Mixing Drinks and Feelings: Alcohol’s Impact on Sexual Experiences
It’s a Wednesday night. You and your partner finally have some alone time together. You may have had sex in a while. Both of you have had a long day and want to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine together before you head to the bedroom. Does this sound familiar?
Or maybe you went out on a Friday night with a group of your friends. You go home with your partner and realize that you didn’t only have a couple of glasses of wine. In reality, there was a lot more alcohol involved. At this point, you both want to have sex, but your bodies don’t react the way you want them to.
As a therapist, am not here to tell you that you shouldn’t have that glass of wine! A couple of drinks might indeed help you to feel more at ease and focus on the here and now rather than the day you had. You may even feel a bit more confident heading into the bedroom to have sex. Also, I am not here to tell you to not go out for the night on the town with your friends! As a couples sex therapist, I do want you to know that in each scenario, there are implications that alcohol can have on sex. This goes for both you and your partner.
The Effects of Alcohol on Your Sex Life
The fact of the matter is moderation matters when it comes to consuming alcohol and having sex. After a certain point, alcohol does have an impact on how our bodies function and the decisions we make.
Have you ever been with your partner after a night out on the town and realized that you weren’t as lubricated as usual? Or find it difficult to have an erection? You are not alone!
If these things happen when you’re intoxicated, you may have lots of questions. Perhaps, you’ve even considered reaching out to a couples sex therapist like myself.
Some feelings may include frustration, anxiety, stress, sadness. You may start to ask yourself “What is wrong with me?” “Is my partner no longer attracted to me?” or “Did I do something wrong?” The questions and feelings you are having are valid. Knowing more about the effects that alcohol has on your body is helpful moving forward!
Ladies, What Happens to You?
Depending on your level of tolerance, your body may respond in different ways with each drink.
Here are some things to keep in mind with how alcohol may influence your bodies response during sex:
- Orgasms! You may be a person who reaches orgasm quite fast. Or, it may be more difficult for you. Either way, it is important to know that alcohol may have an impact on your ability to reach an orgasm. Alcohol can numb the sensations that you usually feel.
- Have you ever noticed that you become dehydrated when you are consuming alcohol? This not only can lead to a headache the next morning, but it can also have an impact on lubrication. Vaginal dryness may occur.
- Sexual arousal may increase after a couple of glasses of wine which brings us back to moderation is key! You may be feeling that you are ready to go but your body may be having a different experience.
- Decision making! After you reach a certain limit, you may not make the same decisions you would in your sober state of mind.
Gentlemen, you’re up!
There are similarities with how alcohol can affect men and women during sex. Yet, there are also some differences! We want you to know what can happen for you when you have a few (or more) drinks before having sex.
- Dehydration happens for you too! You may experience the same headache as your partner the next day. Or, experience difficulty in getting an erection during sex.
- Alcohol can have an impact on your sexual arousal and your ability to achieve orgasm.
- Delayed ejaculation may occur. This means that it may take you longer than 30 minutes to ejaculate. Or, may prevent ejaculation and orgasm altogether.
- And yes, your decision-making becomes impaired too. It may take a bit longer for you to reach this point. This can depend on your body weight and tolerance, although it is important to be aware of.
Let’s talk Consent
It would be irresponsible to not bring attention to consent when writing this blog. Consent is an agreement and or permission to engage in any sexual activity, and when I say any, I mean any!
This includes kissing, touching, oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex. As I mentioned above, your decision-making and judgment can become skewed with alcohol. That is not an excuse to act without consent. Here are some important things to remember about consent:
- Anyone can change their mind about what they want to engage in at any time, check-in with one another.
- It’s always someone’s choice to give consent without feeling pressured.
- You and your partner should both be aware of what is going to happen for full consent to be given.
- Receiving consent, for one thing, does not mean that consent is given for all things.
- If you are not sure if you have given or received consent, that most likely means that you haven’t.
If you’ve been in sexual situations where you did not give consent or were too intoxicated to give consent and feel distressed afterward, you may be experiencing sexual trauma. It’s important to note that sexual trauma may or may not look like the violent rapes or assaults that are directed in the media. If you think you may have or know you have experienced sexual trauma, reach out to a mental health professional for support. The effects of sexual trauma and PTSD can severely impact your ability to live your life and move forward.
Did you know, April is Alcohol Awareness Month?
Alcohol Awareness Month tackles the stigma of alcoholism. After reading this blog, you or your partner might be questioning if you are unable to moderate. We want you to know that there is help! Alcohol has several effects on our bodies, minds, and sex life. If you feel that alcohol has had an impact on you and your sex life in a negative way, there is help. Remember, moderation is key!
Begin Sex Therapy in Cincinnati, OH
Alcohol use and sex can lead to many questions as well as concerns. You can meet with a couples sex therapist from our Cincinnati, OH-based therapy practice that can help you care for yourself. Contact a caring therapist for info on how we can help support you! To start your therapy journey, follow these steps:
1. Contact Emma Schmidt and Associates to request a free Counseling consultation.
2. Meet with a skilled couples sex therapist for a free consultation appointment
3. Begin counseling and begin your journey towards mental wellness, health, and happiness.
Other Services Offered at Emma Schmidt and Associates:
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The therapists at our Cincinnati, OH-based therapy practice are skilled in relationship and couples sex therapy. However, that’s not the only mental health service they offer. We treat general mental health and relationship concerns. We offer anxiety treatment, depression treatment, trauma and PTSD treatment, EMDR, and relationship and couples therapy. In addition to offering online therapy in Ohio, we also offer online therapy in Kentucky and online therapy in Indiana. Contact our office to learn more about the many ways our team of skilled clinicians can help you thrive.