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Expert Reveals the Impact of Alcohol and Drugs on Your Libido

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It’s commonly known that alcohol and illicit drugs weaken the immune system and contribute to health implications such as liver disease, high blood pressure, and insomnia. But many people don’t realise that they can have a severe effect on sexual health as well.

In the UK alone, Google searches for “low libido” have increased by 525% over the past month, proving that Brits are concerned by their low desire for sex.

With this in mind, Martin Preston, founder and chief executive at private rehab clinic, Delamere, has shared his insight on the health implications of excessive alcohol and drug use on your libido.

How does alcohol affect your sex drive?

While a drink or two can boost your arousal and increase confidence during sex, both alcohol and recreational drug abuse can induce sexual dysfunction. Alcohol interferes with your body’s ability to feel sexual stimulation, as, over time, drinking can cause a decrease in testosterone, serotonin and dopamine levels, which results in a decreased sexual desire.

As alcohol is a depressant, it can often impact an individual’s emotional state, leading to a change in emotions. This, in turn, can lower the libido, causing a loss of erections and preventing the user’s ability to stay aroused or reach an orgasm.

Alcohol can cause erectile dysfunction, as the alcohol can interfere with the messengers within the brain that tell the genitalia to fill with blood.

Long-term abuse of alcohol can result in nerve damage in the female clitoris and male penis. This will impact arousal and the ability to achieve an orgasm. Reducing your intake of alcohol, or cutting it out altogether, will help to improve your sexual health and well-being.

Dehydration is a common side effect of consuming alcohol, and it can cause fatigue, migraines and vaginal dryness. With less liquid in the body, it makes it difficult for the vagina to self-lubricate, and sexual performance is likely to be a struggle and will often cause pain.

What impact do drugs have on your sex drive?

Cocaine and other stimulant drugs can increase short-term sex drive; however, prolonged and untreated drug abuse is linked to a lower libido. Like alcohol, those who abuse drugs can form sexual dysfunction issues, like the inability to orgasm or sustain erectile dysfunction.

Cocaine abuse, in particular, can disrupt a woman’s ovulation cycle, while in men, it can result in a reduced sperm count and low sperm motility. Men who abuse cocaine are likely to experience permanent damage to the cells that produce sperm.

Additionally, cocaine users will often find it difficult to get erect; this is because the drug restricts the blood flow to the male genitalia. Cocaine abuse in women can affect the menstrual cycle, resulting in a hormonal imbalance. A prolactin hormone is produced when cocaine is consumed and can often prevent ovulation and menstrual cycles.

Cannabis can also reduce libido, especially in men. Using the illicit drug can decrease testosterone levels and lower sperm count. Cannabinoids in cannabis react with the receptors in the skin, impairing your sense of touch. This increased sensitivity to touch could cause frustration because individuals will likely not feel as satisfied as they typically would.

How can you heal your libido?

While some drugs and alcohol can, in the first instance, increase your sexual desire, it comes with a whole host of negative consequences. Sexual activity, when you’re intoxicated or under the influence of illicit drugs, can lead to several health risks and expose you to danger.

Reduced libido and inability to orgasm can make it difficult for individuals to maintain a healthy relationship with their sexual partners. A prolonged disinterest in sex can cause frustration and tension between sexual partners.

The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem with alcoholism or drug dependency or helping support your partner. The next step is getting professional help from trusted addiction specialists.

While some of the damage caused can be permanent, over time, decreasing the level of alcohol consumed should allow the body to heal itself naturally, and sexual function will return to a normal state.

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