How Alcohol Can Affect Sexual Life of Men
Alcohol can cause tremendous damages to men's sexual function over time. The article below discusses the short-term and long-term effects of alcohol on sex. Efforts have been made to understand the impact of alcohol on men's sexual functions from various perspectives including the biological and sociological angle.
What are the short-term sexual effects of alcohol on men?
Men often tend to believe that alcohol consumption improves their sex drive and help them enjoy more intense, passionate sex. There may be some degree of truth in this belief but it may not be complete truth. Studies show that in the short-term the impact of alcohol consumption lowers inhibition and help men 'loosen up' and feel more comfortable initiating or engaging in sex. And, in a way alcohol may help men have better sex. However, this positive effect on a man's sexual function works only if alcohol is consumed in moderation. While, adverse effect on sexual function is observed after one drink too many. When a man takes alcohol in large amounts, his sexual response is reduced. In fact, large amounts of alcohol make sex difficult to impossible. In case of heavy drinking, men as well as women experience fall in sexual arousal. Men can have difficulty in achieving erections and both men and women may have difficulty experiencing orgasm. Moreover, after a few hours of heavy drinking men may experience dehydration, headache, dizziness, nausea and fatigue.
Another effect of alcohol is that it decreases decision-making capacity. Under the impact of what is termed as 'beer goggles,' (which causes men who are introxicated to judge others as more attractive than they are), men indulge in unplanned sexual encounters. They have sex with partners they would not otherwise sleep with and engage in riskier behaviors which can contribute to the transmission of STDs.
What are the long-term sexual effects of alcohol on men?
Just as it causes immune damage effects on most other systems, the long-term effect of chronic alcohol abuse can have a devastating effect on a man's sexual functions. Over a period, alcohol can lead to damage to the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. This results in a loss of sexual desire, difficulty experimenting orgasm and even impotence in men.
Beside, there are several other secondary sexual effects of long-term alcohol abuse. Men who have been alcoholic for a number of years have few long-term relationships since they are less able to find or maintain sexual partners. Beside, since alcoholics tend to have social, health and financial difficulties that they are less desired as sexual partners. Thus, in long-term alcohol consumption may mess up a man's sexual and personal life.
Impact of alcohol on male sex hormone 'testosterone'
Several studies show that alcohol consumption leads to a decline in testosterone level in both alcoholic men and in non-alcoholic men who drink enough to become intoxicated. However, with men who drink occasionally, testosterone levels return to normal while moderate amounts of alcohol consumption are not associated with reduced testosterone.
Although the alcohol is broken-down in liver, the testes also possess the enzymes necessary for alcohol breakdown. According to researchers, the enzymes that help break alcohol are also required for testosterone production. In the presence of alcohol, these enzymes in the testes are diverted to alcohol break rather than assist testosterone production. Over time, these leads to a reduction in testosterone levels. A low-testosterone level leads to decline in sex drive and erectile dysfunction.
Can sexual effects of alcohol in men be reversed?
Since not much research has been conducted on this subject, it is difficult to ascertain if the sexual effects of alcohol in men can be reversed. In a study, involving over 17,000 alcoholic men, it was found that after several years of no alcohol 50% returned to normal erectile function while the other 50% were either partially or completely unable to get an erection, even when sexual desire returned. A factor that makes sexual effects of alcohol difficult to reverse is that long-term alcohol abuse leads to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease that also cause erectile dysfunction.