What some might think to be a harmless drug is not harmless at all. In fact, marijuana can cause serious sexual problems in many couples. "Marijuana users might experience very weak orgasms or not experience them at all," says Dr. Juan C. Paredes, board-certified psychiatrist based in South Beach Clinic in Miami Beach who sub-specializes in sexual medicine for men.
We asked Dr. Paredes, as well as Dr. Dennis Lin, sex therapist, psychiatrist and attending physician at the Department of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, NY, other questions on the subject. Read on to uncover some important facts about pot and sex...
The mechanism for marijuana to contribute to erectile dysfunction is unknown," says Dr. Paredes. "However, it might be related to an increase in prolactine production, which has also been linked to decreased testosterone. This hormone is important for processes such as erection, ejaculation and orgasm."
"Men who smoke marijuana frequently have significantly less seminal fluid, a lower total sperm count and their sperm behave abnormally, all of which may affect fertility adversely," adds Dr. Lin.
"Prolactine is a hormone produced in the brain's pituitary gland -- it's essential for breast feeding and elevated during pregnancy and breastfeeding. When elevated, prolactine has negative effects on the production of other sex hormones, such as testosterone, and is associated with decreased libido," explains Dr. Paredes. "Marijuana is one of the drugs that can increase prolactine production and therefore it acts on libido and other testosterone-mediated functions, such as erection, ejaculation and orgasm."
"It is also thought that high prolactine levels produce down regulation of dopamine brain receptors, a neurotransmitter essential to stimulate sexual behavior in animals and human beings," he adds. "The most frequent cause for elevated prolactine levels is prescribed medications."
"Using marijuana regularly or habitually is related. It increases risk of erectile dysfunction, and in men and women it may be linked to overall reduced interest in sex," says Dr. Lin. "Marijuana, in higher doses, has detrimental effects on fertility and even in smaller doses can have negative impacts during pregnancy for the fetus."
"The best way to approach her partner is through open and honest communication. Tell your husband or significant other that his marijuana habit is having a negative effect on your sex life," says Dr. Lin. "If there continues to be communication difficulties the couple should seek the help of a psychotherapist."
"As a rule, habitual use of marijuana or any illicit substance will lead to long-term detrimental consequences on one's sexual health and function, as well as general health and well-being," explains Dr. Lin. "Therefore, it should be avoided."
"There is not a single medicine or vitamin that prevents sexual dysfunctions," explains Paredes. "The best way to do it is through a healthy lifestyle, including emotional balance, refreshing sleep, daily exercise, healthy eating, abstinence from cigarettes and drugs, moderation with alcohol and fulfilling sex."
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