January 27th, 2017
Alcohol abuse is one of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction, a common manifestation of sexual dysfunction among men. It refers to the ability to achieve and sustain an erection adequate for completion of sexual intercourse. Men who consume more than 3 drinks daily are much more likely to have difficulty with erectile dysfunction compared to men who drink moderately or not at all. In fact, up to 70% of men who abuse alcohol chronically will experience sexual dysfunction.
Alcohol causes many types of sexual dysfunction, including reduced sexual desire and premature ejaculation. Erectile dysfunction is the most common type of sexual dysfunction among men who drink heavily, but all aspects of male sexual function are diminished by heavy alcohol use.
There are a variety of factors that contribute to erectile dysfunction in men who consume large amounts of alcohol over time, including psychological factors. Alcohol is a depressant and affects the central nervous system, which may diminish arousal. Heavy drinking also reduces blood flow to the penis, which makes an erection difficult. An erection occurs when blood flow is directed into the spongy tissue of the penis, causing engorgement.
As a result of sexual dysfunction, many men who abuse alcohol experience loss of self-esteem and difficulties in their interpersonal relationship. This tends to increase the amount of alcohol they consume. A vicious cycle ensues and sexual function will continue to deteriorate.
In the short term, alcohol can make it more difficult to achieve erection in intoxicated men, through similar mechanisms. Blood flow to the penis is reduced, sensory signals may be diminished, and the intensity of arousal and orgasm is also affected. Although men who occasionally drink to intoxication may not experience long term erectile difficulties, the sexual experience will be impaired during about of heavy drinking.
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