A Friday night out filled with booze and smokes to release the stress of the week is a common escape, for college goers and working adults alike. A drunk night out leading to all kinds of misadventures makes for great stories to recall and laugh about, but not always. Vices have a way of affecting our sex lives, in good ways and bad.
From music to movies, alcohol has had a reputation as an apparent “love potion” that brings the protagonists together and gives them “liquid courage”. This notion can lead to harmful consequences as vices in the long run can lead to detrimental sex lives.
With the ongoing stress of rigid work lives and personal time being replaced by monotonous routines, going for a drink or smoke has become natural. But what this means for our sex lives, our body’s equilibrium and health is a big worry.
Alcohol is attached to ridding ourselves of inhibitions and taking chances we wouldn’t normally end up taking, and is said to act as an aphrodisiac. It has several effects on us in the long term we might overlook for the temporary pleasure of leaving our awkwardness behind.
EFFECTS ON WOMEN
Increasing Sexual Desire
Having a drink or two could increase sexual desire for women as it increases testosterone levels in females. A male sex hormone plays a role in women feeling more sexual when drinking. They take more chances and leave their inhibitions or doubts to just go for it.
"Women’s bathrooms on ladies' night are a sight to behold”, says 23-year-old Akshara. “With more love and courage on the dance floor, women take bolder decisions” she explains.
But too much of it could have negative physical effects and a slower genital response, while we might be ready, our bodies might not be. Moderation is needed when it comes to alcohol and sex.
Hard To “Come” To Orgasm
One drink makes things flow smoothly, and as one turns to several it can interrupt blood flow to our sex organs and have cognitive and behavioural effects causing alcohol-induced orgasmic dysfunction.
Meaning it’s a long road to climax and less intense orgasms if you reach there at all. An added side-effect from too many drinks, dehydration can also lead to reduced vaginal lubrication, making sex a more painful process for women.
An excessive drinking habit can hamper your chance of pregnancy. For women, it can lead to several ovulation disorders and trouble in conceiving, while for men it affects the quality and motility of their sperm.
EFFECTS ON MEN
Whisky Penis Syndrome
According to Dr Prabhu Vyas, a sexual counsellor and sexologist from Mumbai, the concept of “the whisky penis” is a legitimate concern. Heavy alcohol consumption leads to low production of testosterone in men (a hormone that increases libido) and really reduces sexual performance.
Alcohol also has a strong relationship with erectile dysfunction in men. As alcohol dependence increases, the risk of premature ejaculation, low sexual desire and low-performance increases. So what might start off as a fun night, can quickly flip into a disappointing one.
Some ways alcohol affects arousal:
- Decreases blood flow to the penis
- Increases Angiotensin, a hormone linked to erectile dysfunction
- Depresses your central nervous system
Alcohol and Behavioural Health
A paper in the National Library of Medicine mentions a term known as “sexual aversion disorder”. Described as an aversion and avoidance of all genital sexual contact, it happens when chronic alcohol use acts as a nervous depressant and leads to distress and interpersonal difficulty.
Anxiety and depression are very closely related to alcoholism creating a vicious cycle of self-hate and lower self-esteem. This can grow into a tendency of fear around sex and intimacy for men.
While alcohol can brighten up a weekend, too much of it can lead to a crash and burn situation for our sex lives. Therefore, vices in moderation are good accompaniments but overlooking the after-effects of excessive consumption can take the joy out of sex and intimacy.