- University of Texas research found regular exercise improves the ability of the women to orgasm
- 30 minutes of exercise immediately before having sex, ‘significantly’ improves sexual functioning in women taking antidepressants, they said
- May be because exercise boosts blood flow to the genital regions
Exercise may hold the key to combatting some of the negative side effects that antidepressants can have on a woman’s sex drive.
Just 30 minutes of exercise immediately before having sex, ‘significantly’ improves sexual functioning in women taking the drugs and boosts their ability to orgasm, new research suggests.
The findings could have important health implications for alleviating some side effects of antidepressants.
The study, published online in the journal Depression and Anxiety, shows that sexual dysfunction can be effectively treated with an inexpensive, non-invasive prescription of moderately intense workouts.
‘These findings have important implications for public health, as exercise as a treatment for sexual side effects is accessible, cheap and does not add to burden of care,’ said Tierney Lorenz, an Indiana University post-doctoral research fellow, who conducted the study at the University of Texas at Austin with psychology professor Cindy Meston.
The researchers examined 52 women who reported sexual side effects from antidepressants.
The study participants had sex without doing an exercise for the first three weeks of the experiment.
Over another three weeks, half of the group then exercised for 30 minutes immediately before having sex and the other half did 30 minutes of strength training and cardio exercise three times a week whenever they liked. The two groups then reversed roles in the last experiment.
Women who exercised regularly were asked to add three extra sessions to their workout routines and all the participants self-reported their sexual function, desires, satisfaction and psychological health before and after each part of the experiment.
The scientists discovered that regular exercise improved the ability of the women to orgasm.
They also found that those who exercised immediately before sex experienced significantly stronger libidos and overall improvements in sexual functioning.
The researchers believe this is because moderately intense exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system, which facilitates blood flow to the genital region, while antidepressants have been shown to decrease this system.
Scheduling regular sexual activity and exercise may be an effective tool for alleviating these adverse side effects, Dr Lorenz said.
‘Considering the wide prevalence of antidepressant sexual side effects and the dearth of treatment options for those experiencing these distressing effects, this is an important step in treating sexual dysfunction among women who are taking antidepressants,’ she said.