Alcohol side effects: Excessive drinking can lead to vaginal dryness

Increasing stress levels are reportedly driving more women to find refuge in the highs of alcohol, according to a recent survey. To some women, drowning in the alcohol abyss may seem like one way to deal with emotional issues or peer pressure. To many, alcohol consumption may seem like a perfect kick for a passionate and steamy sex session with their partner. But sorry to make the fizz go down – alcohol and sex drive don’t always make the best cocktail. You may feel the high, but vaginal dryness can lead to a dampener! That’s one of the alcohol side effects you should know about.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women’s bodies absorb alcohol differently than men. Even their metabolism is different. It is reported that women can have higher blood alcohol levels as compared to men even when they consume the same amount of drinks. This increases their susceptibility to short-term and long-term side effects of alcohol.

From liver and heart problems to increasing the risk of breast cancer, obesity, fertility, sleep and energy issues – alcohol side effects are many, especially if there is dependence.

How does alcohol affect a woman sexually?

It is widely believed that alcohol consumption increases sexual arousal and boosts libido. Multiple studies cited by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) offer mixed views. Some studies found a positive link between the amount of alcohol consumed and the likelihood of sex.

In contrast to that, heavy drinking or alcohol dependence, can also lead to issues such as lack of sexual interest, decreased sexual arousal and inability to achieve orgasm.

sex drive
Booze may increase your desire for sex. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Health Shots reached out to Dr Lavanya Kiran, Senior Consultant, Obstetrician and Gynecologist and Reproductive Medicine at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru, Electronic City, to know more.

Blaming pop culture for perpetuating this misconstrued notion, Dr Kiran says, “If you’re thinking that by consuming alcohol just before you plan to meet your partner, you can increase your sex drive, you should know the facts associated with alcohol and sexual arousal.”

Yes, alcohol can help you overcome sexual inhibitions or anxieties, but remember it can lead into vaginal dryness in women. Even though women may feel a heightened sense of sex drive, when the vagina doesn’t self-lubricate, it can douse the fire.

Why does alcohol affect sex drive?

The expert tells us that it is because the alcohol acts by depressing the central nervous system, which is important for sexual arousal and orgasm.

“When people consume alcohol, it can lead into dehydration as well. This directly affects one’s sexual arousal or libido as it needs a certain amount of blood to bring oxygen and greater sensation to the genitals,” adds Dr Kiran.

Dehydration, in turn, leads to fatigue, headaches and vaginal dryness, thus causing lesser sexual arousal. Perhaps, you should try some other drinks to increase sex drive!

When it comes to men, alcohol can even cause erection and ejaculation difficulties in men. These can be made worse by dehydration.

dry vagina
Vaginal dryness makes sex less pleasurable and can delay orgasm. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The last word

Be it for your sexual health or overall well-being, it is in your best interest to avoid regular and excessive consumption of alcohol. It can impact your social, psychological and physiological behaviour in different ways.

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