IASH India: Institute of Andrology & Sexual Health India
Alcohol and its Influence on Sexual Performance

The relationship between alcohol and sex is a complicated and tricky one. It has both positive and negative effects. Various studies done on this topic have indicated that sometimes it can help us open to healthy sexual activities, but it can lead us into dangerous situations as well. So, here are some good and bad points of how it affects our sex lives.

  1. Alcohol does lower our inhibitions. Intake of alcohol can ease our anxiety and the issues related to body image about pleasing a partner or reaching orgasm can be relaxed with a glass of wine/ or any alcohol for that matter. It may also make erotic talk easier with partner. A little amount of alcohol can help man’s instinct to initiate, reduce fear of a poor outcome and increases his sexual confidence which will improve his erections.
  2. Stress and anxiety are the most common causes for lower sexual activities and frequency. Intake of alcohol can help us focus on the present, lowering pressure and tension by temporarily slowing down the neurons in our brain.
  3. Researchers have shown that alcohol increases the feelings of being attracted to the partner. After drinking, they rate others as more attractive and perceive feelings of connection towards each other.
  4. The effect of the consumption of alcohol on our prefrontal cortex, which governs our emotions, makes us want to be closer to someone. If a partner needs their spouse to open up in order to feel emotionally and sexually safe, one or two glasses of wine may increase their relatedness. It can make us to become more open about our feelings.

But in larger amounts, alcohol has completely opposite effects on sexual performance.

  1. Any drink either wine or alcohol might cause addiction to an individual which in turn leads to the risk of alcoholism. Alcohol carries various inherent risks as a substance. There is a possible link between alcohol consumption with sexual problems and other diseases like cancer, etc.
  2. Alcohol may cause impaired judgement and make altered decisions about having sex with someone inappropriate or make us vulnerable to having unprotected sex which can lead to some kind of physical disease.
  3. Too much intake of alcohol can also lead to poor sexual performance and causes erectile dysfunction. In women, it can dehydrate the vagina, causing painful penetration and makes sexual activity uncomfortable.
  4. Alcohol sometimes separate us from reality and our partner. Being toxic and inebriated is sometimes a passive way to not be present with our partner or be able to understand their emotions and sexual needs for that moment.

Drinking alcohol in excess can make having a good sex difficult and this is because it reduces both men’s and women’s sexual sensitivity. By regular and prolonged drinking, sexual response is reduced in both sexes. In men, alcohol can cause difficulties getting and maintaining an erection while women may experience reduced lubrication and find it harder to have an orgasm, or have orgasms that are less intense.

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