What is high blood pressure?
As blood travels through your arteries, it exerts a certain amount of force along the arterial walls. This force is blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the more force your blood exerts against these walls.
Chances are, you have your blood pressure checked whenever you visit your doctor’s office. And it’s likely the nurse gives you two numbers:
How Can High Blood Pressure Affect Sex?
For both men and women, good blood flow to the genitals is important for sexual response. But high blood pressure can damage the linings of your blood vessels, leading to plaque buildup and atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. When this happens, blood has a harder time flowing to essential parts of the body.
Since blood flow to the penis is an important mechanism for erection, many men with high blood pressure develop erectile dysfunction, which means they can’t get or keep an erection firm enough for sex.
Men with high blood pressure might have problems with ejaculation and desire, too.
Reduced blood flow to the genitals can also be an issue for women, interfering with desire, arousal, vaginal lubrication, and orgasm.
Anxiety over high blood pressure and its associated health problems can affect the sex lives of both men and women, especially if it weakens relationships.
Couples may have less desire for sex. Or they may not feel sexually satisfied.
Sexual Side Effects of Blood Pressure Medications
Unfortunately, medications used to treat high blood pressure can cause sexual problems themselves. For example, diuretics (water pills) can reduce blood flow to the penis and lower levels of zinc, which a man’s body needs to make testosterone. Beta blockers are another type of blood pressure drug that can have sexual side effects.
If you think your medication is causing sexual problems, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. It might be possible to adjust your dose or change the drug you take. Don’t make any changes without a doctor’s guidance, however.