People “cocktail” on a regular basis these days. In fact, the social subculture related to drinking has become such that “cocktailing” is now accepted as a verb by many. Let’s face it, unless you have just completed a yoga class, very few people ever say, “hey, meet you at the juice bar for happy hour!” And while having a drink sounds seductive and fun, alcohol has a decidedly unsexy side to it. So much so that alcohol routinely causes problems in many people’s sex lives.
If you are like the large majority of people, having a beer, glass of wine, or cocktail signifies relaxation and socialization for you. Perhaps you and your partner enjoy a beverage together at the end of the day. But what some couples have discovered is that the consumption of alcohol is actually bad for their sex lives and intimacy.
Physical Effect Of Alcohol On Sex
Alcohol can have a relaxing effect, lowering inhibitions and increasing a desire to talk and/or be intimate. BUT – big BUT here – that is the case when consumed in the most moderate amount. Once you go beyond a small amount (think one glass, one beer – just ONE) your body and sexual functions start to become negatively impacted. In addition, the more often you consume, the more likely you are become addicted to alcohol.
You may have heard the terms “whisky dick” or “brewers droop.” These are well known slang terms used to describe the problems of keeping an erection or other erectile dysfunction issues that can be caused by the over consumption of alcohol. Yes men, that beer that you love so much can be detrimental to your love making. It is entirely possible that alcohol is ruining your sex life and you may not even know or recognize it.
Some of you are probably shaking your heads, thinking “no way – Coors has been my wingman for years!” Well, the fact is he’s probably been sabotaging you this whole time.
To begin with, alcohol is a depressant - it dampens the feelings and sensitivity in your nether regions and everywhere else. In addition it causes dehydration and which impacts your blood volume. Blood volume is a crucial component of an effective erection in men and vaginal readiness in women. And the effect a depressant can have on sensitivity – well, that speaks for itself.
Alcohol, Sex and Relationships
There are volumes written about the negative physical effects of alcohol, sexually speaking and otherwise. But what are the effects of alcohol doing to your relationship? Well, there are several aspects that are affected by overconsumption.
- You are sloppy. The liquid confidence you feel doesn’t translate into stellar performance. Too much alcohol gives you the impression that your love-making skills are worthy of notoriety. Not the case. Alcohol impairs your ability to concentrate and be sensitive to your partners needs. In most situations when people have over consumed they rush, fumble, or behave in ways that cause emotional or physical discomfort to their partner.
- You are overconfident. This can be in the bedroom or leading up to things. Moving at the same pace, and with the same desires, is crucial to a great sex life. If you push, rush, or assume you will create a divide between you and your partner raising defenses and eventually causing resentment. Or worse.
- Intimacy - out the window. If there seems to be a lack of intimacy in your relationship, consider your drinking habits. There is no personal connection when you are drunk, or even heavily buzzed. That feeling of lowered inhibitions starts to resemble an “anyone will do” attitude. No longer are you connecting in a loving physical way. The intimate experience starts to feel like a just getting laid experience. This will be off-putting to your partner and only cause problems in the long run. Most people in relationships want the sex to feel like an intimate experience. That doesn’t mean candles and Barry White every time - creativity and straight out fun are good too. It does mean, however, that there needs to be a feeling that sex between the two of you is better and more important than with any other willing partner. And that you are ultimately adding to, and reinforcing, your connection to each other.
- You fall asleep. It could be before, during or after, but if you are tired to start, alcohol will not help. Lives are busy and many of us are exhausted at the end of a day. That doesn’t mean you ditch your sex life, but it may require you to do your best to stay energetic and awake in order to keep it alive. As a depressant alcohol is more likely to cause you to lose steam and start to nod off than if you had abstained.
- You are not your desirable best. We can all picture someone who has had too much. They are slurring, their movements are uncoordinated, they have bad breath, and are just overall unappealing. You don’t have to be at this extreme to seem less attractive to your partner. One of the most attractive qualities in an intimate situation is feeling like your partner is fully present and focused on you. Not your body parts, but you as a person. Alcohol will take that away and dull your partner’s attraction to you.
People often will claim that they are fine - just a few beers, wine, cocktails here and there won’t hurt anything. And there is truth to the “everything in moderation” adage. The problem is that the line between moderation and over-consumption is very thin and people cross it far more often than they realize. What’s more is that couples who are dealing with sexual problems in their relationship will often completely overlook the role that alcohol may be playing. Too many beers, wine or cocktails and you might find your sex life in ruins.
A friend of mine had a very strong marriage – for a while. Then her husband began to add more and more beer to his evening routine. Because of the reasons outlined above, she started to steer clear of being intimate with him. As their sex life broke down so did their marriage. Yes, there were other issues, but it started with the breakdown in intimacy. He felt rejected because she no longer wanted to be with him and she felt diminished because beer seemed more important to him than she did. The disconnect and resentment that built up as a result caused problems that required counseling to resolve. This is not an unfamiliar scenario for Dr. Kurt. He has seen these problems often in his practice. When asked about what alcohol can do to a relationship he had this to say,
The resentment and anger a partner can develop over their other half's drinking can be huge, especially since it negatively affects the connection and intimacy. Regardless of whether or not it's being done intentionally, alcohol is being chosen over them as a bigger priority and that really hurts. Another factor is the fact that sex is important to almost everyone (yes, guys, even women). Unfortunately, too many people mistakenly measure the quality of the relationship connection by the frequency and satisfaction with the sex. Therefore, when the sex is bad in their minds the relationship must be too.”
Not Just A Man’s Problem
The tone of this article may lead you to believe that alcohol and sex is a man’s problem. It’s not. Women are equally as susceptible and guilty of sabotaging their sex lives through alcohol. The effects on women are physiologically parallel to those on men and therefore cause many of the same problems.
With women, however, the depressive effect of alcohol can lead more often to risky behavior and full blown depression. And it takes far less quantity-wise for a woman to step over that thin line between appreciative sipping and overindulging. Bottom line is that both men and women are at risk of negatively impacting their relationships, sexual and otherwise, by drinking too much.
So how do you avoid alcohol ruining your sex life? Well, knowledge is power. If you feel like your sex life has taken a downturn, and you routinely enjoy a pint or two, stop and give some thought to a potential connection. Talking to your partner can help as well. As in the case of my friend, your partner may be pulling away because you resemble too many of the bullets listed above. Good communication practices will go a long way here and in other aspects of your relationship as well. And, if you feel like you have reached a point where you can’t control your drinking on your own, seek help. Full blown alcoholism unchecked will destroy more than your mojo, it will also destroy your relationship and life.
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