Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain And Its Treatment Derails Sex Lives

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Chronic pain can be devastating to a chronic pain patient’s sex drive, which can ultimately affect the relationship. For many people who are constantly in pain, sex can be the last thing on their mind. But sex does much more than bring you closer to your partner. It may also be able to decrease pain. According to Pain Medicine News, pleasurable self-stimulation may increase pain threshold by 75 percent. Having an orgasm can boost pain threshold by more than 100 percent.

How Does Pain Reduce Libido?

Pain reduces libido in several ways. People with high levels of pain release significant amounts of epinephrine, which constricts blood vessels and makes it difficult for men to keep an erection. Therefore, controlling pain is crucial for treating erectile dysfunction. Some pain medications may also contribute to erectile dysfunction or sexual response. Other drugs, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity medications may cause pain or interfere with sexual desire.


Additionally, low back pain or sore joints can make sex painful. Pain can cause a person to become more sedentary than normal, which increases weight and decreases sexual drive. The more a person sits and becomes inactive, the less likely they are to engage in sexual activity. Finally, the inability to be intimate with the person you love can cause the two of you to grow apart.

Treatment Options

Opioids are useful for treating pain, but they also suppress the adrenal axis, which prevents sex hormones from being manufactured. This makes non-narcotic treatments desirable, such as yoga, meditation, massage, diet and exercise therapy, and acupuncture. A combination of alternative and conventional medications can be utilized.


Hormone replacement therapy can be used to prevent low testosterone and erectile dysfunction. Additionally, anti-depressants may be able to help with sexual desire. Bringing up topics of sexual health with your partner may be necessary to reestablish the relationship. Consulting a therapist can help with tips for returning to a healthy sex life.