Dear Dr. G,
I read with interest your Christmas Article highlighting mixing booze with sex can be advantageous in moderation.
Of course, with the arrival of Chinese New Year so soon after the year-end festivity, indeed it is a season to be jolly, hopefully inside and outside the bedroom.
My wife and I have been attending many festivity celebrations in recent weeks.
From personal experience, we would like to share with Dr. G the contradicting impact of alcohol on our sex lives.
For myself, instead of enjoying reduced inhibition and risk taking adventures between the sheets, the influence of alcohol has been rather negative as it gets me disinterested in sex all together.
On the other hand, my wife feels the influence of alcohol had heightened her libido significantly.
I would like to put Dr. G on the spot on the true influence of booze on sex.
Are men and women response differently to alcohol when it comes to sex?
What are the exact physiological responses of alcohol on sex?
I am really confused, are the Yam Seng outings helping or hindering our performances?
On that note, I guess it is a good opportunity to wish Dr. G and all the readers Yam Seng and Gong Xi Fa Cai, with or without actions in the bedroom.
Yam Seng Meng Seng
Physiologists and clinicians have extensively studied the effect of alcohol and sexual behaviour over many decades. There is a contradicting impact of alcohol on sex as it is a balance between suppressive sexual physiology and increase desire for sex, due to psychological disinhibition. Alcohol is a depressant that induces bodily system to slow down. The impacts of such physiological depression are often associated with elation and happiness. On the contrary, the feeling of depression and anger can also emerge due to excessive consumption. The mixture of happiness and frustration often lead to loss of judgment, coordination and reduced inhibition, that can lead to an increase in sexual behaviour.
The influence of alcohol on sex is different between men and women. Both acute chronic consumption of alcohol has been linked to the reduction of testosterone production in men. This is caused by the alteration of testosterone metabolism ratio in the liver and testes. As testosterone is critical for sexual arousal and libido, alcohol is well recognized to have a deleterious impact on male sexual performance.
The influence of alcohol on different parameters of male sexual performance has been studied in detailed. Excessive alcohol consumption, to the level of intoxication, renders significant degradation in male masturbatory effectiveness (MME), which is the measurement of sexual performance parameters. The increase in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is positively correlated with ejaculation latency (which is good news for men with premature ejaculation). However, the intoxication is also linked to decrease sexual arousal, decrease erectile rigidity, depressed intensity of orgasm and difficulty in attaining orgasm in men.
The impacts of alcohol on women’s sexual responses are somewhat different. Studies revealed acute alcohol consumption tends to cause increased levels of testosterone and estradiol in women. Since testosterone determines the intensity of libido in women, this is associated with heightened interests in sex for women. In addition, as women have a higher percentage of bodily fat and less water, alcohol has a quicker and more heightened impact. Lastly, female bodies take one-third longer to metabolism and eliminate alcohol than men; hence the positive impact of alcohol on sexual physiology may linger on.
The sexual behaviour in women under the influence of alcohol is also markedly different. The increase in Blood Alcohol Level is associated with prolonged orgasmic latency and enhanced vaginal blood volume. This is often translated to greater sexual arousal and the sensation of pleasure during orgasm. Similarly to men, alcohol can have the psychological impact of diminished inhibition; resulting men women to feel more relaxed and more sexually inclined.
The differences in physiological composite undoubtedly play a role in the process of metabolism in men and women. On the hand, psychological and cultural upbringings also display significant gender differences in sexual response under the influence of alcohol. To harness the elation of alcohol consumption, without crossing the line of intoxication, may be different for different genders and individuals. Knowing one's limit and never go beyond excessiveness is often the key. As famously outlined by the renowned Classical Ancient Athenian Philosopher, Plato: “The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction!” When Dr. G is put on the spot to address the issues of gender differences in sexual responses to Yam Seng, his view is men just have to admit to the fact that women have better alcohol tolerance and positive sexual influence on sex. Perhaps when it comes to alcohol and sex, men just have to hold back and let the women have more Yam Seng. Only then, both can move in the right direction to harness alcohol creating fireworks between the sheets! On that note, Yam Seng and have a great CNY for all!
Dr George Lee is a consultant Urologist and Clinical Associate Professor whose professional interest is in men’s health. The column “Ask Dr G” is a forum to help men debunk the myths and taboos on men’s issues that may be too “hard” to mention. You can send him questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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