Alcohol and your erection

Alcohol and your erection

Most of us enjoy the occasional drink or two… or seven.. and suddenly you are REALLY up for it 🙂 Have you ever wondered why?

It is because alcohol is a depressant, specifically of your brain’s inhibitory centres – causing the loss of social inhibitions! Add to that the “beer-goggles effect”, the depressed ability of your analytical brain to distinguish between high and low quality mate, and you are all set!

Not many men, though, know the real effects of alcohol on their important little best friend in the long term.

This little guide will provide you with an introduction to the effects that alcohol has on your virility, and give you an idea of the best strategy to allow you to perform at your best. We have also pre-selected the best books available on understanding and dealing with alcohol.

Alcohol and your Erection – The Science

Many studies have pointed to reduced testosterone production in response to moderate alcohol intake1, while some have concluded that a small dose of alcohol actually boosts testosterone levels in men2. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, as the precise effects of alcohol intake are can vary dramatically from person to person.

The technical explanation for involves a basic understanding of how the cells of your body make energy. Every cell breaks down molecules of glucose (a simple sugar) to release the energy stored within its structure. During the process of splitting glucose, an electron carrier known as NAD+ gains electrons to form NADH.

When the cells of your body break down and detoxify alcohol, more NADH is formed than under normal conditions. This causes your cells to divert attention away from testosterone production, and instead to detoxification of alcohol. This reduces the level of testosterone in the body, therefore reducing sexual performance.

the economist drug studySince testosterone is such a key factor in correct male sexual function, several studies have been carried out in this area3. These studies have found that moderate alcohol intake decreased testosterone production. The study also found that this reduced testosterone level led to reduced ease of attaining and intensity of orgasm in males, as well as decreasing overall sexual arousal.

It should be noted that although moderate alcohol intake has been shown to decrease the activity of physiological systems relating to sexual behaviour, the overall number of sexual experiences each male has in response to alcohol intake may actually increase.

The effect of lowered inhibitions, coupled with the ‘beer goggles’ effect, results in males being less discriminatory both when choosing potential sexual partners, and when choosing when to use appropriate protection.

A variety of studies have also concluded that a large proportion of date rapes, sexually transmitted infections and unexpected pregnancies are as a result of intoxication4, suggesting that a lower level of alcohol intake might indeed lower the incidence of these. Researchers led by Professor David Nutt released a study in 2010 that alcohol is indeed the most harmful drug in Britain, far more damaging than heroin or crack cocaine. According to this study it is the most harmful to others by a wide margin, and is ranked fourth behind heroin, crack, and methamphetamine (crystal meth) for harm to the individual.

As more and more research is being carried out, it is becoming clear that excessive alcohol intake is linked to impaired sexual performance, and increased occurrences of STIs and pregnancy. The truth is that a little alcohol helps put you at ease, and can even improve your sexual performance, but too much especially on an ongoing basis can be detrimental to your virility.

How much is too much? Well, the NHS statistically thinks you have an alcohol problem once you average over 15 units (= approx. 7 pints or 2 bottles of wine) / week. So if you drink that this amount of alcohol or more your testosterone levels ARE affected by the alcohol and your virility is reduced.

If you feel you need to get more advice, check out the NHS alcohol website, which is really good.

You therefore need to strike a balance when drinking: a little alcohol relaxes you before the act, while a moderate amount will inhibit your performance. If you would like to improve your virility, completely eliminating alcohol may work for some, but it is most likely that a glass of wine or bottle of beer will actually be beneficial in improving your sex drive and performance.

In other words – have a little before sex, but drinking regularly and too much is not good for your little friend.

Related studies

  1. “Jack H. Mendelson M.D., James Ellingboe Ph.D., Nancy K. Mello Ph.D., John Kuehnle, Effects of Alcohol on Plasma Testosterone and Luteinizing Hormone Levels, (1978), Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Volume 2, Issue 3, pages 255–258. DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-277.1978.tb05808.x”
  2. “Sarkola T. Eriksson C.J.P., Testosterone Increases in Men After a Low Dose of Alcohol ,(2003), Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Volume 27, Issue 4, Page 682. DOI:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2003.tb04405.x.”
  3. “Halpernfelsher B. Millstein S. Ellen J., Relationship of alcohol use and risky sexual behavior: A review and analysis of findings, (1996), Journal of Adolescent Health Volume 19, Issue 5, Pages 331–6. DOI:10.1016/S1054-139X(96)00024-9”
  4. “Halpernfelsher B. Millstein S. Ellen J., Relationship of alcohol use and risky sexual behavior: A review and analysis of findings, (1996), Journal of Adolescent Health Volume 19, Issue 5, Pages 331–6. DOI:10.1016/S1054-139X(96)00024-9”