Friday, 3 August 2012

Effects of Alcohol on Sex and relationships


Is alcohol affecting your sex life?

Introduction

Find out why too much alcohol can be a turn-off for you both.
One of the tell tale signs you’re in a long-term relationship is that evenings spent together on the sofa become more appealing than nights out down the pub with your mates. For some couples those cosy nights wouldn't be complete without alcohol.
But whether you’re drinking alcohol as part of a shared night in or a romantic meal out, drinking too much too often can hit your relationship where it hurts – between the sheets.

Less sensitive sex

According to the experts, drinking alcohol to excess can make good sex go bad. Dr Abigael San, clinical psychologist and alcohol expert, says this is because alcohol reduces both men’s and women’s sexual sensitivity.  

“In both sexes, sexual response is reduced by regular and prolonged drinking,” she says.
“In men, alcohol can cause difficulties getting and maintaining an erection – while women may experience reduced lubrication, find it harder to have an orgasm, or have orgasms that are less intense.”
Many people mistakenly believe that alcohol is an aphrodisiac because in small amounts it reduces your inhibitions and makes it easier to flirt with someone you fancy. However, over time alcohol can actually put a dampener on your sex drive.
“Too much alcohol can actually reduce sexual desire,” says Dr San.
“This can lead to all sorts of problems in long-term relationships – for instance when one partner feels they aren’t getting enough attention from the other.”

Sexual side-effects

Drinking too much over an extended period of time can have other sexual side-effects too.
Everyone knows about “Brewer’s Droop” – the inability to get an erection after a night of drinking is a situation often played for laughs on the comedy circuit. But the truth is regular drinking can eventually turn a temporary condition to full-blown impotence.
Drinking can also cause damage if you’re planning to have children. Studies show that women who drink over the guidelines take longer to become pregnant and can suffer from menstrual and fertility problems including damaged ovaries.

Recapture your spark

Dr San believes that cutting down on alcohol can be the key to putting the spark back into your sexual relationship. The government daily unit guidelines advise that women should not regularly exceed 2-3 units a day (equivalent to a 175ml glass of 13% wine) and that men should not regularly exceed 3-4 units a day (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer).‘Regularly’ means drinking every day or most days of the week.
If you’re serious about not letting alcohol get between you and great sex, then it’s best to try cutting down together. Start by planning romantic nights that don’t involve drinking alcohol at all, or make sure that you keep the amount on offer to within the daily unit guidelines.
“It may be easier to reduce your alcohol intake if you change the context of your evenings in,” says Dr San.
“Try doing something different, like cooking an elaborate meal together, or going out for a walk rather than sitting in front of the TV drinking wine.”

Sexual healing

Practical ways couples can cut back on booze for better sex
  • Talk it out together. Rather than criticising your partner’s drinking habits, acknowledge that it could be a good idea for both of you to cut down.
  • Praise, don’t nag. Just like in the bedroom, a bit of enthusiastic praise can help steer your partner towards what makes you both feel good. Compliments like “You look really slim now you’ve cut down on the pints,” will help your partner feel positive about their choice.
  • Track your drinking. Record your everyday drinking so at the end of the week you can see what you’ve consumed, and how it compares to the government’s daily guidelines. MyDrinkaware is perfect for this.
  • Have alcohol-free days. If you’ve got into the habit of drinking wine for dinner, try switching to a premium non-alcoholic choice instead.
  • Splash out. Put away the money you would have spent on alcohol. Then, at the end of the month use it for something you can do together, like a romantic weekend away or a pampering spa treatment.

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