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Use of different substances associated with diverse sexual side effects, finds study

Use of different substances associated with diverse sexual side effects, finds study

Alcohol, marijuana and ecstasy, three of the most abused substances by young adults, can cause different sexual side effects on users, says a recent study by researchers at the NYU Meyers College of Nursing. The study, conducted at the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) of the Nursing College, focused on the specific effects of these substances on the user.

Published in the journal Psychology and Sexuality, the study analyzed the influence with regard to certain parameters like increased social outgoingness, increased attraction and sexual dysfunction. They surveyed 679 young adults (ages 18 -28), checking up on them in EDM parties at nightclubs, and various dance festivals in the New York City. This was required to observe, and then compare the sexual effects elicited by the use of alcohol, marijuana and ecstasy. The researchers found that compared to marijuana, alcohol and ecstasy had a stronger association with sexuality. Alcohol and ecstasy users experienced heightened perceived sexual effects—including a desire for social meetings, which facilitates meeting potential partners, and a boost to sexual desire and a feeling of attraction.

Deciphering the effects

“These results align with previous research on the social effects of alcohol use, which link alcohol use to increased feelings of self-acceptance and decreased feelings of social anxiety in social situations,” said lead researcher Joseph Palamar, Ph.D., MPH, an associate professor of population health at the NYU Langone Health.

A feeling of attraction—whether it is feeling attractive or getting attracted to someone else—grew stronger with the consumption of alcohol in users. Ecstasy trailed a step behind. While 67 percent of the participants reported feeling more attractive after consuming alcohol, 61 percent achieved that feeling using ecstasy. However, only 25 percent of the marijuana users reported experiencing a similar feeling.

The numbers slightly varied when it came to feeling attracted to others. While 72 percent users attributed this to alcohol, 64 percent said ecstasy did it for them, while only 27 percent of the respondents named marijuana for it.

Apart from feeling attracted to someone or feeling attractive, the use of these substances was also associated with sexual dysfunction as reported by the study subjects. In males, this condition occurred more commonly while using alcohol or ecstasy, while it was more likely for females to report sexual dysfunction after using marijuana.

Although alcohol and ecstasy could possibly increase sexual desire, they could also, actually hinder sexual performance in males, said Palamar. Alcohol caused a numbness in the body, which can delay or prevent orgasm. In addition, impotence was a common occurrence while being high on ecstasy, despite the drug increasing body sensitivity. Among the respondents, nearly 39 percent had reported using all the three substances. The researchers compared the self–reported effects to draw their conclusion.

Dealing with substance abuse

Apart from stirring and evoking risky sexual behaviors, the chronic and severe use of substances can also be fatal. Considering the repercussions of the above-mentioned substances, it is more than essential to spread adequate awareness about their side effects. Parties and gatherings enjoyed by the young and the not so young have either or all of these substances doing the rounds, which might have serious ramifications. It is important to remember that drugs sold as a legal high, poses multiple challenges in the form of adverse side effects. When addicted to such drugs, people should seek appropriate treatment for recovery.

If you or your loved one is grappling with an addiction, seek immediate help. The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline assists in accessing the best substance abuse treatment centers in Texas that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-2658 or chat online to know more about the substance abuse treatment programs in Texas.