Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction: The Facts

Of course, alcohol can often be the encouragement we need to jump into bed, but it can also affect your sexual performance when you get there.

That’s right, we’re talking about whiskey dick. If you’ve ever had a few too many and been unable to get it up, you’ll be well acquainted with erectile dysfunction.

Although ED typically affects men in midlife, there are many factors that cause erectile issues with younger men, too. While alcohol can be a great boost of confidence for men of all ages, it can actually have the opposite effect as your blood alcohol levels increase.

Consuming too much alcohol can lower your mood, kill your sex drive and make getting it up very difficult.

Drinking heavily can affect more than your sex life, causing damage to your liver long term. Your liver can only break down a certain amount of alcohol per hour. This equals around one standard-sized drink. This in turn will impact your organs – including your erection.

But don’t worry, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know regarding alcohol and erectile dysfunction, plus ways to prevent and reverse ED.

What impact does alcohol have on erectile dysfunction?

It’s pretty common for men to struggle to get an erection after a few too many. But heavy drinking long-term can do more than the odd case of whiskey dick. We take a look at the short and long-term effects of alcohol consumption.

Temporary erectile issues (whiskey dick)

Research has shown that alcohol impacts your brain and your ability to gain an erection. While a little booze can help give you a boost of self-confidence to get to the bedroom, achieving an erection can be a whole new challenge.

Without delivering a lecture on biology, we all know that a healthy blood flow is needed to gain an erection. When you’re knocking back the booze pre-sex, that blood flow is decreased. For some men, too much alcohol and a drunken fumble can result in less intense orgasms, or the inability to reach climax at all.

Sorry guys, whiskey dick exists.

Also Read: How To Maintain And Erection

The long-terms effects of alcohol on ED

If you drink heavily long-term, alcohol can have a huge impact on your general health – erections included. While the odd night of whiskey dick after a few too many may feel like no big deal, if you drink heavily long-term, it can result in ongoing ED.

One study showed that men who rely on alcohol consumption had between 60 and 70% chance of suffering from erectile issues. Typically these may be erectile dysfunction, delivering too early and a lack of sex drive.

Relationship troubles

Although erectile issues may cause relationship troubles, it is often down to a lack of communication. However, alcohol consumption beyond moderation can frequently impact a relationship even more.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, these can include:

  • Infidelity
  • Conflict
  • Economic insecurity
  • Divorce

Socially smoking and ED issues

Many men claim to only smoke while drinking alcohol, but unfortunately, it can still increase your chances of erectile dysfunction. If you smoke usually, it can impact your body in a number of ways. For men under 40, smoking is considered the biggest cause of erectile issues.

If you enjoy more than the odd couple of cigarettes, studies have shown that men who smoke more than 10 a day are at increased risk of ED.

STDs and alcohol consumption

Despite alcohol giving you a boost of confidence in the bedroom, it can also lead to further risks. Typically, we’re all a little more daring after a few too many and sex is no different.

Studies have shown that almost 50% of unplanned sex sessions are fuelled by alcohol, with 60% of STD transmission happening when alcohol is involved.

Cutting back on alcohol

While drinking alcohol in moderation will not sabotage your sex life, if you often overdo it it may be time to cut back. Some studies have shown that when consumed in moderation, alcohol can actually be good for your heart and circulation.

However, it is important to find the right balance to ensure your sex life doesn’t take a hit.

If you drink frequently and start to notice premature ejaculation, a lack of sex drive or troubles getting hard, you may need to reevaluate your alcohol intake.

Is erectile dysfunction preventable?

Although ED can be extremely common amongst men midlife, there are ways to help prevent and even reverse erectile issues.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to avoid the dreaded whiskey dick.

Also Read: Can What You Eat Affect How You Perform In Bed?

Lifestyle factors

There are elements of your lifestyle that can have a positive impact on your erectile function.

In fact, one study of Australian men between the ages of 35 and 80 showed that a third experienced erectile issues over a five-year period. However, the same study showed improvements in 29% of participants after lifestyle factors were improved.

Some of which are relatively simple to implement, so let’s take a look at how lifestyle factors can improve any erectile issues.

Improving heart health

Heart health is incredibly important for many reasons, and we’re not just talking about your erections. However, poor heart health can impact blood flow, leading to erectile issues.

One study in 2004 showed that heart disease risk factors predicted ED issues in future. But when it comes to your heart health, there are four key areas worth paying attention to.

  • Alcohol. Although we’ve already covered the potential for whiskey dick and the long-term effects of alcohol, it can also impact your heart health too.
  • Smoking. Quitting smoking – whether you’re a social smoker or full time smoker can help prevent ED.
  • Weight. Of course, losing weight can benefit your health in many ways, but one big factor is your heart’s health. One study also showed that overweight men improved ED issues by shedding a few pounds.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise can improve your overall health, mental health and heart, too. When you combine regular exercise with a healthy diet, ED can be improved significantly.

Plenty of sleep

A good night’s rest can do more for you than improve your mood. Plenty of sleep can help you feel on top of your game in the bedroom, too.

If you suffer with interrupted sleep, or sleep apnea, studies have shown that a CPAP breathing machine can help improve your sleep and ED.

Keep your testosterone levels topped up

A common cause for erectile issues can be low testosterone levels. But you needn’t worry, as there are some natural ways to help improve your T levels, including:

  • By losing weight
  • Reducing stress
  • Regular exercise

Consider changing your bike seat

If you like to cycle often, it may be worth taking a look at your bike seat! Some bike seats can put pressure on your nether regions, causing havoc with your erections. Ensure your seat is as comfortable as it can be, to avoid any erectile issues.

Have sex more regularly

Having sex more often has been shown to reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction! Try jumping in the sack more often (minus the alcohol) to help conquer any erectile issues.

Psychological factors

Alongside physical factors such as exercise, your weight and alcohol consumption, psychological factors can also affect your performance in the bedroom.

These include:

Maintaining healthy relationships

Communication with your partner is key when it comes to tackling any issues in the bedroom. It’s always best to talk about the elephant in the room, despite the initial difficulties to face the subject. However, by taking things slow with your partner, you can start to overcome ED and performance anxiety.

Mental health

Anxiety and depression can have a huge impact on your performance in the bedroom. The thought of sex alone can scare a potential erection away, when it needn’t be that way!

To help clear your mind, consider meditation, yoga and regular exercise to get those endorphins flowing. There are plenty of natural remedies to help overcome a certain level of anxiety, but if you need further help it’s always advised to consult a medical professional.

While medication is of course available for both anxiety and depression, some medications can have side effects on sexual function.

Medical concerns

Some medical problems can impact erectile function and be difficult to reverse, such as:

  • Low blood flow
  • Nerve damage
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peyronie’s disease

While low blood flow can be improved, nerve damage – especially in cases where prostate glands have been removed – can be difficult to overcome. In this instance, ED cannot be prevented entirely, with many men turning to ED medications.


If you’ve recently started or changed medication, erectile dysfunction can potentially be a common side effect. This is often the case in certain antidepressants.

If you’ve noticed changes in your sex drive and sexual function, speak to your GP for alternative medications.


If you’re experiencing problems in the bedroom, don’t worry – it’s more common than you think! Although we’ve focused on alcohol consumption in the first half of this article, it may be worth paying attention to various lifestyle factors that can impact your erections.

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