Worst Side Effect Ever: The ‘Pleasureless Orgasm’

July 21, 2008

File this one under “Why isn’t this on the front page?!” It’s a natural audience-grabber that actually has some proper science behind it:

SSRI antidepressants — such as Paxil, Lexapro, Zoloft, Luvox and Prozac — have rates of “decreased libido, delayed orgasm, anorgasmia, erectile dysfunction, and difficulties with arousal, of between 36 and 70%,” according to a new study.

First reported on the excellent (but badly named) psychiatry blog “Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look,” the study is a comprehensive review of sexual side effects triggered by selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. (That’s happy pills, for us lay-folk.)

One of the worst side effects, seemingly designed by the devil himself, is the “pleasureless orgasm.” The condition goes hand in hand with “genital anaesthesia” (meaning “can’t feel anything,” presumably).

Let’s do a little math: According to Scientific American, close to 10% of Americans are on antidepressants. Let’s make it easy and say that’s 30 million of 300 million yanks. Of those, possibly 23 million are walking around in a state of sexual frustration. And they have partners — so that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of a possible 46 million of us who are inexplicably tetchy and bad tempered on most days. (Yes, I know that some of them will be dating each other — but you can see my point.)

Clin Psyc has a link to the original study but it is no longer functional. However, his/her blog carries large quoted chunks from the paper. Among the scariest:

There are indications that some SSRI/SNRI sexual side effects thought to be rare are actually common. The most frequently documented sexual side effects are diminished libido, unspecified problems with arousal, and delayed orgasm or anorgasmia. Delayed ejaculation or orgasm, and anorgasmia have been those symptoms that the literature links most clearly and most frequently to SSRI treatment, vs. to depression itself. However the symptoms of genital anesthesia and pleasureless orgasm, outside the range of common experience and appearing to often occur together, are frequently reported among men and women in Internet communities, in an accumulating case reports literature, and in one research investigation.

Bahrick

And Audrey Bahrick, a psychologist at the University of Iowa University Counseling Service who wrote the study, has done all the legwork for you hacks already:

Over 1500 individuals belong to one internet-based group whose main focus is the discussion of SSRI-related sexual side effects.

All the media have to do now is log on and take notes.

It is true there have been scattershot media reports of sexual side effects and antidepressants over the years. The Times published one here, probably because it contained this quote, about a woman who switched drugs because she became sick of not liking sex :

Two weeks later, Susan called from her cellphone to say that the antidote was working. While shopping, she said, she spontaneously had an orgasm that had lasted on and off for nearly two hours.

(Now that’s a prescription.)

But the scandal here — the lurid, eyeball-drawing scandal — is that the numbers who suffer from sexual side effects due to anti-depressants have been played down and under-researched.

Surely this subject screams for the Alex Kuczynski treatment?

38 Responses to “Worst Side Effect Ever: The ‘Pleasureless Orgasm’”


  1. [...] Edwards, in his blog on the SSRI effect on libido, says: “According to Scientific American, close to 10% of Americans [...]

  2. Paul Says:

    I have been very frustrated with the orgasm that doesn’t feel good. It is really depressing and it happens all the time. Should I try a different anti-depressant?

    • James Says:

      I have found the complete opposite. I have found that they are much more intense and I never leave my wife alone now. She has noticed this too. I’m lucky that she doesn’t seem to mind :P

      I started them about 6 weeks ago (Paxil 10mg).

      I’m 26 years old.

  3. jake Says:

    do not try another antidepressant. the ONLY long-term solution to the sexual side effects is to stop all antidepressants permanently.


  4. They force a normalization of the chemicals in the brain. And that includes the chemicals that make you feel good during orgasm. I know it sucks, but you can do things to make it better. For one, only have sex or masturbate when the pills should be wearing off. If you take a once-a-day pill in the morning, only do it at night or early in the morning before your next pill.

    If it really bothers you talk to your doctor. I was on mood stabilizers for a long time and was unable to reach orgasm while on them, but as soon as I was weaned off I started having orgasms. (I was losing my health insurance in the US because I was moving to Canada, and I don’t yet qualify for healthcare because my residency paperwork is still being processed, so I had to be weaned off the meds.)


  5. What size should I stop at?

    We suggested that once you have achieved the size that you want, you should stop taking our capsules, because some women will find a size larger than 8.5 inches uncomfortable. If you want to take yourself above this level, then the ProSolution Pill System can take you there. The average man will gain 1 to 3 inches on our program.

  6. Mignas Says:

    useful and interesting to know how girls and women

  7. Marcie Says:

    This Article was much enjoyed – however… I need the sex pill. Im a young girl with Bipolar and not having sex is driving me insane. Does any one have any suggestions?


  8. The house of, or manual Underbody?Und u a, and decoding (playing).Is very imperative, being over.You will no natural male enhancement pills, that you may the verandahs of.Best game and, in our beauty.,

  9. Dave Says:

    You could check out the following site:

    http://www.turnontag.com

    It offers a hi-tech approach to enhancing sexual experiences. Increases sex drive, etc. Worth a look.

