Sexual Desire, Function and Combat PTSD

While it’s something that many people don’t want to talk about, sex matters to people. Sexual function and sexual desire can be important parts of a person’s life, particularly if he or she is in a relationship. And, unfortunately, what we know is that combat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects a veteran’s sexual desire and sexual function in negative ways. In fact, some studies have showed such a correlation between sexual dysfunction and PTSD that some have proposed making it an official, diagnostic criteria.

Sexual Desire and Combat PTSD

Sexual desire, is, of course, one’s desire for sexual relations and whether one has a partner or not, this can be important. In a 2014 study, Problems in Sexual Functioning among Male OEF/OIF Veterans Seeking Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress, 63% of male veterans in the study reported sexual desire problems. Of those with partners, 72% reported a lack of sexual desire. According to the study, white race, combat exposure, social support, and avoidance/numbing symptoms predicted a lack of sexual desire. The 2008 study Sexual Functioning in War Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, found that veterans with PTSD had significantly reduced sexual activity including sexual fantasies, foreplay, oral sex, and intercourse, in the previous month. Veterans cited their own health problems as the reason for reduced sexual activity.

It’s not clear why veterans with combat PTSD experience a loss in sexual desire but I suspect the above study may have hit on one main reason: the PTSD symptoms of avoidance/numbing. These symptoms often produce a lack of emotional intimacy in relationships and it only stands to reason that sexual intimacy would also be reduced.

Sexual Function and Combat PTSD

Unfortunately, sexual desire and sexual function can be impacted by combat posttraumatic stress disorder. Learn what to do about combat PTSD and sex.Several studies have focused on physical, sexual dysfunction in combat PTSD veterans. In Problems in Sexual Functioning among Male OEF/OIF Veterans Seeking Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress, an official erectile dysfunction diagnosis was present in 12% of male combat veterans while sexual arousal problems were present in 62% of partnered veterans.

In the 2002 study Sexual Dysfunction in Combat Veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, “patients [combat veterans] with PTSD had poorer scores on overall satisfaction and orgasmic function and showed trends toward poorer scores on intercourse satisfaction and erectile function.” In this study, erectile dysfunction rate was 85% in veterans with PTSD while it was 22% in veterans without PTSD.

Medication, Sexual Function, Desire and Combat PTSD

It is not known why sexual desire and sexual function are so impeded in veterans with combat PTSD but part of the reason may be medication-related. Antidepressant therapy is common in combat PTSD treatment and this medication may impact desire, arousal, and sexual functioning.

How to Improve Sexual Desire and Functioning in Combat PTSD

Medication can address some sexual dysfunction issues and if the sexual function or arousal is being impacted due to a PTSD medication, a change in medication can often solve the problem. Many choices of medication exist so, in general, veterans should not have to live with this side effect.

Additionally, there is research that suggests that treating the underlying combat PTSD will correct the problems in sexual desire and function. This makes perfect sense. As other PTSD symptoms lessen, so do these ones.

Psychotherapy for combat PTSD is also often helpful in addressing these types of issues.

However, none of this help can be employed if the combat veteran is not open about what is happening for him or her so my biggest piece of advice for veterans experiencing reduced sexual desire or functioning is to be open with his or her healthcare provider so that you can look for a solution together. And remember: this, too, can be a symptom of combat PTSD and is not your fault.

 

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/understandingcombatptsd/2015/01/sexual-desire-function-and-combat-ptsd/

Operation Second Chance

Operation Second Chance Inc

Causes: Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: We are patriotic citizens committed to serving our wounded, injured and ill combat veterans. We support Veterans and their families by building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests. We are dedicated to promoting public awareness of the many sacrifices made by our Armed Forces.

Target demographics: wounded, injured, and ill veterans and their families

Geographic areas served: the United States of America

Programs: Morale, welfare, and recreation expenses to improve the morale of wounded soldiers. Activities include meals, cookouts, and trips to the movies for the soldiers.

assistance for individual wounded soldier’s expenses including clothing, airline tickets, mortgage payments, and car repairs.

 

http://www.operationsecondchance.org/

Wounded Warrior Family Support

 

https://www.wwfs.org/

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide support to the families of those who have been wounded, injured or killed during combat operations. The families of our casualties suffer in many ways: some financially, some psychologically.

“When America Goes to War…
Our Families Go to War”

USA Cares

 

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Emergency Assistance, Homeless & Housing, Housing Expense Reduction Support, Human Services, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: USA Cares exists to help bear the burdens of service by providing post-9/11 military families with financial and advocacy support in their time of need. Assistance is provided to all branches of service, all components, all ranks while protecting the privacy and dignity of those military families and veterans who request our help.

Geographic areas served: USA Cares is a National 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Programs: We assist post-9/11 active military, veterans and their families by providing financial assistance grants and educational support for hardships caused by their military service.

 

https://greatnonprofits.org/org/usa-cares-inc

Spirit of a Hero

Carry the Load