Alcohol has been an integral component of many cultures for thousands of years.
Archaeologists estimate that grape-based wines have existed for more than 10,000 years, while other alcoholic beverages like mead have existed even longer. From its place on a celebration table to lounging indolently in one’s hand, alcohol is the signal for a good time.
While many persons can readily name more than a handful of alcoholic beverages, few can discern between its facts and fictions. A number of misconceptions exist with alcohol, especially regarding its ability to enhance sexual situations. In truth, alcohol can easily and quickly distort human sexuality, creating long-term problems that threaten society’s most base threads.
Alcohol and Judgment Impair
According to researchers, alcohol’s popularity is largely owed to the euphoria and loss of inhibition it produces. However, as alcohol continues to build in the body, researchers know that brain activity and the central nervous system both slow. This can lead to serious judgment impair, causing one to engage in activities that he or she would not consider otherwise.
In social venues where alcohol is prominent, persons often anticipate having sex. Whether it may be with a new acquaintance, existing colleague or romantic partner, drinking often increases desire. The correlation between alcohol and sex is so strong that the latter is actually an expected outcome from the former. Studies confirm that persons who receive non-alcoholic drinks but are told otherwise report increased sexual arousal. This is similar to the feelings reported by those who actually do consume alcohol.
Scientists explain that when people collectively expect or anticipate a certain physical effect, it is often experienced. Expectations also influence behaviors, and researchers further state that persons in a setting where alcohol is present may be more receptive to sexual advances. In short, alcohol impacts judgment and manners even before it is consumed.
The Impact of Alcohol on Sexual Encounters
Although considered to be an aphrodisiac, alcohol can and does lead to poor sexual performance. Studies reveal that alcohol is an anesthetic that numbs nerve cells in the sex organs of both men and women. After drinking, therefore, one or both parties may struggle to reach an orgasm. In one laboratory study of 18 women, scientists noted decreased vaginal blood measures, longer time to reach orgasm and decreased intensity of orgasm after alcohol consumption.
Alcohol also retards physical responses and often leads to clumsy movements. These can further dampen even the most anticipated sexual moment. In a study of 74 alcoholic women in a rehabilitative facility, 41 percent reported experiencing negative sexual effects after drinking. According to researchers, men often experience increased sexual aggression after drinking, which also can negatively impact their relationships and quality of sex.
In terms of sexual performance, men are also more likely to be hindered than women. Researchers estimate that up to 25 percent of males struggle with ejaculation after alcohol consumption. Added to this is an estimate that 54 percent of alcoholic men struggle to achieve and maintain erections. Just as minimal alcohol can heighten sexual arousal, it can also negatively impact sexual response. As stated earlier, alcohol inhibits the nervous system, which signals for blood vessels in the penis to dilate and relax. When said system does not function properly, an erection cannot be sustained.
Sexual desire has been found to decrease in approximately 58 percent of alcoholic men. Although this distinctly clashes with previous notions that alcohol increases libido, researchers believe that several factors are at work. First, adverse social implications may follow those men who drink on a long-term basis. This is likely to result in a decreased ability to maintain relationships where love and sex exist healthily. Second, many researchers believe testosterone levels drop in men who over-indulge, thereby decreasing libido as well.
Alcohol and Fertility
The sexual impact of alcohol extends to fertility as well. Doctors state that alcohol may cause abnormal liver function in men, giving way to increased estrogen levels that could interfere with natural hormone levels and the development of sperm. Alcohol is also a toxin that can kill sperm-generating cells in the testicle. A sperm requires three months to develop, so men who drink regularly may struggle with healthy counts and mobility.
Women are equally affected with adverse consequences of alcohol. Studies reveal that alcohol consumption can lead to female infertility in a number of different ways. From the absence of menses to ovulation dysfunctions, women are susceptible to different conditions. Doctors advise females who are trying to get pregnant to stop drinking alcohol altogether. In addition, couples struggling to conceive are advised to openly discuss with doctors their daily drinking habits and ways to alter them.
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