alcohol causes erectile dysfunction

Alcohol can have nasty effects on Singaporeans’ ability to get an erection. For some, the effects are temporary after having drinks, but for frequent drinkers, their alcohol-induced erectile dysfunction can be chronic.

It might seem only natural to take a lady to a bar for some nice cocktails to wind down a hectic evening. The spirited environment of bars and clubs around town can set the mood for the evening.

But beware!

Singaporeans who have issues getting an erection might be worsening their ED by drinking alcohol before sex.

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough and for an adequate time to perform sexual activity. The erection of a penis is a complex process involving multiple systems; the brain, nerves, hormones, and blood vessels.

There are two types of alcohol-included erectile dysfunction: a temporary one and a chronic one caused by long-term imbibing of alcohol.

A small amount of alcohol intake may decrease performance anxiety before sex. However, regular intake of two or more drinks in a single sitting before sex not only decreases sex drive but also causes erectile dysfunction.

Alcohol and the body

Alcohol consumption has harmful effects on the body, including the reproductive system. Uncontrolled alcohol intake before sex can make it difficult to get or keep an erection. A cross-sectional study suggests chronic and long-term alcohol consumption can lead to permanent erectile dysfunction, making it difficult to erect a penis.

According to US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol consumption above two drinks makes it difficult for the liver to metabolise and remove from the body. Ultimately, the toxins circulate in the blood and build up in different organs, including sex organs, and their functioning is compromised.

In fact, if you drank alcohol before slept, you might end up with insomnia.

Why do people drink alcohol before sex?

People consume alcohol to increase their libido, have a passionate sexual experience, and avoid performance anxiety. A key reason why people drink alcohol before bed involves the belief that they will perform better in these areas:

To avoid performance anxiety

Globally hundreds and thousands of people face performance anxiety before sex. An underlying fear of not performing well in bed can cause mental stress in individuals. So, many people prefer pre-sex alcohol consumption to get rid of that fear and anxiety and be calm mentally and physically.

Performance anxiety is a problem that has an alternative solution.

To perform better in bed

Some people face decreased libido and a lack of sexual sensitivity. A small amount of alcohol before sex is thought to increase libido. So, drinking alcohol is thought to increase sexual pleasure and a better sex experience. A study suggests a small amount of alcohol intake increases sex drive in women but not men. Although this concept is controversial, multiple studies confirm that alcohol may decrease the level of circulating testosterone in males.

To overcome mental inhibitions

Similarly, people with mental inhibitions like shame, fear, anxieties and stigma find it easy to drink alcohol and have sex. 

How alcohol affects your ability to get an erection?

Overindulging in alcohol leads to alcohol-induced erectile dysfunction that may be temporary, in which a person either is unable to get an erection or gets an erection that is weaker than usual. Alcohol affects sexual activity in the following ways.

Depressed Central Nervous System (CNS):

Alcohol consumption leads to decreased sensitivity of the penis. It affects the transmission between the brain and the penis. A 2018 study confirms that drinking alcohol depresses your neurotransmitters and hormones involved in sex drive.

Diuretic effects:

Alcohol has diuretic effects, which increase the frequency of urination. Frequent urination leads to dehydration and decreased bodily fluids, affecting blood circulation toward sex organs. Dehydration triggers the body’s angiotensin hormone, which decreases blood flow toward the penis, leading to erectile dysfunction.

Decreased sex hormones:

Alcohol drinking before sex may alter the level of sex hormones in the body. A study suggests that alcohol consumption leads to decreased levels of testosterone in the body, decreasing the libido in men.

Long-term Effects of alcohol on erectile dysfunction:

A regular alcohol addict may experience negative effects on health for good. A sudden intake of alcohol may cause temporary erectile dysfunction, which is corrected automatically as the effects of alcohol subsides.

However, long-term alcohol addiction may cause permanent erectile dysfunction. Long-term effects are manifested in two ways.

1: Down-regulation of the autonomic nervous system

Chronic alcohol addiction to heavy alcohol consumption badly affects your autonomic nervous system, which controls autonomic function in the body, including unconscious activities. The most common side-effect of chronic addiction to alcohol is erectile dysfunction, which may be long-term.

2: Damaged blood vessels

Mild alcohol consumption does not lead to cardiovascular disease. However, heavy alcohol intake for a long period may lead to erectile dysfunction caused by damaged blood vessels and cardiomyopathy. A study suggests that alcohol consumption leads to damaged blood vessels and high blood pressure, a risk factor for sexual dysfunctions.

Abnormal blood pressure leads to decreased blood circulation toward the penis, making it difficult to erect the penis adequately.

Other side-effects on sexual health

Alcohol not only contributes to erectile dysfunction but also has some other negative effects on sexual health as:

  • Delayed ejaculation or orgasm
  • Low sex drive
  • Vaginal dryness in women
  • Shrinkage of penis


Alcohol intake leads to erectile dysfunction through altered neurotransmitter activity in the brain, decreased hormonal levels, and damaged blood vessels.

It’s therefore important to ensure that you aren’t drinking too much alcohol as it can lead to disruption to your sexual activity, particularly if you drink frequently over a long period.

If you have erectile dysfunction, there are many ways to solve it including different clinics, methods and solutions.


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