Sex and breathlessness

Will my medications affect my sex life?

Some medications can cause a decline in your sex drive or sexual function. These include antidepressants. If this is a problem for you, ask your health care professional for advice.

Consult your health care professional too if you’re thinking of taking Viagra or any other drug to treat erectile dysfunction.

Using a steroid inhaler or taking steroids through a nebuliser can cause oral thrush, a type of infection in the mouth. This might make you feel less inclined to have sex or be intimate. Talk to your health care professional if you get lots of thrush infections.

Some medications, such as antibiotics, might increase the risk of genital thrush. It’s important to make sure thrush infections are properly treated, and avoid having sex until the infection has cleared up.

Sex and using oxygen

It’s perfectly safe to have sex while using oxygen. Some people find that oxygen increases stamina. If you have been prescribed oxygen therapy, you can use it during sexual activity. If you use a different setting of oxygen for activity, make sure to use the oxygen at this level.

Non-invasive ventilation

People who use non-invasive ventilation (NIV) overnight to help them to breathe often find it affects their sexual activity. But it’s perfectly safe to have sex and to be intimate while on NIV. So you can use your ventilator if it suits you and your partner.

If you have concerns or need advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

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Last medically reviewed: March 2017. Due for review: March 2020

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.