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Is alcohol affecting your sex life?

Find out why too much alcohol can have negative effects on your sex-life for you and your partner.

Many people mistakenly believe that alcohol is an aphrodisiac. However, over time too much alcohol can actually put a dampener on your sex drive.

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."

Sexual side-effects

Drinking too much over an extended period of time can turn a temporary condition into impotence1Drinking alcohol can also affect your fertility if you're planning to have children. Women who drink over the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines of 14 units a week can take longer to become pregnant and can suffer from menstrual and fertility problems. The low risk guideline is the same for men and women.

Take our Alcohol Self Assessment test to find out if you're drinking too much.

Recapture your spark

If you want to stop alcohol affecting your sex life, a simple way to cut down is by increasing your drink-free days. Start by planning romantic nights that don't involve drinking alcohol, or make sure that you keep the amount on offer within the recommended guidance of not regularly drinking more than 14 units a week for both men and women.

If you've got into the habit of drinking wine for dinner, try dinner-only drinking or switching to a non-alcoholic drink instead. Put away the money you would have spent on alcohol, then at the end of the month, use it for something nice you can do together.

Drinking a little less can improve your health in other ways too. Use our calculator to find out how.



(1) NHS Choices website. Male sexual problems. The Information Standard member organisation. Last reviewed: 10/06/2014. Available at:


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