Does alcohol affect your sex life?

It’s common for people to drink to help them relax, socialize, and celebrate. However, drinking too much can have a negative effect on sex life.

While many people believe that alcohol makes them horny, research shows that it actually decreases physiological arousal and can lead to sexual dysfunction. This article will discuss the effects of alcohol on sex, tackle common myths, and offer advice on best practices.

Lack of interest in sex

While a glass of wine or two may lower inhibitions and initially increase sexual desire, over time excessive alcohol consumption can negatively affect your libido. This is because a dependence on alcohol can lead to other negative habits like smoking, which can also reduce libido. In addition, as a nervous system depressant, drinking too much can decrease sensation in the genitals, which can make it difficult to get an erection or reach orgasm.

For those navigating addiction recovery, it can be normal to have low libido during this time. However, it is important to remember that sobriety can re-stabilize hormone levels and allow for increased arousal.

It is also important to practice open communication with your partner if you’re having issues in the bedroom. A lack of interest can be a sign that something else is going on in the relationship that needs to be addressed. If you are struggling with this, speaking with a therapist can be helpful.

Low libido

While a couple of drinks might initially help you loosen up in the bedroom, too much alcohol can quickly decrease libido. The problem is that alcohol depresses the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for feelings of happiness, pleasure and motivation to be sexually active.

It also reduces blood flow to the penis, which can make it harder to get and maintain an erection. More importantly, it can decrease sensitivity in the genitals and lead to anorgasmia (inability to reach orgasm) for some men.

It’s important to remember that this is a temporary issue, and will likely resolve with time. In fact, the hormones that affect libido typically return to normal within the first 4 weeks of sobriety. If you are struggling with a low libido, it’s important to talk to your doctor, who can work with you to identify the underlying issues and develop a treatment plan that suits your needs.

Physical sexual dysfunction

Alcohol can have a negative impact on physical sexual performance for both males and females. In women, it can cause vaginal dryness and may interfere with sexual arousal. In men, it can lead to erectile dysfunction and decrease blood flow to the penis. Long-term drinking can even cause nerve damage to the clitoris and penis, making it difficult for men to achieve orgasm and experience sexual pleasure.

Although a few drinks can initially lower inhibitions and boost confidence, excessive alcohol consumption actually reduces sexual desire. This can have a major effect on the relationship between you and your partner, which is why it’s important to always practice safe, responsible sex and to be aware of your surroundings and your partner’s verbal and nonverbal communication.

It is also important to be aware that unprotected sex can transmit STIs and lead to unintended pregnancies. This can be avoided by following the guidelines outlined above and speaking with a sex therapist, if necessary.

Anxiety and depression

If you’re drinking regularly, it’s possible that you may be suffering from anxiety and depression. These conditions can impact your sex life by causing you to avoid physical intimacy and have an increased reliance on alcohol as a mood enhancer.

A drink or two can help to reduce inhibitions, making you feel sexier and more confident. However, the effects of alcohol on a person’s confidence and sexual drive are temporary. And it’s important to remember that sex while drunk can be considered a form of sexual assault, even if it’s consensual.

If you are struggling to have a healthy relationship with sex, it might be worth seeking out the advice of a therapist to get to the bottom of your alcohol use and emotional struggles. With time, and a commitment to sobriety or moderate drinking, your hormone levels will re-stabilize, returning you to a state of natural sexual desire. Choosing to change your relationship with alcohol is an incredible act of self-care.