MSAA: Publications - The Motivator: Winter/Spring 2009 - SECTION 16: SEXUALITY
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Logo
Link to FaceBook Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Pinterest
Register Why Register Contact MSAA Site Preferences Print Page Home
Improving Lives Today!
Donate Button
The Motivator iconMSAA's MAGAZINE
The Motivator
Booklets and Brochures iconBooklets & Brochures
MS Research Update 2015
MS Research Update 2014
About MS
Improving Lives Today! A Guide
to MSAA's Programs and Services
Ways to Give
Medicare Planning
and Multiple Sclerosis
The Affordable Care Act
and Multiple Sclerosis
Aquatic Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis:
A Guide for Patients
How to S.E.A.R.C.H.™ for the Right
MS Therapy for You!
Understanding and Treating
MS Relapses
Mommy's Story
Daddy's Story
Understanding and Treating
Depression in Multiple Sclerosis
MSAA Monograph: The Confusing
World of Clinical Trials
Primary Progressive Multiple
Sclerosis: What You Need to Know
Order Publications iconOrder Publications
Individual Order
Group Orders

Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Winter/Spring 2009 > Cover Story - Symptom Management Update > SECTION 16: SEXUALITY
Share this Page:
submit to reddit

< SECTION 15: VISION - Home - Resources >


Both men and women may experience sexual difficulties as the result of MS, which can include a loss of libido, altered genital sensation, and decreased frequency and intensity of orgasms. Men may experience difficulties with erection and ejaculation, and women may have reduced vaginal lubrication and pain during intercourse. Other symptoms of MS may also affect the ability to enjoy the sexual experience. Depending upon the cause of sexual dysfunction, a variety of pharmacologic and psychosocial approaches may be helpful.


A number of symptoms associated with MS may affect sexual function and enjoyment. Identifying and treating these symptoms may also relieve what are termed secondary dysfunctions such as those that affect sexual function. These may include fatigue, depression, spasticity, pain, and bladder or bowel issues.


Open communication between partners is essential to managing sexual dysfunction. Both partners need to understand both the medical and psychological issues that can affect sexuality, and work toward open communication and the possibility of alternative approaches to sexual satisfaction.



Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
including Viagra® (sildenafil), Levitra® (vardenafil), and Cialis®(tadalafil)

These are oral medications in tablet form. Dosages are 50 to 100 mg per day (Viagra), and 5 to 20 mg per day (Levitra, Cialis). These agents were developed to manage erectile function due to many causes, but they have proved effective for many men with MS. They are chemically similar, and all delay the actions that interfere with developing and maintaining an erection.

Side effects may include headache, nasal congestion, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Injectible Agents and Vacuum Pumps

Medications that are directly injected into the penis, including vasodilators and papaverine, are less frequently used.

Vacuum pumps are another alternative if medications are not feasible.



Lubrication agents, Estrogen-containing vaginal preparations, and topical creams

These may be prescribed for women experiencing vaginal dryness and/or genital sensitivity. Cold packs before intercourse can reduce sensitivity and muscle spasms.


Managing the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, 5th Edition, by Randall T. Schapiro, MD; Demos Medical Publishing, 2007

Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis, 2nd Edition, by Allen C. Bowling, MD, PhD; Demos Medical Publishing, 2007

These books and many others are available through MSAA's free Lending Library. Please see page 64 of this issue for ordering information.


MSAA's MSi (Multiple Sclerosis information) online video program offers a variety of subjects through its A Closer Look series. Among others, topics include: managing various symptoms; MS fatigue; emotions; stress; intimacy; complementary and alternative medicine; and exercise.

Videos may be viewed for free by visiting and selecting "MSi" video programs. Some of these videos are available on DVD through MSAA's free Lending Library. Please see page 64 of this issue for ordering information.

< SECTION 15: VISION - Home - Resources >

Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 10:15