Higgins, et al. (2010) linked to in the comments states that sexual dysfunction is a common side effect of antidepressants, particularly of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRIs) medications. The reason from what the article points out is that:
Sex is more than a physical act. It also includes emotional and psychological dimensions. The normal sex cycle consists of four successive phases: desire, arousal, orgasm, and resolution. These phases are facilitated by the interplay of neurotransmitters, hormones, and peptides. Different classes of antidepressants impact on all phases of the sexual response cycle to varying degrees.
The details pertaining to each class of antidepressant are summarised in Table 1 in the article.
Switching from SSRIs
Taylor, et al. (2013) reported that switching from sertraline to nefazodone was significantly less likely to result in re-emergence of the sexual dysfunction and was not associated with any worsening depression. Zajecka (2001) suggests that nefazodone, bupropion, and possibly mirtazapine have minimal or no negative impact on sexual functioning. However, individual responses to this strategy may vary.
Firstly, the sexual dysfunction may recede but the depressive illness reasserts itself. Secondly, the change of medication may result in other associated side effects which may be more debilitating as they are present throughout the client’s day, not just when they want to have sex. Thirdly, the client who has experienced both the depression and the sexual dysfunction may feel that a ‘little’ depression is preferable to sexual dysfunction (Higgins, et al., 2010).
Higgins, A., Nash, M., & Lynch, A. M. (2010). Antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction: impact, effects, and treatment. Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety, 2, 141–150. DOI: 10.2147/DHPS.S7634
PMCID: PMC3108697 (Full Text Accessible for Disabled)
Free PDF: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3108697/pdf/dhps-2-141.pdf
Taylor, M. J., Rudkin, L., Bullemor‐Day, P., Lubin, J., Chukwujekwu, C., & Hawton, K. (2013). Strategies for managing sexual dysfunction induced by antidepressant medication. The Cochrane Library 5. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003382.pub3
Zajecka, J. (2001). Strategies for the treatment of antidepressant-related sexual dysfunction. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62, 35-43. PMID: 11229451