alcoholism-sexual dysfunction

Definition Sexual dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction is broadly defined as the inability to fully enjoy sexual intercourse. Specifically, sexual dysfunctions are disorders that interfere with a full sexual response cycle. These disorders make it difficult for a person to enjoy or to have sexual intercourse. While sexual dysfunction rarely threatens physical health, it can take a heavy psychological toll, bringing on depression, anxiety, and debilitating feelings of inadequacy.

Definition Alcoholism
Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is defined by the American Medical Association (AMA) as “a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.”

Extended Definition Alcoholism

Alcoholism is characterized by:

  • a prolonged period of frequent, heavy alcohol use.
  • the inability to control drinking once it has begun.
  • physical dependence manifested by withdrawal symptoms when the individual stops using alcohol.
  • tolerance, or the need to use more and more alcohol to achieve the same effects.
  • a variety of social and/or legal problems arising from alcohol use.

Why Does Alcohol Affect Sexual Behavior?

Men and women both are more likely to engaged in casual sexual behavior when there is alcohol involved
Alcohol lowers inhibitions about engaging in sexual behaviors
Alcohol increases perceptions of attractiveness for both men and women, further promoting the possibility of engaging in casual sexual behaviors
65% reported alcohol or drugs being involved in their more recent casual sex encounter

How Does Alcohol Affect Sexual Performance and Pleasure?

For men, alcohol use before sex results in DECREASED

  • penis engorgement (hardness)
  • orgasmic intensity
  • overall satisfaction and pleasure

For women, alcohol use before sex results in DECREASED

  • ability to orgasm (and some women may not be able to orgasm at all)
  • orgasmic intensity
  • overall satisfaction and pleasure

Sex and Alcohol on Spring Break: Some Statistics

  • 26% of males and nearly 36% of females failed to use a condom during sex with someone they met on spring break
  • Nearly 50% of the males and 41% of the females reported having consumed alcohol just prior to sex
  • When asked about their alcohol use in connection with their sexual activities, 49% of men and 38% of women reported having sex as a direct result of drinking
  • 75% of all students reported never or rarely using a condom on spring break
  • Students reported their decision were negatively influenced by alcohol or drug use just prior to sexual activity
  • 74% of males and nearly 88% of females reported never or rarely worrying about STDs/HIV, even though they were at risk
  • About 48% of men and women who had sex under the influence regretted the experience.

STDs and Alcohol

Several risk factors for STDs are common when alcohol influences sexual behavior:

  • multiple sex partners
  • engaging in unprotected sex (in other words, sex without a condom)
  • combining substance use with sexual activity
  • Young adults who used alcohol were seven times more likely to have unprotected sex
  • About 23% of sexually active teens and young adults say they have had UNPROTECTED sex because they were using alcohol or drugs at the time
  • Only 28% of young adults said they were concerned about STDs or pregnancy because of sexual intercourse they had while using alcohol or drugs, even though they were at increased risk
  • Oral sex under the influence of alcohol tends to involve less discussion of safe sex practices than without alcohol, thus increasing risk for STD transmission
  • Young adults who used alcohol were twice as likely to have multiple sex partners, a HIGH risk factor for contracting STDs
  • Substance use can cause biological alterations that place a person physically more at risk for an STD infection because alcohol can impair a person’s immune system and the ability to fight off an STD

alcohol-erectile-dysfunction
Sexual Assault: How Is It Related to Alcohol?

  • 20-25% of college women reported some kind of rape (attempted or completed)
  • At least 50% of college students’ sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use
  • 47% of the sexual assaults reported by college men involved alcohol consumption
  • In 81% of the alcohol related sexual assaults both victim and the perpetrator had consumed alcohol
  • When alcohol is involved, survivors are less likely to name the experience “rape”

Effects of alcohol: sexual dysfunction and dry skin

Alcohol has many effects on the human body, from drunkenness or clouding our mental ability and thoughts to thinning of the blood and possibly lowering the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular related issues.  But did you know that alcohol will also cause sexual dysfunction in both men and women and varying degrees of dry skin (dependent upon age and condition of skin?  The major school of thought on this evolves around hydration.  Alcohol tends to remove water from the body, reducing its hydration levels and actually results in aging of the body’s various organs.  The body needs water to survive and high levels of hydration for optimum performance.

Two areas that are immediately effected by the drop in hydration caused by alcohol are sexual performance and our skin.  For men, any marked drop in hydration reduces the production of sperm and ejaculate in the groin area.  Studies have shown that a drop in sperm and ejaculate will cause a similar drop in sexual desire and arousal.  A study at Yale University by Dr. Brachman has shown that marked drops in hydration cause an increase in various sexual dysfunctions.  “Men produce lower sperm counts and women tend to have an increase in genital dryness and discomfort.  This leads to a marked decrease in sexual desire for both sexes.”  Alcohol will greatly reduce the actual number of sperm produced and the amounts of ejaculate or semen that are produced.

