Archive for the ‘Sexual Side Effects from Drugs’ Category

Bipolar Drugs and Sexual Side Effects: Giving Pot a Shot?   11 comments

There I was with a really great girl.  We had an incredible evening, which started with drinks at a favorite watering hole, a sushi dinner and dancing to live blues at this little club right off the main avenue.   Here was this smart, attractive and fun to be with lady who I had a lot in common with and out of all the poor slobs in town she actually wanted me.  We were having so much fun I invited her up to my apartment and she ended up staying the night.  But as soon as we got in bed I knew I was in trouble.    I prayed and prayed let it not be so, but my heart began to sink because in my penis I did not feel a thing.  A voluptuous naked woman lying next to me in bed couldn’t arouse me.  I was a disgrace to all the 13 year old boys who would have killed to be in my shoes.

I did everything I could to get aroused, but we were only going to be at half mast.  My partner took it personally and did everything she could to bring it back from the dead.  She thought it was her.  I told her no and let her keep working on me like an EMT trying to get someone’s heart to start beating again at an accident scene.  Eventually it started to hurt.  Finally I jumped out of bed, wrapped a sheet around myself and told her about the bipolar medication I take and its sexual side effects.  She wanted to know if this was a condition for life?  So did I.

If you are bipolar and are taking any kind of anti-depressant and or mood stabilizer cocktail, almost everyone experiences side effects.  They range from dry mouth, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, shaky hands, blurred vision, weight gain, short term memory loss and everyone’s favorite, sexual dysfunction.  For a man it might mean not being able to obtain an erection, experience a full erection, have dry ejaculations, ejaculations with no sensation or a greatly subdued sex drive.   For women diminished sex drive is a frequent sexual side effect as well as vaginal dryness and the inability to reach orgasm.  Put a bipolar man and women together both on psychotropics drugs and bedtime suddenly becomes TV time.

I spent the better part of 24 years trying to figure out a way to make sex enjoyable again.  All I wanted to do is reap some modicum of feeling out of my penis and have a normal ejaculation during sex.  There was no questions about it the anti-depressants and mood stabilizers I was taking were lessening my libido to the point of “why bother.”  My psychiatrist and I tried many different things, each time getting my hopes up only to crash and burn when I put myself to the test.  We switched my anti-depressants to newer ones that were supposed to have less sexual side effects.  We lowered the doses of certain medications.  We even tried this drug called Yohimbine, which is actually a natural aphrodisiac.  On my own I experimented with Viagra and Cialis.  I so badly wanted to sit contently in that porcelain claw-footed bathtub overlooking a cliff next to my lover like in the Cialis commercial.

Switching to Effexor as an anti-depressant and Lamictal as a mood-stabilizer seemed to do the least harm to my sex drive.  I was able to get relatively erect and 3 out of 5 times  I’d have some sensation when I ejaculated.  I told myself, if this is as good as it gets, I should be thankful.   And then one night years later I smoked a little bit of marijuana before I got into bed with my fiancee.

Not only was my level of sexual interest heightened, but I achieved a full erection, did it a lot faster and had an incredible orgasm.  I couldn’t believe it.  I thought it had to be a fluke.  But we tried it again the next night and the same thing… I could feel pleasure!  From then on a little bit of pot before sex seems to cure the sexual side effects from the psychotropic medications I am currently taking.

I am not purporting that marijuana is the cure all for sexual side effects from bipolar medication.  I’m not a doctor or scientist.  And, I discovered it purely by accident.  I have no idea of proper dosages.  Plus, you have to keep in mind all marijuana has different strengths and people metabolize it at many different rates, so it’s even more complicated to prescribe.  Moreover, if you don’t live in California, it’s also illegal, so if you decide to try it you risk trouble with the law.  As a matter of fact, in California it’s legal only under State Law, but not under Federal Law.  How confusing is that?

What I am trying to convey is that if you are bipolar and experience sexual side effects to the degree they are becoming extremely troubling to you and your partner, a little marijuana before sex could make you more functional and fulfilled.  I have heard the same thing from medicated bipolar women.  The increased stimulation alleviates the vaginal dryness and makes sex much more pleasurable.  However, some wonen still have trouble reaching orgasm even with mother nature’s help.

Many good psychiatrists have a lot more information about marijuana than in the past.  I really don’t know any who prescribe it, but they understand how it works and when used in moderation can counteract medication side effects and quell certain bipolar symptoms.  I told my doctor how I was using marijuana and he was OK with it, although warned me that heavy usage could trigger deeper bipolar depressive episodes.

My suggestion is to first have your doctor work with your medications and see if you can achieve any success through that avenue.  Also try exercising more, which especially for men, gets the blood pumping through all the vital organs.  And if it seems like you have run out of options, marijuana is always there.  And if you hate smoking, you can now “smoke” through something called a Vaporizer, which spares damage to your lungs by filtering out all the smoke allowing you to just breath in a clear mist of THC, marijuana’s main active ingredient.

In the future, I firmly believe pharmaceutical companies will come out with psychotropic drugs for bipolar illness completely without sexual side effects.  Or, they will be able to prescribe a companion drug to counteract it.  But in the mean time, if you’ve spent much too long getting no pleasure form sex, you might consider giving pot a shot.  But you didn’t hear it from me.

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