Sexual dysfunction is a widely recognised adverse effect of many psychotropic agents. Older antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors and tricycles, particularly clomipramine, are known to engender sexual adverse effects. In depression, this problem is exacerbated by the occurrence of impotence and lowered libido as part of depressive illness itself. We examined evidence relating to more recently introduced antidepressants: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, moclobemide, venlafaxine, nefazodone, mirtazapine and reboxetine. We reviewed published trials and case reports collated from searches of Medline, PsychLit and Micromedex from 1985 to December 1997, and contacted manufacturers of new antidepressants and requested information from them.