Lithium and Libido: Few Studies, Some Problems in Bipolar Patients

Patients who take antipsychotic and antidepressant medications frequently experience sexual side effects, necessitating dose adjustments. Lithium is a cornerstone treatment for many patients with bipolar disorder, but few studies have investigated its effect on sexual function.

Recently, researchers set out to determine the incidence of treatment-emergent sexual dysfunction with lithium and identify potential management approaches. By conducting a systematic computerized literature search of preclinical and clinical studies, they examined 13 relevant papers and published their results in Human Psychopharmacology and Clinical Experience.

The preclinical studies shed light on the etiology of lithium-related sexual dysfunction, noting that the drug could significantly reduce testosterone levels and impair nitric oxide-mediated control of male erectile tissue. Additionally, 6 clinical reports suggested that lithium might reduce sexual thoughts and desire, worsen erectile function, and reduce sexual satisfaction.

During the duration of my sex life I was (a) erratic, often didn’t feel like it (b) took ages to climax and often couldn’t hold an erection. Sex was the biggest thing my wife and I argued over . I had put it down to anxiety/psychological issues after an abortive attempt at sex where the other person reacted harshly, before I met my wife.
Now I’m not so sure as though I wasn’t brilliant at taking it (tending to forget doses) I was on lithium during the time I was having sex.
Although my wife complained sometimes she never left me but for others it could have been a relationship/marriage breaker.

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I’m bipolar and havn’t been taking any of my medications for the last few weeks. WOW at the difference in my libido! I feel like masturbating two or three times a day now, as opposed to once every week or two while on meds. I feel like a teenager again! :bamboo: