Sex and alcohol: top five facts
Drinking may help break the ice but it can also cause trouble. Ever had trouble with an erection? Woken up in bed with the wrong person?
Alcohol has a dual effect on people’s sex lives. Small amounts of it reduce shyness, making it easier for people to meet up. It can help people to relax and chat more easily. A cocktail or a glass of wine can make you feel more romantic and less uptight about sex. It can even liven up the time spent between the sheets.
So much for the good news. Unfortunately, the list of negative effects is way longer, especially when the drinks are a bit too many. So how much is too much?
The beer goggle effect
‘Oh my god what have I done?!’ Have you ever had this feeling when you’ve woken up after a night of heavy drinking? You might be thinking about the person you made out with at the bar. Or even the person in bed next to you.
Yes, it’s been proven that when blood alcohol is high, people start seeing others as more attractive than they really are. You can make advances and even start affairs you later regret. Once you’re sober, that new partner can look way less desirable or appropriate than they did when you were wearing your ‘beer goggles’.
It’s easy to lose control, especially when you think that a glass or two can bring down shyness and help a flirt. But once you get past the tipsy stage and get properly drunk, once you get between the sheets you might regret that tipple too many.
Excessive drinking can stop you from getting an effective erection – no matter how turned on you are. Many young men aren’t aware of that because they think alcohol boosts horniness.
With women, alcohol can again be a mood enhancer, making them feel more relaxed and in turn more sexual. But there are studies showing that too many drinks can make it harder for women to climax or reduce the intensity of their orgasm.
Alcohol makes people engage in unwise sex – with the wrong person or without proper protection. This can lead to unplanned pregnancy, STDs, and to starting affairs that cause relationship break-ups. No wonder why on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings there’s a massive demand for emergency contraception or the ‘morning-after pill’.
Bad for sperm
Recent studies show that there’s a damaging relation between drinking the last five days and semen quality and reproductive hormones – the higher amounts of alcohol, the poorer the quality of the sperm. And it leads to a hormonal balance shift that can affect sperm too.
Harmful to unborn babies
You are pregnant – congratulations! And now you start rewinding the night of conception and getting preoccupied whether you had a drink or two. Don’t worry about that. At present we don’t know if drinking before conceiving can be bad for the baby.
But once women know that they’re expecting, they have to stay away from alcohol. Alcohol easily gets into the unborn baby’s bloodstream. So if the mother drinks, the baby drinks too. This can stop the baby’s brain from developing. And heavy drinking can cause birth defects. It’s hard to say if one drink can harm the baby, but as soon as women have two glasses of alcohol a day, their babies are born a bit smaller than normal. So the only safe advice is don’t drink alcohol when you’re pregnant.