- New research has overturned previous thinking that the body recovers in a matter of weeks
- Men who had taken drugs had moderately to significantly impaired sexual performance
- Sexual function depends on type of drug taken
Men who take drugs are more likely to have performance issues in the bedroom - even years after they stop taking them.
New research has overturned previous thinking that the body recovers in a matter of weeks, issuing a fresh warning to men who take illegal substances or even drink heavily.
During the study, published in the prestigious Journal of Sexual Medicine, the researchers assessed the sexual performance of 906 men.
The new research has overturned previous thinking that the body recovers in a matter of weeks
Of them, 550 had been diagnosed with an addiction to either alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, speedball (a combination of cocaine and heroin) or an addiction to both cocaine and alcohol. But they were not dependent at the time of the study.
The other 356 men had not ever taken drugs or drunk heavily.
The researchers, from the University of Granada, Spain, and Santo Tomas University in Colombia, examined and evaluated four areas of sexual performance: sexual desire, sexual satisfaction, sexual arousal and orgasm.
They also found different substances affect sexuality in different ways, e.g. cocaine users have very high sexual desire during peak periods of drug abuse
Alcohol was found to be the worst offender for erectile dysfunction, whereas men who took heroin, cocaine, alcohol and speedball had difficulty in achieving orgasm.
They also separately examined how different substances affect sexuality. For example, they found cocaine users have very high sexual desire during peak periods of drug abuse.
Speedball users, on the other hand, have enhanced sexual pleasure, but slightly reduced sexual desire.
Previous research has indicated that chronic cocaine use can impair sexual function in men and women. In men, cocaine can cause delayed or impaired ejaculation.
Even prescription drugs can affect sexual function. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors - a modern family of antidepressants including Prozac, Seroxat and sertraline - cause a loss of libido and delayed orgasm in the majority of people who take them, says Professor David Taylor, director of pharmacy and pathology at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
In fact, they are sometimes prescribed to patients suffering from premature ejaculation for this very reason.
He said: 'These drugs work by increasing levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that stimulates certain receptors in the brain to improve mood,’ he explains.
‘However this also stimulates other receptors which appears to lower libido.'