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How Addiction Affects Your Sex Life

Drug addiction affects all aspects of your life—from your job to your relationships to your sex life. Drugs can make sex more difficult—and riskier for you and your partner(s). The decisions you make regarding sex while you are high can have both short- and long-term impacts, including:

A Higher Risk for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

When you are high, you are less likely to use barrier protection such as a condom when having sex. You have lower inhibitions and are more at mercy to your primal urges, making it more likely you will rush into the act without thinking first. You are unlikely to ask your partner if they have been tested and may be less likely to notice lesions or rashes that may indicate an STD.

You may also be more likely to have multiple partners when you use drugs. Drugs make it more difficult for you to maintain intimacy with just one partner or can prevent you from making good judgments in the heat of the moment.

Because of these reasons, STDs tend to be common in the drug community. They often get passed around over and over. While some diseases only have short-term effects, others can put your fertility and even your life at risk, whether you contract HIV or HPV.

A Higher Risk for Unplanned Pregnancy

Along with a higher risk for STDs, not using barrier protection puts you at a higher risk for unplanned pregnancies. You might not notice if a condom breaks or simply not think to use one. Because sex may be spur-of-the-moment, you may not have a condom with you.

Even if you use birth control pills or other forms of contraception like rings, being high may make you more likely to miss a dose or forget to use them. Your birth control may then be less effective, raising your risk of pregnancy. Long-acting reversible contraception, such as IUDs, may help lower your risk for pregnancy, but still leave you susceptible to STDs.

A Higher Risk for Sexual Assault

Both men and women are at a higher risk for sexual assault and rape when using drugs. When you are high, you may not be able to say no or defend yourself from an assault. You may pass out in places where you are not safe and wake up without knowing what happened to you.

If you do feel you have been assaulted, it’s important to get medical attention. You may need tested for STDs and can take steps to prevent pregnancy. You can also file a police report to help track down your assaulter.

A Higher Risk for Sexual Performance Issues

Drugs may increase your sensitivity to touch, making many different sensations feel great to you. While you are high, this might mean you become aroused easily. However, when your body becomes used to that sensitivity, you may have trouble with arousal while sober. No sensation may be enough to turn you on.

Other drugs, such as alcohol or depressants, may also make it more difficult to maintain an erection because they lower your blood pressure. You may have trouble becoming or staying aroused during intercourse. These performance issues can be embarrassing, affecting both your self-esteem and your intimate relationships.

Your Sober Self-Esteem May Suffer

Drugs can boost your self-esteem and make you feel great about yourself. While high, you may feel more beautiful and confident than you do sober. This can lead to a crash of confidence when you are sober. You may feel less worthy of love and attention, making it hard to establish intimate relationships with other people. It’s hard to feel and give love when you cannot love yourself.

A Higher Risk for Injuries

Drugs can knock you off balance, literally. You may be more likely to fall or experience other injuries during sex while high. You may also be more sexually adventurous and try positions that your body is not capable of maintaining, whether it is holding yourself upright or placing your penis at a certain angle.

Drugs also raise your pain tolerance, meaning you may not notice when something does hurt you. Because you feel less pain, you might have sex that is too vigorous, leading to an injury like vaginal tears or a penile fracture. These injuries can require surgery or other medical treatment to prevent long-term problems.

If you have become sober or are still fighting addiction, you may still be experiencing the effects of addiction on your sex life. It’s vital that you undergo testing for STDs and visit your physician regularly for Pap smears or other screenings.

It’s likely that you’ll also need counseling, either by yourself or with a partner, to learn how to rebuild trust and intimacy in relationships, especially if you have experienced assault. You should make this counseling part of your long-term plan to maintain sobriety since relationships are vital for maintaining abstinence.

At Harmony Place, our caring staff can help you work through all the effects of addiction on your life. We offer comprehensive counseling services for you and your loved ones, as well as long-term support to help you rebuild your life. You can rely on us for years to come after your initial treatment. Our goal is to help you do the hard work of getting—and staying—sober.

If you or a loved one require addiction treatment, we can help. Contact us at 1-888-789-4330 at any time day or night for assistance.