Alcohol and Sex

Alcohol and Sex

Drinking alcohol has a number of effects on sex and sexual behavior. There is a strange counterbalance between alcohol and sex: the suppressive effects of alcohol on sexual functioning decreases sexual activity, yet at the same time its suppression of psychological inhibitions, increases the desire for sex.

Alcohol is a depressant; it causes the body’s systems to slow down. Often, feelings of drunkenness are associated with elation and happiness but other feelings of anger or depression can also arise. Balance, judgment, and coordination are also negatively impacted. One of the most significant short term side effects of alcohol is reduced inhibition. The relationship between alcohol and sex here becomes significant because reduced inhibitions can lead to an increase in sexual behavior.

Alcohol and Sex in Men

Men’s sexual behaviors can be affected dramatically by alcohol. Both chronic and acute alcohol consumption inhibit the production of testosterone. Because testosterone is critical for libido and physical arousal, alcohol tends to have damaging effects on male sexual performance. Alcohol intoxication can decrease sexual arousal, decrease pleasure and intensity of orgasm, and increase difficulty in attaining orgasm. Therefore, contrary to the belief that alcohol and sex go hand-in-hand, as demonstrated in the social practice of meeting people at bars, alcohol only serves to negatively impact sexual performance in men.

Alcohol and Sex in Women

Women have a different response to alcohol intoxication than men. In many women, alcohol and sex seem to complement each other more than men, alcohol and sex. Women’s sexual arousal and desire, is increased with the intake of alcohol however it lowers the signs of arousal. Studies have shown that acute alcohol consumption tends to cause increased levels of testosterone and estradiol. Since testosterone controls in part the strength of libido in women, this tends to cause an increase in interest in sex. Also, because women have a higher percentage of body fat and less water in their bodies than men, alcohol can have a quicker and more dramatic impact. Women’s bodies take longer to process alcohol; that is, a woman’s body often takes one-third longer to eliminate alcohol from their system.

For women, alcohol and sex is also different in their sexual behavior. Studies have shown that increased BAC is associated with longer periods of orgasmic inactivity and decreased intensity of orgasm. Some women report a greater sexual arousal with increased alcohol consumption as well as increased sensations of pleasure during orgasm.

Psychologically speaking, alcohol plays a role in women’s sexual behavior. Women who were intoxicated then reported that they believed they were more sexually aroused than before their consumption of alcohol. This psychological effect contrasts with what the physiological effects were measured to be. This again supports the belief that alcohol and sex is affected because drinking alcohol leads to a loss of inhibitions. Often, alcohol can influence the capacity for a woman to feel more relaxed and in turn, be more sexual because she is not as inhibited as she would be if she was sober.




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Alcohol and Sex

Alcohol and Sex

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.


If you need help with your addiction give us a call now at 1-800-984-4003.