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How Alcohol Affects Your Penis

Posted in Sexual Health 24 Dec, 2014

Christmas is all about being merry, and for many this means enjoying an alcoholic beverage with their loved ones. While it's fine to let yourself go and enjoy a few drinks, if you drink too much and later plan to get steamy with your partner beneath the sheets then alcohol may be detrimental to your performance.

Alcohol acts as a depressant, and when consumed excessively can affect blood flow to the penis. This means that it can become more difficult for a man to get and maintain an erection.

Alcohol and erectile dysfunction

Excessive drinking over time can damage the peripheral nervous system, and that includes motor and sensory nerves related to muscle control. In the long term this can cause symptoms such as erectile dysfunction (ED).

Long-term ED has been strongly linked with excessive alcohol consumption and studies have shown that persistent alcohol misuse can induce sexual dysfunction. In a 2007 study published in The Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 100 men who had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence were assessed and 72% were shown to have sexual dysfunction including ED, premature ejaculation and low sexual desire.

Premature ejaculation, or coming too quickly, can be an embarrassing problem and is common in younger men. Alcohol, in small amounts, can help ease nerves and make a man less likely to ejaculate prematurely. However, in excess, alcohol can compound the problem, dampening sexual arousal.

ED can have a serious effect on a couple's wellbeing, especially if this is a persistent problem, resulting in emotional or psychological issues in a relationship. Avoiding alcohol is beneficial in these situations as it doesn't help matters and can often make these feelings worse.

Tips to avoid sexual dysfunction

To prevent any physical problems with getting an erection, avoiding alcohol is advised as it can impact the body's nerves and muscles – including the penis. Being able to relax and get blood flowing into the penis should be a priority if you want to maintain an erection or avoid premature ejaculation. Try following the tips:


  • Masturbate an hour or two before sex as this can increase blood flow to the genitals, important for getting and maintaining an erection.
  • Try some deep breathing exercises as this relaxes the body and also shuts down any ejaculatory reflex.
  • Use a thick condom if you want to minimise premature ejaculation as this will decrease sensation during sexual intercourse.
  • Have sex with your partner on top as some men may find this position less stimulating.

Along with the above tips, it's recommended to follow a healthy lifestyle, stop smoking, exercise daily and avoid overeating as all of these factors can harm the cardiovascular system, adversely affecting the blood flow to the penis.

For more information about erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, visit our information sections.

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