It hurts more than it helps.
“[Alcohol] provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance” — William Shakespeare
Most men have experienced that awkward situation in which no matter how hard you try, “it” just won’t happen.
You may have done a number of things to prepare yourself for that moment and are so excited to actually do it, but for reasons that many of us think are unexplainable, our body is not cooperating.
For many, this is a very well-known situation and when it is medically diagnosed, it is known as erectile dysfunction.
As with most things, it occurs on a continuum and only about 5 percent of men have complete erectile dysfunction, while this number increases to about 15 percent once you reach 70.
Mild to moderate ED gradually increases in percentages based on the age of the group, i.e., 50 percent of men in their 50s, 60 percent of men in their 60, so forth, and so on.
For women, this happens as well but is a bit less well known and goes by the name of female sexual interest/arousal disorder or FSIAD.
It happens to a number of women at times and, on average, about 40 percent may experience some form of it at some point in their life.
While there are a number of different factors that can lead to this as a reality for someone’s life, one common cause that is sometimes overlooked is the amount of alcohol that the person drinks over their lifetime.
SHORT TERM EFFECTS
Most men are aware of the immediate short-term effects of alcohol on their ability to perform, as many have been in a situation in which one has the desire to have sex after drinking but their “wingman” does not appear interested in participating.
This is known as alcohol-related ED, or “whiskey dick” to some, and relates to the inability of a male to get a sufficient erection after consuming alcohol.
This occurs because of how alcohol partially dehydrates the body when we’re drinking, leading to blood volume decline and, subsequently, a decrease in the blood flow we need to make “the magic” happen.
This dehydration can also cause an increase in your levels of angiotensin, a hormone that constricts your blood vessels, making it hard to get the “flow” that you need to perform.
The other components of this relate to how alcohol is a depressant and, therefore, “depresses” your central nervous system when you’re attempting to have sex.
It has an overall sedating effect on both your mind and your body and makes it more difficult for you to be able to control your body’s responses.
In a study done at the University of Washington, those who were drinking had significantly more trouble creating an erect penis than those who had no alcohol in their system, and some were not able to get an erection at all.
For women, this is somewhat similar, as the short-term effects of drinking also related to dehydration and loss of sensitivity through their central nervous system.
This, in turn, can also lead to the inability to create the vaginal lubrication, vasocongestion, needed for sex, as well as make it much more difficult to reach an orgasm or significantly lessen the intensity of them.
All in all, this sounds like it makes for a much less excitable and enjoyable experience for all parties involved.
LONG TERM EFFECTS
While I’m sure most people think the short terms effects are bad enough, it is really what happens with consistent alcohol consumption over time that should truly be scary.
For men, this can lead to permanent erectile dysfunction, in which your only recourse for performance will be those expensive blue pills. The damage drinking does to your liver over time could be the direct cause.
A damaged liver can impact the body’s ability to regulate hormone distribution and this lack of regulation can lead to a variety of medical issues, with one of them being impotence.
The other aspect of this is that the more you drink, the more you lower your body’s testosterone levels, which is a direct cause of erectile dysfunction issues.
The more you drink, the more your body’s main three glands, the hypothalamus, anterior pituitary gland, and testes are affected, leading to decreased testosterone creation.
One perhaps unknown (and I would say, rather disturbing) possibility for men is that long-term drinking can even lead to a smaller penis…something for which I don’t think any man is searching.
For women, the long-term effects are equally as scary and dangerous, if not more.
Two main effects for women who drink large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time include dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) and loss of libido or sexual desire.
The ironic thing about these effects is that many times, women will drink to overcome these issues, while they are scientifically making it worse.
In the case of dyspareunia, by drinking to mask the pain, the person is not facing the underlying emotional, physical, or psychological issues that are causing it.
Also, similar to men, alcohol dehydrates the body and makes it more difficult for women to produce the natural lubrication needed to make sex more pleasurable than painful.
With the loss of libido, while some people may see alcohol as being an aphrodisiac to increase the desire to have sex, it actually lowers women’s sexual sensitivity and decreases a women’s ability to have orgasms over time, which can lead to an overall lower desire or interest in the act.
Other major long-term effects include a decrease in ovulation and fertility overall.
It has been recommended by some doctors that women should not drink at all when trying to conceive because of these effects.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
Either stop drinking completely or just cut back on your drink to no more than the daily recommended maximum.
By cutting back, you can easily reverse many of the effects of alcohol and get back many of the feelings that you may have lost over time while consuming alcohol.
Couple this with a healthy diet and exercise to decrease your body fat percentage and increase your body’s blood flow, and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of being able to “perform” when the time calls for it.
If you can use help on quitting or cutting back, make sure to read through all the numerous articles on AINYF with tips and strategies to help you do so.
It may not be something that you can do overnight, but with time and focus, you can be back to your pre-alcohol performance standards in no time.