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J Sex Med. 2013 Feb;10(2):333-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02977.x. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Effect of drug use and influence of abstinence on sexual functioning in a Spanish male drug-dependent sample: a multisite study.

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Department of Personality and Psychological Assessment and Treatment, School of Psychology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.



To date, it has been difficult to address the issue of sexual functioning and drug use, and many approaches to it have basic problems and methodological errors.


The present cross-sectional study compared the sexual functioning scores of a group of drug users with those of a group of nondrug users. It explored the relationship between drug abstinence and sexual functioning.


A sample of 905 males participated in this study (549 met the substance dependence criteria and 356 were controls). All of them were assessed with the Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire-Drugs version.


The assessment was conducted from September 2009 to January 2011. The clinical sample was evaluated in nine different substance abuse treatment facilities.


Results show that, overall, all dimensions (pleasure, desire, arousal, and orgasm) were moderately impaired. Yet, differences regarding preferred substance were observed. Pleasure and orgasm were the two areas most significantly impaired. In these areas, all drugs seemed to negatively affect sexual functioning. However, desire and arousal were not affected by all the substances. In addition, at least after 2 weeks of drug abstinence, no relationship was found between drug abstinence and improvement in sexual functioning. The sample studied had an average of 1 year of drug abstinence and was found to have poorer sexual functioning than the control group.


Therefore, these results seem to contradict those that argue that drug use only impairs sexual functioning temporarily. Moreover, they suggest that sexual functioning does not improve just by stopping drug use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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