Alcohol And Sex: Ethanol Effects On Erection

Last Updated: August 7, 2019

Alcohol is one of the most common forms of entertainment in the current world. Among things that alcohol is credited for is its ability to make sex better. However, as much as alcohol and sex seem like a great idea, its effects need more scrutiny. Learn how sex and alcohol relate in order to understand the effects it could have on individuals and how to break from the shackles of alcoholism.

How Alcohol Affects Sex

Naturally, the effects of alcohol on the body include short-term effects such as memory impairment and long term effects such as heart disease. However, these effects have been known to extend to other aspects on its user’s lives such as their sex life.

The truth is that alcohol and sexual performance have no positive outcome.  Its users might have more sex, but that is a question of quantity over quality. These effects of alcohol and sex can be felt by both men and women.

Alcohol Sexual Effects on Men

Alcohol has both short term and long term effects on men. These dramatic effects caused by drinking alcohol before sex are a real concern. The quality of sex a man has while intoxicated is far much reduced than they would have if they were sober.

This quashes the alcohol sex drive notion as a myth as the physical effects of alcohol is not something any man would want to experience.

Some of the physical effects on men include:

  • Lowered testosterone levels– Excessive consumption has been known to lower the testosterone levels in the body. This, in turn, lowers libido and prevents physical arousal in men. Therefore, while one is more likely to indulge in sexual behavior after drinking, consistent consumption will lower sexual desire.
  • Decreased pleasure and orgasm– men who indulge in sex after a few drinks are less likely to enjoy it or achieve any form of pleasure or orgasm. Studies carried out indicate that drunk men found it hard to achieve orgasm than men who were completely sober during sexual intercourse.
  • Alcohol causes both long term and short term erectile dysfunction– Also known as impotence, ED is characterized by the inability to achieve and maintain an erection. One of the most common questions regarding sexual health and alcohol consumption is ‘does alcohol cause erectile dysfunction?’
  • It dilates the blood vessels in the body. This, in turn, affects the flow of blood in an out of the penis as well as other organs in the body. The penis remains flaccid during sexual intercourse. This could be termed as the short term alcohol erectile dysfunction.
  • Another cause of short-term erectile dysfunction is the lowering of blood volume due to dehydration. This prevents enough blood from reaching the vital organs that are involved in sexual intercourse thus affecting sex.

Long term erectile dysfunction has been observed in people who indulge in its excessive consumption.

It is evident that alcohol and sexual performance in men do not bring out the best results. The worst part is that these effects go further than simply affecting their sex life. This would, therefore, constitute the need to seek who wish to avoid or beat its effects in their sex life.

couple with sex problems in bed

Alcohol Sexual Effects On Women

Women also experience certain effects caused by its excessive consumption. While the effects might not be as many as men’s, they still warrant to be looked at. The questions to be answered in this section, therefore, is “does alcohol affect sex in women?”

Among the most visible effects on sexual performance in women include:

  • Dehydration– This lowers the blood volume flowing in organs such as the vagina.  Lubrication of the vagina is vital for healthy sex as it lowers the risk of abrasions and bruises caused by too much friction. Lower blood volume means lower lubrication of the vagina.
  • Sexual dysfunction– some women tend to lose their interest in sex after a session or sessions of alcohol-induced intercourse. Causes could vary from psychological factors causes by unplanned and, or unwanted sex while they were drunk.
  • Delayed orgasm– Like men, women tend to experience delayed orgasms during sexual intercourse if they are drunk.

The effects on women could easily be avoided if responsible indulgence is emphasized.

Alcohol And Sexual Risk-Taking

When it comes to sex, the effects of alcohol surpass physical effects. In the beginning, it simply works to lower one’s inhibition which then leads to them indulging in irresponsible sexual behavior.

People tend to have unplanned and, or unprotected sex and contract sexually transmitted infections due to lowered inhibition. One tends to let their guard down and indulges in sexual behavior without really looking at the consequences that they would naturally avoid had they been sober:

  • A phenomenon, known as wearing ‘beer goggles,’ occurs when people get drunk. This involves having sex with someone one would never have sex with while sober.
  • Drunkards are also susceptible to causing harm to their family members in their altered state. One of the effects of drinking on families is underage drinking which ultimately leaves the children susceptible to sexual harassment.
  • Another major effect on individuals includes blackouts. Alcohol and memory loss are almost synonymous,behavior and users might fall prey to sexual harassments, bodily harm by themselves or others, irresponsible and dangerous behavior that might risk theirs and other people’s lives or loss of personal belongings.
  • Co-occurring diseases are also a factor that increases the risks. For example, alcohol consumption by a diabetic person may cause the sugar drop, and, eventually, the drastic behavioral changes.

Seeking Help

Overall, one should seek professional help as soon as they discover that they are becoming overdependent on alcohol. One common sign of alcohol dependency is alcoholic tremors, which is a sign of withdrawal symptoms.

It is possible to seek treatment for drinking in both men and women. The good news is that one can always seek out the best alcohol treatment facilities in their area.


Brian Obinna Obodeze

Brian Obodeze

Content Writer

Brian Obinna Obodeze is a professional health-niche content developer for with six years of experience as a research writer. He is an expert in medical content development, especially in the field of addictions, general health, homeopathic medicine, and pharmaceuticals.

Brian has a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Benin and has worked as a Lab Scientist and as a public healthcare officer. His hobbies include physical fitness, reading, and social entrepreneurship.

Medical review by Dr. Gregory Okhifun

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