How Drugs Effect Your Sexual Experience

Dr. Megan Fleming discusses how drugs and alcohol can affect sexual function. (via

How Drugs Effect Your Sexual Experience

Many people consume alcohol or drugs to help them relax, feel more confident, or less inhibited.

Different substances can affect the way you operate in sexual situations and may make you do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. It can land you in compromising situations like having unprotected sex or nonconsensual sex.

Here are a few substances, legal and controlled, and their sexual side effects.
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is a depressant. Many equate its effects to being an aphrodisiac or an “ice breaker” because it is known to lower inhibitions. Alcohol consumption thins the blood and can reduce muscle coordination. People react to alcohol consumption in different ways that can range from a happy feeling to combative.

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In large amounts, alcohol can cause blacking out, poisoning, vomiting, and even death. Some men are unable to achieve an erection or ejaculate depending on how much they have consumed, colloquially known as “liquor dick”.

People who find themselves inebriated will sometimes engage in risky sex behaviors like unprotected sex.

Marijuana is unique in the sense that it acts both as a stimulant and a depressant. The receptors in the brain that control pleasure and muscles have a high density of cannibinoid receptors. The body becomes more relaxed under the influence of this drug.

Users may have a higher propensity to engage in sexual activity that would not ordinarily do without concern for pregnancy of potential STD/STI exposure. This is from the euphoric feeling that comes over them due to the high.

Both men and women have reported an increase in both sexual desire and enjoyment while under the influence, as well as an increase in tactile sensation. Many also report that an increase in orgasm intensity is noticeable as well.

Cocaine is a stimulant. It creates an intense high where users can feel an increase in energy, alertness and sexual intensity. There is an increase in heart rate and respiration.

Because this is a short lived high, users may have a craving to do more of the drug to sustain their high. Due to its euphoric properties, users have reported an increase in sexual pleasure and satisfaction when engaging in sexual activities while under the influence.

Amyl nitrate, or “poppers”, is an inhaled substance that is used to increase sexual sensation. Its effects on the body are short lived but very intense. It has been purported to be an aphrodisiac due to its vasodilatory effects on the body. It can cause flushing over the body and an involuntary relaxation of the muscles, especially those of the anal sphincter.

It also has slightly euphoric properties. Persons using this drug can expect to have an increased heart rate and sometimes shortness of breath.

The details of the sexual effects of these substances are not intended to entice you to use them; rather, inform you of potential situations you could get yourself in.

Remember sane, consensual and safer sex are of utmost importance in keeping you healthy sexually. Respect your sexuality and try to make the best decisions that you can.

About The Author

Megan stubbs
Dr. Megan Stubbs

Holding degrees in human sexuality and biology, Dr. Megan Stubbs is a multimedia Sexologist. She is the co-host of the ‘Sex and Sports’ podcast on ESPN 96.1, can be seen on WZZM 13 (an ABC affiliate), can be heard Friday nights on 104.5 WSNX, and other various radio shows. She writes for many online publications as well as maintaining her own blog. Dr. Megan also speaks and hosts workshops across the country. Visit her website, follow her on Twitter,  and her Facebook fan page.


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