Alcohol and Erections: A Rocky Relationship

Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
8th July 2020

Erections aren’t always easy for millions of men in the UK. It’s no big deal. Choose from highly effective, clinically proven solutions.

In 30 Seconds

Even light to moderate drinking can trigger erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms, according to research from the International Journal of Impotence.

Studies of men who are heavy drinkers (more than 21 drinks per week) have found that between 58.4% and 72% of them experience ED symptoms.

Alcohol and alcohol abuse is one of the leading causes of ED.

You’d think a few pints or a little tipple would be good for your sex life, right? Any of us who have turned into a veritable Don Juan after a few drinks can attest to that. But extra confidence aside, could alcohol be ruining our sex lives?

The. Short. Answer. Is. Yes. The International Journal of Impotence Research reviewed over 24 studies on sexual dysfunction and alcohol. The result? They found that even light to moderate drinking (less than 21 drinks per week) can trigger erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms.

Having said that, the British Society for Sexual Medicine states that consuming less than 14 drinks per week does not appear to have any significant effect on sexual performance. So the jury may be out. But the real truth of the matter is that moderation – that most unsexy of words – is key.

Here’s why you should think twice before ordering another round:

Even light to moderate drinking can trigger ED symptoms, according to some research

Why Booze May Be Ruining Your Sex Life

The Science Part?

“Alcohol is a depressant and the body’s systems slow down considerably when drinking.  The slowing of these systems can severely inhibit sexual performance.” As Dr Chaudry explains, when your body consumes alcohol the central nervous system is affected; respiration, circulation and nerve ending sensitivity are all slowed down. “Alcohol causes dehydration, so blood and oxygen flow are also reduced.”

Dehydration increases the production of the hormone angiotensin and reduces levels of testosterone, both of which are associated with ED. “With the reduction of blood flow, nerve sensitivity, testosterone, and the increase of angiotensin, it can become difficult to achieve or sustain an erection,” Dr Chaudry explains.

“Alcohol is a depressant and the body’s systems slow down considerably when drinking. The slowing of these systems can severely inhibit sexual performance”

Dr Earim Chaudry

In Conclusion

Time to quit or at least cut down? Drinking is so acceptable in our society but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us, or for our sex lives. If you’re worried that you may be drinking too much  – or maybe someone in your family is – there’s no shame in going to your doctor. And having at least a few nights off a week could be the thing that turns your sex life around. Win win.

Erections aren’t always easy for millions of men in the UK. It’s no big deal. Choose from highly effective, clinically proven solutions.


Further reading

From our health centre. Experts, information and hot topics. See all Erectile Dysfunction articles