Drinking Alcohol Could Damage Your Sex Life. Here's Why

There may be little harm in getting tipsy when you're looking for some action. Maybe it makes you feel a bit uninhibited or even more assertive. But beyond the occasional wine-enhanced sexcapade, is downing more than a few drinks at any one time a bad thing?

It could be. For women, drinking alcohol causes a rise in testosterone levels, which increases sexual desire (per Healthline). While enhanced desire may be a benefit with just the right amount of alcohol, drinking too much may put the brakes on your body's physiological response to stimulation. You may think you're ready to go, but your genitals might not get the message. Multiple studies that examined the effect alcohol dosages had on women's sexual response found that with a higher intake of booze, genital arousal was reduced.

Drinking may also interfere with the natural lubrication the vagina produces when a woman is excited, leading to uncomfortable or even painful intercourse, as well as make it more difficult for a woman to achieve an orgasm. 

But the reduced ability to enjoy sex won't prevent a woman under the influence from making bad decisions from a safety standpoint, such as not insisting on a condom or having sex with an inappropriate person (per Psychology Today). There's still the factor of risk-taking while drunk. One study found that in sexually charged situations, even being just moderately intoxicated was associated with a willingness to have risky, unprotected sex with a new, casual partner.

This goes for men as well

Alcohol may even be harder on men. Well, more precisely, it may make it harder for a man to get hard. Drinking too much decreases blood flow to the penis while it increases the secretion of a hormone linked to erectile dysfunction.

Just like in women, the right amount of alcohol enhances sexual desire in men — and also produces "beer goggles." It's not a myth that alcohol makes people around you appear more attractive. One study showed that moderately attractive and unattractive faces were significantly better looking when the beholder had consumed alcohol.

A drink or two may relax a man and lower his inhibitions. Having more than that, however, may lead to riskier behavior. In fact, studies show that when intoxicated, men are more likely than women to take sexual risks.

Finally, both genders are in danger of being convinced or forced to participate in unwanted sexual activities when drunk, as alcohol impairs one's judgment and may even make it difficult to communicate. Consent is essential to a satisfying sexual encounter and when either party is overly intoxicated, the ability to consent is null and void.