Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Substance-/Medication-Induced Sexual Dysfunction in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Erin MartinezEmail author
  • Sallie Foley
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_463


Clinicians working in the field of couple and family therapy often encounter issues of sexual dysfunction and substance use in their clients. Many individuals cite the use of licit and illicit drugs as a way to relax, increase sexual desire, or assist them in feeling more capable of engaging in sexual behavior (Rany and Anthony 2011). However, increasing research has found that psychoactive substances like alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis can negatively impact sexual functioning. Sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction (ED), premature/delayed ejaculation, vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse, and low libido have been linked to substance use (Diehl et al. 2016). One reason for this link is because substances can affect the chemical responses of the body and decrease the required blood flow response necessary for arousal and the engorgement of tissues for lubrication and erection (Anais et al. 2012).

Theoretical Context for Concept

Social isolation, poor...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Aicken, C., Nardone, A., & Mercer, C. (2011). Alcohol misuse, sexual risk behavior and adverse sexual health outcomes: Evidence from Britain’s national probability sexual behavior surveys. Journal of Public Health, 2, 262–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anais, M., Berchtold, A., Michaud, P., Gmel, G., & Suris, J. (2012). Sexual dysfunctions among young men: Prevalence and associated factors. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 51, 25–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Braun-Harvey, D., & Vigorito, M. A. (2016). Treating out of control sexual behavior: Rethinking sex addiction. New York: Springer Publishing Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. del Rio, F., Cabello, F., & Fernandez, I. (2015). Influence of substance use on the erectile response in a sample of drug users. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 15, 37–43.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Diehl, A., Rassool, H., dos Santos, M., Pillon, S., & Laranjeira, R. (2016). Assessment of sexual dysfunction symptoms in female drug users: Standardized vs. unstandardized methods. Substance Use & Misuse, 51, 419–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dissez, M., Beji, N., & Oskay, U. (2015). The effects of alcohol dependence on the quality of life and sex life of women. Substance Use & Misuse, 50, 1373–1382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Three Rivers Press.Google Scholar
  8. Hari, J. (2015). Chasing the scream: The first and last days of the war on drugs. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Hart, T., Moskowitz, P., Cox, C., Li, X., Ostrow, D., Stall, R., Gorbach, P., & Plankey, M. (2012). The cumulative effects of medication use, drug use, and smoking on erectile dysfunction among men who have sex with men. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 9, 1106–1113.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Johnson, S. M. (2008). Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love. New York: Little, Brown & Co..Google Scholar
  11. Mehtry, V., Kiran Kumar, P. K., Shetty, N. J., Bhandary, S. A., Adappa, K., Soans, S. T., & Hegde, M. A. (2013). Substance use and sexual dysfunction. Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences, 2, 8620–8628.Google Scholar
  12. Palha, A. P., & Esteves, M. (2002). A study of the sexuality of opiate addicts. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 28, 427–437.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Rany, S., & Anthony, B. (2011). Impact of cannabis use on male sexual health. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8, 971–975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Zemishlany, Z., Aizenberg, D., & Weizman, A. (2001). Subjective effects of MDMA (‘ecstasy’) on human sexual function. European Psychiatry, 16, 127–130.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA