APDA American Parkinson Disease Association
Information & Referral Center

Sexual Dysfunction in PD

This non-motor symptom is probably not discussed in the doctor's office as much as it should be. Here's what we believe are the best resources on the topic of sexual dysfunction in PD.

Relevant Publications - Downloadable

“Intimate Relationships and Parkinson’s”
Published by Parkinson’s UK, September 2014
This 37-page booklet looks at relationships in general, the challenges couples may face, starting new relationships and how Parkinson’s may affect your sexual functioning, both physically and emotionally.  In each section there is information and suggestions for ways to overcome problems.


Relevant Online Information

“How to Cope with Sexual Side Effects of Parkinson’s Disease,” by Patrick McNamara, PhD
Published by VeryWell.com, April 7, 2017
General sexual symptoms of Parkinson’s disease affects men and women differently.  Parkinson’s effect on men and sex drive, women and PD, sexual effects of parkinson’s medications, and ways to circumvent what PD throws at you are discussed.


“Let’s Talk About Sex (and Parkinson’s),” by Gila Bronner and Orna Moore
Published by Parkinson’s Life, April 9, 2015
This webpage highlights both the motor and non-motor symptoms, medication side effects, and psychological aspects that contribute to disturbed sexual function, as well as the contradictory role of the partner-caregiver.  Resolution of sexual disfunction requires open communication with your healthcare professional(s) and your partner.


“Parkinson’s and Sex,” by Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, MS Ed.
Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association
Identifying the physical, psychological, and relationship issues of sex with Parkinson’s disease with tips for resolving relationship issues.


“Parkinson’s Disease and Sexual Issues”
Published by Victoria State Government, Australia, April 2017
This webpage summarizes the motor and autonomic nervous system with respect to Parkinson’s disease, how treatment for Parkinson’s can affect sexuality, sexual issues for people with Parkinson’s disease and their partners, practical suggestions and professional help for couples.


“Sex and Parkinson’s”
Published by Parkinson’s UK
This series of five webpages discusses how Parkinson’s affects sex, the sexual problems Parkinson’s can cause with separate pages for men and women, and suggestions for improving one’s sex life.


“Sexual and Reproductive Health with Parkinson’s”
Published by the Micheal J. Fox Foundation
Several aspects of sexual dysfunction related to Parkinson’s disease symptoms, medication side effects and psychological issues with strategies and therapies to compensate are discussed, as well as contraception and pregnancy, briefly.


“Sexual Health”
Published by the National Parkinson Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation)
This series of four webpages discusses Parkinson’s and male sexual health, Parkinson’s and female sexual health, what can be done about sexual dysfunction, and the impact of sexual problems on people with PD and their partners.


“Women’s Health & Sexuality,” by Maria De Leon
Published by parkinsondiva.org, November 30, 2016
Both men and women suffer from sexual problems when it comes to chronic disease, like Parkinson’s.  For women, there are six areas of sexual dysfunction, complicated by fatigue, incontinence, and embarrassment.  Tips for overcoming these, in addition to medications, and alternative therapies, like behavioral therapy, sex therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and meditation.


Relevant Online Lectures and Webinars

“Intimacy and Parkinson’s”
By the Parkinson’s Foundation, December 1, 2018
In this hour long presentation at the Parkinson’s Foundation Caregiver Summit clinical sexologist, Sheila Silver, offers practical tools to help those with Parkinson’s and their partners discuss changes Parkinson’s has had on their sexual relationship.  She suggests ways to broaden how partners think about sex and offers tools to increase both physical and emotional intimacy despite physical challenges.  
Recording of audio and slides (requires registration)  
Presentation (presenter’s slides)


“Sexual Dysfunction and Parkinson’s Disease”
By the Michael J. Fox Foundation, September 17, 2015
This 1-hour webinar will discuss erectile dysfunction and reduced libido, symptoms of PD, as well as how motor symptoms can impact sexual relationships.  Experts will also cover hypersexuality, a common side effect of medications used to treat Parkinson’s.  Free.  Registration required.


“Sexuality and Intimacy in Parkinson’s”
By the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, September 10, 2013
Recording of audio and slides (requires registration)
Presentation (presenter’s slides)
People with Parkinson’s disease and their partners may experience challenges related to sexuality and intimacy that can affect quality of life and intimate relationships.  Yet these challenges are rarely discussed among people with Parkinson’s disease and their doctors.  Watch this 1-hour Expert Briefing to find strategies for making real changes in this sensitive aspect of life.


Expert-Level Reading

“Management of Sexual Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease,” by Gila Bronner and David B. Vodusek
Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, November 2011, vol. 4, no. 6, pages 375-383
Sexual dysfunction is common and under recognized in patients with Parkinson’s disease.  It plays a major role in the deterioration of quality of life for both patients and their partners.  Recommendations are for neurologists to actively investigate sexual dysfunction in their Parkinson’s patients and offer treatments within a multidisciplinary team.


This list last updated by Denise Dagan, November 2017. Initially compiled by Denise Dagan for Stanford's Parkinson's Community Outreach Program, July 2017.

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