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  • Meth Use And Sex | How Meth Affects Sexual Function

    Methamphetamine, also called meth or crystal meth, is a highly addictive stimulant. A popular club drug in the United States, it causes a rush of intense happiness, energy, and confidence.  

    As with many forms of drug use, methamphetamine use can impact your sexual function. 

    How Meth Affects Sexual Function

    Meth can have both positive and negative effects on a person’s sexual experiences. 

    Positive Effects Of Methamphetamine On Sexual Function

    Many people with methamphetamine addiction started using the drug because they sought its positive sexual effects. These effects include:

    • increased libido
    • increased sexual pleasure
    • stronger orgasms
    • the ability for men to last longer
    • increased feelings of sexual power and agency in women

    Meth causes these effects by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) associated with pleasure and reward.

    In addition, because meth significantly enhances energy, people who use it can have more frequent sex than they normally would.

    Most of these positive effects will fade with continued meth use.  

    Negative Effects Of Methamphetamine On Sexual Function

    Because meth increases libido and impairs judgment, many people who use it engage in compulsive, high-risk sexual activities. 

    For example, someone who usually only has sex with one person may seek out multiple sexual partners. The person’s sexual orientation may also change or expand.  

    Meth use also makes you more likely to have unprotected sex. Thus, people who use meth face a higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV infection (which has a greater prevalence among men who have sex with other men). 

    HIV-positive people who use meth are more likely to experience neuron (nerve cell) damage and cognitive problems (such as memory loss and trouble concentrating) than HIV-positive people who don’t use meth. 

    Along with risky sexual behaviors, long-term meth use can lead to sexual health problems like:

    • delayed or weak orgasms
    • decreased libido
    • erectile dysfunction
    • fertility issues

    In addition, meth can damage a person’s sexual confidence by impacting their appearance. For instance, the drug often causes severe dental problems (“meth mouth”). 

    It can also cause psychosis (a feeling of disconnection from reality) that makes a person feel like bugs are crawling on or under their skin. They’ll then excessively scratch themselves, leaving scabs and sores

    How To Treat The Sexual Side Effects Of Meth

    Some people who use meth try to decrease the sexual side effects without quitting the drug. For example, men may take Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction. However, mixing Viagra with meth increases the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. 

    The only safe way to stop the sexual side effects of meth is to stop using the drug. To recover from meth abuse and addiction, most people will need to attend a drug abuse treatment program. 

    Available on an inpatient or outpatient basis, these programs offer services such as:

    • mental health counseling, where you can learn how to identify triggers for meth use and develop important coping skills
    • peer support groups, where you can connect with people facing meth addiction and other substance use disorders
    • psychiatry, where doctors can prescribe prescription medications to treat any underlying mental illnesses that contribute to your meth use 

    If you or someone you love struggles with meth, please contact an Ark Behavioral Health specialist to learn about our substance abuse and addiction treatment programs.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on June 17, 2022
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