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Many people believe that alcohol can act as an aphrodisiac of sorts, and while a few drinks can grease the wheels of social interaction, and maybe provide a bit of ‘dutch courage’, does it have any beneficial effects on your sex life?

Cosmopolitan has explored how alcohol can affect everything from erectile dysfunction to consent, and we wanted to have a look at some of the facts and myths about alcohol and sex.

Fact: Alcohol Increases Sexual Desire

There have been studies that have shown that excessive amounts of alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in testosterone in women, which can result in increased sexual desire.

However, a study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior has suggested that excessive boozing can have a negative effect on the psychological health of women, and intoxication can delay orgasms, and even preclude them.

Myth: Alcohol Affects Everyone The Same Way

Male and female bodies process alcohol differently. Female bodies generally contain less water and the enzymes that break down alcohol. Females have a higher proportion of body fat, and experience changes in their hormones which can affect metabolism.

Fact: High Alcohol Consumption Causes Erectile Dysfunction

Chronic heavy use of alcohol has been linked to long-term erectile dysfunction (ED). Studies have shown that men who have an alcohol dependency have a 60 to 70 per cent chance of suffering from ED, as well as other sexual problems including premature or delayed ejaculation and loss of sexual desire over time.

Myth: People Appear More Attractive After Booze

Studies have been conducted on the effect of alcohol and the fabled ‘beer goggles’, the term used to describe the influence of alcohol on a person’s visual perception. However, the results are rather mixed, with some showing there is an increase in apparent attractiveness, and others showing otherwise.

Fact: Overconsumption Can Increase The Chances Of Health Risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol can lead to the development of many chronic diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver damage, and digestive issues. It can also worsen the immune system, increase your risk of developing cancer, anxiety and depression.

Myth: Drinking Can Improve Libido

A drink or two might help give you a confidence boost during sexual activities, but being drunk will generally have a detrimental effect on your libido. Drinking excessively over an extended period will negatively affect your libido and fertility, and excessive alcohol can affect the ability in men to achieve and maintain an erection.

If you’re looking to limit your alcohol intake, here are some tips.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol as much as you can. If you are unable to stop, set yourself a drink limit and stick to it
  • Seek personal and professional support. Taking help from someone can help encourage you to quit
  • Got booze in your house? If you know you can’t resist yourself, then get rid of the bottles immediately
  • If you are used to drinking at a certain time, try involving yourself in a different activity to create a distraction
  • Stay hydrated as alcohol can dehydrate you and make you more susceptible to illnesses

Quitting alcohol can be stressful, so remember to be kind to yourself. It can be even more difficult in case you turn to it when you are emotionally drained. It is best to seek help and indulge in self-care habits that help you quit.

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