A study on over 17,000 alcoholic men found that after several years of no alcohol 50% of the men  returned to normal erectile functioning, and the other 50% were either partially or completely unable to get an erection, even when sexual desire returned. Alcohol abuse can also be associated with worsening other physical conditions in the body which again are responsible for causing erectile dysfunction. These conditions are diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. While the anti-impotence drugs like Levitra can take care of your erectile dysfunction even in tough conditions, alcohol has the potential of smothering your passion, possibly even permanently.

So it is obvious that proper hydration is essential to sexual performance, function and human reproduction.  But did you also know that another immediate effect of decreased hydration due to alcohol is dry skin and various related and similar skin conditions and problems?  Yes, any marked decrease in the body’s hydration levels will cause the skin to become less pliable and will slow down its repair mechanisms.  This drop in hydration from alcohol will actually age the skin as it will lead to wrinkles, fine lines, crow’s feet, etc… Your skin needs high levels of hydration and you must drink plenty of water every day to maintain this.  Improper hydration of the skin can lead to or actually worsen conditions such as acne, rosacea, shingles, and many other skin only diseases and problems.

Now, it is important to note that there are many more problems caused by improper hydration (dehydration) through alcohol consumption than we have listed here, but these are two immediately effected areas which will also show a marked regeneration and healthiness when proper hydration is restored to the body.  For proper sexual function and healthy skin it is recommended that one drink 8 to 10 glasses of water throughout the day and limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day at most.

UK Case Study: In recent years, it’s become clear that as a country, the UK drinks far too much alcohol. UK is now among the top 10 nations of the world for per capita alcohol consumption.

That’s a worrying statistic, because excessive use of alcohol is very bad for your health – and it doesn’t do your sex life any good either!

Fortunately, in the last few years in UK, national alcohol consumption has fallen a little. Nevertheleass, experts are concerned about the fact that many people – and especially the young – go in for dangerous ‘risk-taking’ sexual behaviour when they’re under the influence of drink.

A particular danger is the phenomenon of ‘beer goggles’, a term which has been invented in recent years to describe the way in which a person whose blood alcohol is high can start seeing others as much more desirable than they really are.

A 2009 study in the British Journal of Psychology showed that men who had taken alcohol were attracted to potential sex partners who wouldn’t have been chosen by them when they were sober.

Alcohol affects people’s sex lives in many ways. We can divide its effects into ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

Good effects of alcohol

Small amounts of alcohol oil the social wheels and reduce shyness – thereby making it easier for people to meet up. It also helps a lot of men and women to relax and chat easily with each other.

Similarly, a little wine or a cocktail will often make a person feel romantic – or perhaps less ‘uptight’ about sex.

alcohol-statisticsAlso, a very small ‘dose’ of alcohol can extend the time that a nervous young man takes before he climaxes – thus combating any slight tendency to come too soon or experience mild premature ejaculation (PE). However, alcohol is definitely not a treatment for this condition.
Bad effects of alcohol

Unfortunately, the list of ‘bad’ effects of alcohol is much longer!

  • Alcohol makes people far more likely to have unwise sex with the wrong person – and therefore to get pregnant, to catch infections, and to embark on affairs that cause marriage break-ups. In fact, booze is the main reason why in 2011, there is a massive demand for the so-called ‘morning-after pill’ (the emergency contraceptive) on Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings.
  • Alcohol makes people fuddled, so that they don’t take proper contraceptive precautions.
  • Alcohol is bad for the unborn baby – so it should only be taken very sparingly in pregnancy. During 2008, there have been conflicting reports about how safe it is for pregnant women. Some authorities feel that during pregnancy it should be avoided totally. At present we don’t know whether alcohol taken on the night of conception could be bad for the baby.
  • Alcohol is a major cause of impotence (erectile dysfunction). A lot of younger males don’t realise this because they think that booze boosts ‘horniness’. But as Shakespeare says in the Scottish play: ‘It increases the desire, but it takes away the performance.’
  • A lot of men who are hooked on alcohol develop permanent ‘Brewer’s droop’ – and often loss of interest in sex as well.
  • We do not yet know if excessive alcohol use can cause female sexual problems, but on the basis of probabilities it does seem likely that some cases of diminished libido are due to excessive alcohol consumption.

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Comments

  1. Clayton Cottrell says:

    Why my girlfriend (she is 34) always uses a lubricant during intercourse?
    I have never had a sexual intercourse with her without lubricant.
    Could it be a sign of an illness, sexual dysfunction, lack of interest, I don’t know what?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. I’m very attracted to woman but i’ve found it hard to keep an erection. i’m a virgin and the thought of being touched by a girl arrouses me (mentally) but when i do get touched it doesn’t do anything. it doesn’t feel really good.

    even when masturbating i’ve found it hard to keep it up.

    is this fixable?

  3. is it possible..? i have been very bulimic for a few years and i wanna stop but its really addictive.. but i dont want my friends and family to know 🙁

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