  10. Velva Piedra Says:

    I found your site when i was searching Google for websites related to this article. I have tell you, your site is good. I like the design too, its nice. I don’t have much time at the moment to fully read your site but I have noted it and I also registered for your RSS feed. I will be back in a day or two.

  11. anguisette Says:

    Paul, have you tried Wellbutrin (bupropion)? It’s a dopamine reuptake inhibitor rather than an SSRI and can actually have the effect of increasing libido, unlike the majority of antidepressants. I’ve been taking it for about two years (after trying several other antidepressants) and have been so happy I’ve finally found something that works that doesn’t also have horrible side effects (although obviously this will vary from person to person). It’s horrible that people are having to choose between managing their depression and being sexually fulfilled. I think that psychiatrists are incredibly remiss in not taking sexual side effects more seriously.

  12. Matt Says:

    Pleasureless orgasms (ejaculatory anhedonia) is not only caused by SSRIs. I have had it as long as I can remember–without ever having taken meds, anti-depressants, other psychoactives, or anything.

  13. Circe12 Says:

    Ignoring the spam on this thread, the key piece of information has got lost in translation, which is that the sexual side-effects of SSRIs can continue for an indefinite period. I don’t know if anyone has any information about reversing this–as I understand it the damage may be to the nerves or even DNA and may be irreversible.

  14. Rachael Says:

    Circe12 – I was on SSRIs for just 6 months two years ago, and I’ve never recovered from what they did to my sex drive. I used to orgasm after a few minutes, now it’s 40minutes and the orgasm is pleasureless. I’d also love to know how to reverse the side effects.

  15. mike Says:

    A pleasureless orgasm = nightmare. I’m glad my penis still works!

    male enhancement


  16. Thank You! For the idea you share to us keep up the good work and more power!
    I found this site may give some helpful information about this topic

    mensenhancementfacts.com


  17. Thank You! For the video you share to us keep up the good work and more power!

    Try to visit this website it will give you more idea about male enhancement,

    Dustin SheickMale Enhancement

  18. David Says:

    I have been very frustrated with the orgasm that doesn’t feel good. It is really depressing and it happens all the time. Should I try a different anti-depressant?


  19. Now this is what scared me most, “…close to 10% of Americans are on antidepressants. Let’s make it easy and say that’s 30 million of 300 million yanks”

    Do you understand what mean? A huge number of population are not happy; not living their fullest life possible!?

    You see, the big pharmaceutical firms are killing us gradually while smiling to the banks. Unfortunately, we keep blogging about this, but the Media won’t fight as much as they should the Big Pharma spends millions of dollars on advertising and sponsorship.

  20. firminitemale Says:

    you need a sex with girl or women try it with firminite

  21. joe Says:

    Lol, I know somthing that may help it’s called Expand at http://www.ExpandEnhancement.com


  22. Thanks for the insight into this subject….I’ll keep reading :)

  23. Ckefatcz Says:

    Children with disabilities pedo star
    gaegm

  24. Jhbnceca Says:

    How much will it cost to send this letter to ? Incest Bbs >:-[

  25. Lee-Anne Somerton Says:

    I was in the psychiatric system for many years. All the medications prescribed made,me physically and emitionaly suck. Psychiatry kills people through false diagnosis and,medication. It is evil and supported by evil drug companies. In the name of profit in the capitalist society. Psychiatry and medication should be named like guns. They both represent the collective conscious and unconscious of evil. Psychotherapy is the only way to recover from stress from which all emotional sickness emanates.

  26. aoeu Says:

    Been off Zoloft for 2 years, after only having been on it 1.5, and I still have genital anaesthesia…

    I’ve heard that Wellbutrin may counteract the effect… but it’s contraindicated in individuals with epilepsy, which I have.

    This f***ing sucks.


  27. crazy but funny ..i’m having more knowledge of what to do ! LOLS ;x thanks

  28. Ewlzllsk Says:

    The manager http://popoqotosoker.blog.free.fr/ child nudist bbs lol could u imagine what it would be like if u actually saw your ex gf or whatev in a video on this site or even worst your mom XD

  29. Lqgbjyfv Says:

    How much is a Second Class stamp? http://pyosadimuki.de.tl shy models nonnude Fuck me I wish he woud shut up! Made more fuckin noise talkin than he did when he was comin’! What a tosser.

  30. Keith Glaze Says:

    Is it safe to take paxil while taking endures male enhancement pills?

  31. Edward Darrell Irwin II Says:

    I’ve been on Zoloft for 3 months & have had the desensitization & pleasureless orgasm. Since the 2nd week; I figured it would pass, but hasn’t. I see my doctor next week.

  32. youtube Says:

    Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when
    i read this paragraph i thought i could also make comment due to this good piece of writing.

  33. abbah Says:

    CHURCH PEOPLE ARE EVIL AND IF YOU WILL ENJOY SEX THEY SMEAR AND DISTROY YOUR LIFE BEFORE YOU WERE BORN !


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: