Sexual dysfunction in men who abuse illicit drugs: a preliminary report

J Sex Med. 2009 Apr;6(4):1072-1080. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00707.x. Epub 2007 Dec 18.


Introduction: Despite being seen as aphrodisiacs, illicit drugs are reported to have detrimental effects on male sexual function but most studies have been based on small case numbers with ambiguous results.

Aims: To assess the impact of illicit drugs abuse on male sexual function.

Main outcome measures: International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and global assessment questions.

Methods: Illicit drug abusers in a Drug Abstention and Treatment Center were recruited to complete the questionnaires and their data were compared with an age-matched control.

Results: The abusers (N = 701, mean age 33.8 years) had a lower mean IIEF score in each domain than that of the controls (N = 196, mean age 35.4 years). Heroin, amphetamine, and MDMA ("Ecstasy") were the leading drugs used. Erectile dysfunction (ED) was reported in 36.4% of the abusers and the odds ratio of having ED (compared with the controls) in mono-users of heroin, amphetamine, and MDMA was 4.8 (P < 0.05), 3.2 (P < 0.05), and 1.4 (P > 0.05), respectively. Of the abusers, 38.6% reported to have decreased sexual desire with illicit drug use, more often seen in the heroin mono-users (46.7%), and 18.4% reported to have enhanced sexual desire, more often seen in the amphetamine mono-users (22.6%). Mean IIEF sexual desire domain score of the abusers was lower than that of the control, even for those who reported to have enhanced sexual desire. Increased and decreased ejaculation latency affected by illicit drugs was reported in 49.9 and 14.3%, respectively, of the abusers, showing no significant difference among the mono-users of three different drugs.

Conclusions: Illicit drug male abusers were prone to have ED, decreased sexual desire, and increased ejaculation latency. ED and decreased sexual desire were most commonly seen in heroin, followed by amphetamine and MDMA mono-users, while increased ejaculation latency occurred commonly in all of the abusers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphetamines*
  • Demography
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Health Status
  • Heroin Dependence / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*


  • Amphetamines
  • Illicit Drugs
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine