Dutch courage is a popular phrase. Alcohol lifts your inhibitions, which is why it’s often described (and used) as a social lubricant. In small amounts, it can help you loosen up and ditch your usual shyness.
The trouble is ‘small’ is relative. Many of us don’t realise we’ve crossed the line until we do. And this level of drunkenness can affect sexual performance in two ways. One, your behaviour could put off potential partners. Two, it can actually result in early ejaculation or even complete erectile dysfunction.
The way your body and personality responds to alcohol is likely to have a direct correlation to your chances of sexual success. Other factors that don’t get much attention are the diuretic and depressant effects of alcohol. It can make you bold enough to approach potential partners. But as the night wears on, it can lower your mood and even limit your libido. As for the diuretic element, your diminished body fluids can cause intense headaches and we all know headaches and sex don’t mix. (Though some studies suggest if you push through the pain and have sex anyway, its pain-relieving benefits can cure your migraine.)
Even if your erections survive your drinking, your relationship might not. Some of the things you do while drunk could harm your partner emotionally and physically. You might say mean, hurtful things you’d never mention while sober. All this puts a wedge in your intimacy, and when they’re feeling distant from you, sex will be the last thing on their minds.
When your partner has pulled away from you emotionally, they may allow sex to happen, but they won’t be actively involved, and that negatively influences their performance. It’s the same thing with drugs. Some types will leave you feeling sluggish and unfocused, which means your brain, body, and sexual organs can’t carry out the complex chain reaction that leads to good sex and orgasms. Drugs can also alter your mental state, creating an aversion to sex.
It’s not just illicit drugs. Sometimes, regulated prescriptions can affect performance too. Many pill bottles list drowsiness and loss of libido as side effects. So if you must use those medicines, talk to your doctor about contra-indications, alternative remedies, or additional options that might counteract their impact on your sex life.