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Drinking alcohol helps some people relax, socialize, and celebrate. Although people commonly mix alcohol and sex, alcohol can have a significant impact on sexual activity.
Many people use alcohol to help reduce their inhibitions in the hope that it will reduce anxiety and allow them to have better sex.
Although one or two drinks might be beneficial, consuming too much alcohol can change the way a person’s body responds to sexual activity and may result in less satisfying sex.
This article examines the effects of alcohol on sex, tackles some common myths, and provides tips on best practices.
Effects on females
People commonly mix alcohol and sex, but alcohol can affect attraction, arousal, and sexual risk.
Drinking alcohol can have a range of effects on female arousal, desire, responsiveness, and sexual behavior.
Research suggests that drinking alcohol is associated with feeling more attractive and finding others more attractive, too. Females also reported feeling more desire for sex when they had consumed alcohol.
However, an older study suggests that although alcohol may increase female arousal, consuming too much may have a negative physiological effect and decrease genital response.
Alcohol may also affect sex because it has a numbing effect on the genitals. People who took part in a 2018 study reported that sex lasted longer after drinking alcohol, which may be due to decreased sensation. Females also reported less vaginal lubrication and difficulty reaching orgasm.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol may also lead females to take more risks when it comes to sex. One study of adults in New Zealand suggests that heavy drinking patterns were associated with more sexual partners, regretted sex, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy terminations.
Effects on males
For males, the effects of drinking alcohol are similar.
Some say that drinking gives them courage and removes inhibition when it comes to sex. In one study, more males than females reported being “less picky” when it came to choosing who to have sex with.
Like females, males also reported less sensation in the genitals after drinking alcohol, meaning that they may take longer to reach orgasm. Sexual dysfunction is also likely to be more common in males who are dependent on alcohol.
Males with alcohol dependence are also more likely to experience issues such as erectile dysfunction, unsatisfying orgasm, premature ejaculation, and loss of libido.
Risky sexual behavior is more likely when males consume alcohol in excess. For example, one 2016 study suggests that males are more likely to engage in unprotected sex when they have been drinking alcohol. This can transmit STIs and lead to unintended pregnancies.