High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms. But the impact on your sex life may be obvious. Although sexual activity is unlikely to pose an immediate threat to your health — such as a heart attack — high blood pressure can affect your overall satisfaction with sex.
A link between high blood pressure and sexual problems is proved in men. For women who have decreased sexual satisfaction, it's not yet proved that high blood pressure is to blame.
Challenges for men
Over time, high blood pressure damages the lining of blood vessels and causes arteries to harden and narrow(atherosclerosis), limiting blood flow. This means less blood is able to flow to the penis. For some men, the decreased blood flow makes it difficult to achieve and maintain erections — often referred to as erectile dysfunction. The problem is fairly common.
Even a single episode of erectile dysfunction can cause anxiety. Fears that it will happen again might lead men to avoid sex — and affect the relationship with their sexual partner.
High blood pressure can also interfere with ejaculation and reduce sexual desire. Sometimes the medications used to treat high blood pressure have similar effects.
Challenges for women
High blood pressure's effect on sexual problems in women isn't well understood. But it's possible that high blood pressure could affect a woman's sex life.
High blood pressure can reduce blood flow to the vagina. For some women, this leads to a decrease in sexual desire or arousal, vaginal dryness, or difficulty achieving orgasm. Improving arousal and lubrication can help. Like men, women can experience anxiety and relationship issues due to sexual dysfunction. Women should talk to their doctor if they experience these difficulties.