a complete lack of interest in sex.
  • Marijuana: Excessive consumption of this drug can lead to lack of interest in sex, as in the previous case. Its effects keep you from doing activities that require concentration and coordination, which is why it may affect sexual performance.
  • Steroids: Prolonged use of steroids ends up increasing the size of the prostate, reducing the size of the testes and causing erection problems.

Discover: 6 Ways to Control Stress and Anxiety without Drugs


These are just some examples of the types of drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction. These drugs can all harm your health and keep you from enjoying your sexuality to the fullest. Therefore, adopting healthy habits and going to therapy to care for your mental health is necessary to avoid these drugs entirely.

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  • Prieto Castro, Rafael, Campos Hernández, Pablo, Robles Casilda, Rafael, Ruíz García, Jesús, & Requena Tapia, María José. (2010). Epidemiología de la disfunción eréctil: Factores de riesgo. Archivos Españoles de Urología (Ed. impresa)63(8), 637-639. Recuperado en 16 de marzo de 2019, de http://scielo.isciii.es/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0004-06142010000800010&lng=es&tlng=es.
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