Alcohol and Sex
Most people are aware that there is a strong relationship between alcohol and sex. Alcohol lowers the inhibitions, causing some to act out sexually. Many people use alcohol to loosen themselves up before sex with a new partner and most people believe that alcohol is an aphrodisiac. However, there are some negative effects of combining alcohol and sex, especially when you are drinking too much.
Alcohol and Sex: Short term effects
Combining alcohol and sex sometimes can have a “disinhibiting” effect, which can make people feel more comfortable initiating and engaging in sex. In small quantities, it can facilitate sexual communication and have a positive impact on sexual desire and arousal. However, even after a few drinks, sexual response is reduced. In large amounts, alcohol can make sex difficult or even impossible. Both men and women experience a reduction in sexual arousal and have difficulty experiencing orgasm. Men may also have difficulty getting erections. Because alcohol has a dehydrating effect, women may have difficulty producing lubrication.
Overindulging can also have other related sexual effects. Sometimes, drinking large amounts of alcohol can cause people to make risky sexual choices that they would not have made while sober. This could include having sex with multiple partners, having unprotected sex, or having sex outside of a monogamous relationship. This, of course, increases the incidence of unwanted pregnancy and cases of sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
Also, the incidence of date rape and sexual assault is much higher when you factor in alcohol. Victims are less likely to be able to ward off an attack when they have had a lot to drink. Additionally, because alcohol impairs judgment, people who have had a lot to drink are less likely to recognize and avoid potentially risky situations.
Alcohol and Sex: Expectancy Effects
The expectancy effects of alcohol are the impact of what we think alcohol will do for us sexually. In studies where people were given non-alcoholic drinks that they were told contained alcohol, participants reported an increase in sexual arousal, much like those who were actually given alcohol. Often, when people expect or anticipate a certain physical effect, they often experience it. This is known as the placebo effect.
Alcohol and Sex: Long-term Effects
Combining alcohol and sex can have some negative effects in the long term. Chronic alcohol abuse has a devastating effect on sexuality. This can include erectile disorders and dysfunction in men, loss of sexual desire or decrease in sexual arousal for men and women, and difficulty experiencing orgasm for both sexes.
Chronic alcohol abuse can also cause problems that contribute to sexual dysfunction. People who are chronic abusers of alcohol find it difficult to maintain healthy long-term relationships. They also have more difficulty finding sexual partners. They also may have social, health, and financial difficulties that make them less desirable to potential sex partners. Additionally, psychologically, chronic alcohol abusers have a harder time connecting emotionally with a sexual partner. Chronic alcohol abuse also often leads to social isolation.