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How Does Alcohol Affect Your Sex Life?

Drinking alcohol can boost your confidence level, so high that there are chances you could wake up regretting it the next morning (or afternoon). Although it is commonly assumed that drinking alcohol can result in improved sex life, in reality, long-term consumption can lead to problems in your sex life. Being a depressant, alcohol can dampen your mood, decrease sexual desire, and make it difficult to achieve erections or reach an orgasm [1] .

If you are in the habit of constant alcohol consumption, the side effects can be long term and can affect your sex life in various ways. While both alcohol and marijuana appear to potentially increase the risk for unsafe sex, alcohol use may increase the likelihood of having sex with a stranger, leading to less post-sex satisfaction, suggests new research [2] .

Although a small amount of alcohol is harmless, moderate to heavy drinking can negatively affect your sex life and it is the same in the case of both men and women [3] .

Impact Of Alcohol Consumption On Sex Life

1. Erectile dysfunction

Various studies have been conducted on understanding the impact of alcohol consumption on sex life. And it has been asserted that too much alcohol can cause temporary as well as long-term erectile dysfunction. Alcohol decreases the blood flow to the penis and reduces the intensity of orgasm. It is also said to cause a significant decrease in the level of satisfaction [4] .

Not only that, studies have shown that about 60 to 70 per cent of men suffering from sexual problems are heavy drinkers. Apart from erectile dysfunction, alcohol can also cause premature ejaculation and loss of sexual desire [5] .

2. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

One of the major side effects of alcohol consumption is sexually transmitted diseases. Studies support the statement by pointing out that about 50 per cent of unplanned sexual encounters involves alcohol and about 60 per cent of STDs are transmitted when alcohol is involved [6] .

3. Low libido

Consuming alcohol for a long period of time can lead to a lower sex drive (libido). This is because the toxins in the alcohol, as well as the depressant nature of the drink, reduces one's levels of testosterone [7] .

4. Orgasmic dysfunction

Alcohol consumption not only affects men but also women. Heavy drinking can interfere with one's ability to feel sexual stimulation as the alcohol hampers the signals between the brain and the genitals. Women can find it difficult to reach orgasm or their orgasms may feel less intense [5] .

5. Low fertility

One of the other major side effects of alcohol consumption is reduced fertility. As alcohol consumption reduces one's testosterone levels, it affects sperm production and thereby affecting one's fertility [8] .

6. Brewer's droop

Men who tend to drink alcohol on a regular basis are increasingly prone to develop brewer's droop. It is the loss of sexual interest, which can become permanent with time. It can also cause both short and long-term memory loss as well [9] .

Apart from all these, consuming alcohol can mix up people's inhibitions and diminish one's decision-making skills, often causing people to forget taking proper contraceptive precautions before having sex as well as embarking in unwanted affairs [10] .

View Article References
  1. [1] Ganguli, M., Vander Bilt, J., Saxton, J. A., Shen, C., & Dodge, H. H. (2005). Alcohol consumption and cognitive function in late life: a longitudinal community study.Neurology,65(8), 1210-1217.
  2. [2] Jensen, T. K., Hjollund, N. H. I., Henriksen, T. B., Scheike, T., Kolstad, H., Giwercman, A., ... & Skakkebæk, N. E. (1998). Does moderate alcohol consumption affect fertility? Follow up study among couples planning first pregnancy.Bmj,317(7157), 505-510.
  3. [3] OLSEN, J., RACHOOTIN, P., SCHIØDT, A. V., & DAMSBO, N. (1983). Tobacco use, alcohol consumption and infertility.International journal of epidemiology,12(2), 179-184.
  4. [4] Grodstein, F., Goldman, M. B., & Cramer, D. W. (1994). Infertility in women and moderate alcohol use.American Journal of Public Health,84(9), 1429-1432.
  5. [5] Hakim, R. B., Gray, R. H., & Zacur, H. (1998). Alcohol and caffeine consumption and decreased fertility.Fertility and sterility,70(4), 632-637.
  6. [6] Curtis, K. M., Savitz, D. A., & Arbuckle, T. E. (1997). Effects of cigarette smoking, caffeine consumption, and alcohol intake on fecundability.American journal of epidemiology,146(1), 32-41.
  7. [7] Florack, E. I., Zielhuis, G. A., & Rolland, R. (1994). Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and caffeine intake and fecundability.Preventive medicine,23(2), 175-180.
  8. [8] Juhl, M., Nyboe Andersen, A. M., Grønbæk, M., & Olsen, J. (2001). Moderate alcohol consumption and waiting time to pregnancy.Human Reproduction,16(12), 2705-2709.
  9. [9] Grodstein, F., Goldman, M. B., Ryan, L., & Cramer, D. W. (1993). Relation of female infertility to consumption of caffeinated beverages.American journal of epidemiology,137(12), 1353-1360.
  10. [10] Klonoff-Cohen, H., Lam-Kruglick, P., & Gonzalez, C. (2003). Effects of maternal and paternal alcohol consumption on the success rates of in vitro fertilization and gamete intrafallopian transfer.Fertility and sterility,79(2), 330-339.