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Exercise can override libido-dulling effects of antidepressants: study

sex-and-relationships Updated: Dec 17, 2013 14:57 IST
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An unfortunate side effect of taking antidepressants is loss of libido and inability to reach orgasm, but a new study finds that this can be mitigated with a dose of exercise, for women at least.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin recruited 52 women who reported sexual side effects from antidepressants. During the first three weeks of the study, the women had sex with their partners but didn't exercise. In the second experiment, they completed either three weeks of exercise immediately before having sex, or three weeks of exercise not timed to sex at all.

They all engaged in 30 minutes of strength training and cardio exercise three times a week. 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.

The results showed that 30 minutes of exercise just before intercourse reduced the effect of the libido-dulling drugs, with women reporting stronger libidos and more orgasms post-workout.

"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," says study author Tierney Lorenz.

Findings, announced Tuesday, are published online in the journal Depression and Anxiety.