Some people with epilepsy may find it impacts their sex life. This may be due to physical changes from the condition, medications, or emotional issues around epilepsy and sex.
Certain types of epilepsy may cause changes in the brain that impact sexual desire and arousal.
This article looks at how epilepsy can affect sex and how to get help.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes people to have recurring seizures.
Abnormal electrical activity in the brain can cause involuntary movements, unusual sensations, and sometimes a loss of consciousness.
- focal or partial seizures, which affect one area of the brain
- generalized seizures, which affect both sides of the brain
Many people with epilepsy will find it has no impact on their sex life.
However, other people may find that epilepsy does affect their sex life, which may be due to:
Epilepsy medications, physical changes in the brain, and hormone levels may all impact sex.
Worrying about epilepsy could also impact a person’s sex life.
Some antiepileptic drugs may alter hormone levels and change how the body processes them.
Side effects of antiepileptic drugs that may impact sex include:
Fear and anxiety
Emotional factors can impact how people feel about sex. If epilepsy is causing emotional issues, such as making people feel low, anxious, or vulnerable, it may impact a person’s sex life.
People may also worry about having a seizure during sex. Having a seizure during sex is unlikely, but discussing any worries with a partner may help to ease fears.
Letting a partner know about seizure first aid and preparing them for the possibility of a seizure may alleviate some anxiety.
A seizure can also impact someone emotionally — they may feel upset, fragile, or tired after experiencing a seizure.
Changes in the brain
People with complex partial seizures may be more likely to experience problems with sexual desire, especially if the seizures begin in the temporal lobe.
Seizures that begin in the temporal lobe may also affect sex hormones and reduce sex drive.
Physical changes that can occur due to epilepsy may include:
- disruption to areas of the brain controlling sexual function
- temporal lobe epilepsy may make it more difficult for people to get and maintain an erection
- changes in hormone levels that relate to sexual desire and arousal
People may find talking about any concerns with a partner helps ease any anxiety or fears and helps each person know what to do in case of a seizure.
Talking with a healthcare professional may also help — people can discuss any side effects of medications and any emotional issues.
Talking with a doctor
People can discuss any medications they are taking with a doctor, and whether they are causing any side effects that could be impacting sex.
A doctor may be able to alter dosages or suggest an alternative medication to combat side effects.
Finding a therapist
People may find it helpful to talk with a counselor or therapist about any concerns they have around epilepsy and sex. People may want to do this individually or with a partner.
People can ask their doctor for CBT recommendations or search via the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists.
Talking with partners
Some people may worry about having sexual activity alone or with partners in case they have a seizure.
Although people may find it difficult to talk about, discussing any concerns with a sexual partner or partners may help.
If people need help talking with partners about epilepsy, they may want to consider relationship or couples counseling.
It may help a person to know seizure first aid if their partner has epilepsy.
According to the
A person should only call 911 if:
- the person has not had a seizure before
- the person has a health condition such as diabetes
- the person is pregnant
- the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes
- the person sustains an injury during a seizure
- the seizure happens in water
- another seizure happens soon after the first
- the person has difficulty walking or breathing after the seizure
If the above instances do not apply, a person can help a person having a seizure by:
- checking the person for any medical bracelets or other emergency information
- staying with the person during the seizure until it ends and they are fully conscious
- keeping themselves and everyone else calm
- easing them to the floor gently
- placing something soft under their head, such as a pillow or folded jacket
- removing any eyeglasses and loosening anything around their neck
- not placing anything in their mouth, as a person cannot swallow their tongue during a seizure
When the seizure has stopped, a person should take them to a safe and comfortable place.
Once the person is awake and conscious, someone should explain in calm and simple terms what has happened.
This section answers some common questions about epilepsy and sex.
Can I masturbate if I have epilepsy?
There is no evidence to suggest that masturbation will cause seizures unless it is a personal trigger for people.
Can having sex trigger seizures?
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, few people with epilepsy report having a seizure during sex.
If physical activity, fast breathing, or excitement trigger seizures in people, they may have concerns about having seizures during sex.
However, sex is unlikely to trigger a seizure for most people.
Are orgasms good for epilepsy?
Sexual activity may help to reduce anxiety and depression and may have a protective effect against mood disorders and relationship issues.
What to do if your partner has epilepsy?
If a person’s partner has epilepsy, it may help both people to talk about epilepsy and how it may impact sex.
This may help to ease any fears a person might have.
People can also make sure they know how to practice seizure first aid.
Some people with epilepsy may find the condition impacts their sex life. This may be due to medications, changes in the brain, or anxiety around epilepsy and sex.
Many people will find that sex does not trigger seizures, but if people have any concerns, they may want to talk with their partner. Therapy or counseling may also help.
People can discuss any medications they are taking with their doctor to check if that could be impacting sex in any way.