Does alcohol help or hinder in the bedroom? [Sex after sixty]

Drinking alcohol and having sex may have worked for us many years ago but I hasten to suggest that it doesn’t work as well anymore especially for males over sixty. The effects of drinking alcohol are balanced between suppressing sexual physiology that in turn decreases sexual activity or suppressing psychological inhibitions that in turn can increase our desire for sex.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and causes the body’s systems to slow down; it can also dehydrate the body. The effects of alcohol can be very different, for some immense elation and happiness and for others anger, depression and often even violence. For most our ability to make balance decisions and retain normal behaviour patterns is also dramatically affected. One of the most significant affect after drinking alcohol is a person ability to become uninhibited, this is why many people do things under the influence that they would never do without having consumed three to four glasses of alcohol and they also take many more risks.


Empty wine bottles


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It has been said alcohol is a social lubricant and people can overcome inhibitions and feelings of inadequacy, this often leads to them saying things in social situations or to their partners they would not normally say. Studies have shown that alcohol can increase the perception of attractiveness for both men and women. They can start seeing others as much more desirable to them that they really would be if they were sober.

Alcohol will often make a person feel more romantic and help them to relax and feel much more friendly. This can lead to many taking part in sexual activities that they may not be involved in without the influence of the alcohol. Studies have also shown that nearly 50% of males and 41% of females reported having consumed alcohol prior to having sex, and 74% of males and 88% of females rarely worry about the risk of STI’s or STD’s. Alcohol can even place a person more at risk for picking up an infection because alcohol can impair a person’s immune system and the ability to fight off an infection.

Many people who are over sixty are also often on a variety of medications many of which don’t mix well with alcohol. Whether it is a prescription drug or an over the counter drug it generally must travel through the bloodstream where it then produces some change in an organ or tissue and finally metabolised by enzymes. Alcohol also travels through the bloodstream acting on the brain causing intoxication and is finally metabolised and eliminated mainly by the liver. Alcohol can influence the effectiveness of a drug and inhibit its metabolising by competing with the same set of metabolising enzymes. This interaction can increase a patient’s risk of experiencing harmful side effect from the drug. Chronic alcohol consumption can often transform some drugs into toxic chemicals that can damage the liver and other organs, and to add to the complexity some drugs can affect the metabolism of alcohol.

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In Australia alcohol is a significant contributor to premature death among older Australians with almost 600 aged 65-75 dying every year from injury or disease caused by drinking above the NHRMC guidelines, and a further 6,500 are hospitalised annually. Excess alcohol consumption contributes to a huge range of preventable diseases including liver cancer, stroke, breast cancer, and mouth and throat cancer. The total annual cost of alcohol related harm in Australia is $36 billion.

The main effects of alcohol on sexual behaviour of Men:

Alcohol consumption has been shown to inhibit testosterone production that is critical for libido and physical arousal. For most older men depending on the amount of alcohol they have consumed before sex they can have problems with decreased penis engorgement (hardness), low orgasmic intensity, difficulty with ejaculation or delayed ejaculation, reduced sexual desire and low overall satisfaction and pleasure.

The main effect of alcohol on sexual behaviour of Women:

For many women there is a decreased ability to orgasm with alcohol. For women alcohol can have a much quicker and more severe impact with much less volume that a man which can lead to them not always having control over their behaviour.

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The answer as usual is moderation. One drink can be a social advantage and help people overcome their sexual inhibitions, but add a few more drinks and the body starts to react and the night can be spoilt and hinder any plans for activity later in the bedroom especially for men.

Let me know about your experiences. xxx Carole L.


Do you think a few drinks help things along or cause disappointment? 

If you have a serious drinking problem and need help please go to 

If you would like me to cover any particular topic in this column please email me at: [email protected]

online dating for over 60s-starts at sixty
Carole Lethbridge is the author of “Online Dating After Sixty: One woman’s journey of love, lust and losers”. She has been both married and single over the last few decades and she has done her own research, gathering extensive data on relationships between females and males. Online Dating After Sixty is available for purchase for $21.50 via Booktopia.