Alcohol and sexual problems
Alcohol can cause sexual problems in both men and women, and also lead to increased risky behaviour.
Temporary impotence – or ‘brewer’s droop’ – after a bout of drinking, is a common problem experienced by men. Long-term heavy drinking in men may lead to loss of libido and potency, shrinking of the testes, reduction in the size of the penis, reduced sperm formation, loss of pubic and body hair, and, as a complication of cirrhosis, enlargement of the breasts.
Long-term heavy alcohol-misuse in women may result in the failure to ovulate and general menstrual problems, the shrinking of the breasts and sexual organs, and body fat being redistributed into a male pattern.
Studies have shown that the consumption of alcohol is a factor in risk-taking behaviour. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, meaning we take greater risks, including having regretted and unprotected sex. Such behaviour can lead to the contraction of sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, gonorrhoea and syphilis.
Find out more about how alcohol can affect your health.