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Alcohol and Sex: the Mismatched Couple

Sex and alcohol seem to be such a prosaic couple. Wine and romance, beer and cheerleaders, they couple up in so many forms. But a thorny couple they are.

The first drink, possibly even the second, can actually have a positive effect, if inhibitions keep you from showing initiative. Most men and women who enjoy light drinking actually report that adds something to sexual enjoyment. Perhaps it makes you more free and expressive, which are always a good idea, or it improves the mood and that way you tend to interpret a situation as more pleasant.

But as you go past the first drink or two, the combo goes downhill. Studies on women show that heavy drinking will decrease sexual interest, hamper sexual arousal and, should you actually get that far, diminish the pleasure of the orgasm. Over the years, alcoholism or chronic, heavy drinking can make a real mess of the reproductive system. Periods can be deregulated and fertility curbed, as hormones are affected. The long-term effect of hormonal chaos is not a pretty picture: the genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics, such as breasts and hair patterns can lose their female charms. Enough said, except to add that pregnant women who drink heavily can cause birth defects to their baby.

One interesting finding with women is that when drunk, if one had to measure their physical arousal it would prove to be lower than in a sober state, yet, women report feeling more aroused at this time. With men on the other hand, their sexual behaviour is impaired and they know it.

The overall picture with men is no more appealing. A relatively heavy drinking session, perhaps 3 drinks within of couple of hours (a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05), is likely to down a guy`s sexual arousal and performance. When the blood alcohol concentration rises, the testosterone level in the bloodstream drops. That translates to weaker erections, if he can get it up at all. And for those who manage to get into gear and have a partner willing to have second rate sex with them, the chances are that ejaculation will be slow and sometimes no orgasm will be possible at all.

Basically, a nice drink (singular) can get the atmosphere going and start the juices (plural) flowing. But put a cork in it and you`ll be protecting yourselves from a disappointing show later on. And of course, being sober during sex also allows you to commit the good stuff to memory.


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