Can Citalopram affect the ability to reach climax? (5+ advise)

In this article, we will discuss whether Citalopram can affect the ability to reach climax and what research tells us about it. We will also discuss various tips on how to cope with this side effect.

Can Citalopram affect the ability to reach climax?

Yes, using Citalopram (Celexa) can affect the ability to climax. It is one of the most common sexual side effects caused by this drug. Citalopram may also cause decreased desire to have sex in both men and women.

While the sexual side effects caused by using Citalopram are the same for both genders, there are a few differences in how it affects men and women. Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant and is known to cause sexual dysfunction.

Other antidepressants, like Effexor and Trazadone, are also known to affect libido in patients. Make sure you properly monitor your side effects and report them to your healthcare provider.

What does research suggest?

There are various studies on sexual dysfunction induced by the use of SSRI antidepressants.

In a study conducted to see the effects of Citalopram and Fluoxetine in healthy male individuals, it was observed that treatment with Citalopram and Fluoxetine resulted in delayed ejaculation, and this was more significant with Citalopram. (1)

Research also shows that sexual dysfunction caused by SSRIs may be dose-dependent. If the dose prescribed is high, then you are more likely to experience these side effects. Adjusting the dose can be a strategy to consider, and decreasing the drug dose to the lowest effective level may reduce side effects. (2)

Talk to your doctor about making dose adjustments to your medication. If your depression and anxiety symptoms can be managed on a low dose, then this can be a solution to your side effects.

How to manage this Citalopram-induced dysfunction?

If you experience an inability to reach climax after starting a SSRI, inform your doctor immediately. This side effect tends to subside after a few days of starting the treatment, so your doctor may recommend waiting if you are responding well to your current SSRI treatment for your depression and seeing if your side effects improve.

There are various ways to help manage this side effect and improve your sexual functioning. They include:

  • Dose adjustments: Lowering the dose of the antidepressant to an effective dose can help reduce the side effects. Please talk to your doctor about making alterations to your prescription. (3)
  • Changing antidepressants: If your symptoms of sexual dysfunction persist, talk to your doctor about alternative antidepressants that are less likely to cause sexual dysfunction. (3)
  • Scheduled sex: Scheduling sex and keeping a long gap between taking the drug and having sexual intercourse may help you work around your side effects, and you may experience minimal side effects while maintaining an active sex life.
  • Drug holiday: A drug holiday is when you stop taking the antidepressant before performing sexual activity. It is a high-risk treatment option and should only be done as directed by your doctor, or you may risk the therapeutic efficacy of the antidepressant. (3)
  • Seek professional help: While sexual side effects may be caused by medications, psychological factors can intervene and add to the existing problem. Talking to a therapist about your symptoms can help you explore concerns about your sexual life and deal with your side effects. (3)

What should you do if Citalopram-induced sexual side effects persist?

It is important to talk to your doctor if Citalopram-induced sexual side effects are persistent. Your doctor may prescribe alternative antidepressants that are less likely to cause sexual dysfunction, such as Wellbutrin and Mirtazapine. (4)

Wellbutrin can sometimes improve sexual response. If it is necessary to use an SSRI antidepressant for treating your mental illness, then your doctor may add Wellbutrin as a combination therapy.

Another antidepressant, Agomelatine, is a melatonin receptor antagonist that stimulates the MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors while simultaneously antagonizing 5HT2C receptors, which cause a dopaminergic and noradrenergic effect and preserve sexual function. (5)

It is very important to take antidepressants under the supervision of your doctor; do not stop taking them, make dose adjustments, or take an alternative medication without consulting your doctor.


In this article, we have discussed the inability to reach climax caused by Citalopram. We have also discussed what research tells us about the relationship between SSRIs and sexual dysfunction and the management of these side effects.

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Madeo B, Bettica P, Milleri S, Balestrieri A, Granata AR, Carani C, Rochira V. The effects of citalopram and fluoxetine on sexual behavior in healthy men: evidence of delayed ejaculation and unaffected sexual desire. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel group study. J Sex Med. 2008 Oct;5(10):2431-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00843.x. Epub 2008 Apr 11. PMID: 18410297. Available from:


Atmaca M. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor-Induced Sexual Dysfunction: Current Management Perspectives. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2020 Apr 20;16:1043-1050. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S185757. PMID: 32368066; PMCID: PMC7182464. Available from:


Higgins A, Nash M, Lynch AM. Antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction: impact, effects, and treatment. Drug Healthc Patient Saf. 2010;2:141-50. doi: 10.2147/DHPS.S7634. Epub 2010 Sep 9. PMID: 21701626; PMCID: PMC3108697. Available from:


Jing E, Straw-Wilson K. Sexual dysfunction in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and potential solutions: A narrative literature review. Ment Health Clin. 2016 Jun 29;6(4):191-196. doi: 10.9740/mhc.2016.07.191. PMID: 29955469; PMCID: PMC6007725. Available from:


Montejo AL, Prieto N, de Alarcón R, Casado-Espada N, de la Iglesia J, Montejo L. Management Strategies for Antidepressant-Related Sexual Dysfunction: A Clinical Approach. J Clin Med. 2019 Oct 7;8(10):1640. doi: 10.3390/jcm8101640. PMID: 31591339; PMCID: PMC6832699. Available from:


National Library of Medicine. Citalopram: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from:

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