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Alcohol & drugs

Everyone knows too much booze and drugs affect your sexual health and wellbeing.

Unfortunately, simple cases of 'brewer's droop' and not being able to reach orgasm while on drink or drugs are just the tip of the iceberg.

Unprotected sex

Alcohol and drugs lower our inhibitions. This means we could take more risks in our behaviour, including having sex when we might otherwise not. When we do, having consumed alcohol means we might not even think about using a condom.

Playing it safe

If we do decide to try and use a condom, being drunk or high means that we're more likely to put it on wrong or damage it. They get weakened and torn by fingernails, fail to get unrolled properly and we can forget to squeeze the air out of the teat first. All of these things can cause condoms to break, burst or slip off during sex.

Even when we can get them on properly, drink numbs sensation in both men and women. Prolonged use of a condom can also cause it to fail.

Women who have sex with women should remember to get out the dental dams, use fresh condoms when you swap over if using any toys, and wash your hands before touching your genitals if you've been touching your partner's and vice versa.

Unwanted sex & regret 

Alcohol and drugs impair our judgement and could lead to doing something we'll regret the next day. Don't put yourself at risk of ruining a good friendship or waking up next to a total stranger unable to remember what happened.


 Rape and sexual abuse is NEVER the victims fault, but getting drunk can make you more vunerable to abuse and make it more likely you will get into a dangerous situation where you could come to harm.

Read more about sex and the law.

Poor sexual performance

Alcohol and drugs like cocaine, heroin and sedatives numb the nerve cells in our sex organs. This can make it very difficult to reach orgasm. They can also make us clumsier and that can result in unsatisfying sex. And of course, it can also stop guys from getting and keeping an erection and stop women from producing enough natural lubrication for safe, pain-free sex.

Drinking too much is also linked with depression, which can completely wipe out sexual desire.


Drinking alcohol and using many street drugs lowers sperm counts in men and can make it more difficult for women to get pregnant. Young women who drink heavily can find that their periods stop altogether.

Shrunken genitals

In both men and women, excessive drinking over prolonged periods can shrink external genitals! You learn something new every day, eh?

Relationship problems

In the end, good sex comes with healthy, loving relationships. If one or both of you regularly drinks too much or gets high, the stress that this will put on your relationship will start to tell in the bedroom as well as elsewhere.

The fact is that drink and many drugs make us emotionally less sensitive as well as physically clumsy. Added to that, time spent boozing and using drugs and recovering from their after-effects will probably mean less time doing other, more positive things together, like talking and sharing feelings.

Want more information?

For more advice and information of the effects of alcohol and drugs on sex and relationships, whether you're affected by your own or someone else's misuse visit

Want to chat to someone?

If you need help now about an alcohol related issue or you just want to chat to someone about your drinking please contact Drinkline Helpline: 0800 7 314 314 or visit the Drinksmarter website.


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