~ Follow along and read all of Annie’s columns on Elephant here.
Sex. It was a huge obstacle for me when it came to changing my relationship with alcohol.
I had convinced myself that I truly needed a few glasses of wine to get in the mood. I also truly believed that alcohol made sex better and more enjoyable.
I didn’t want to give alcohol up because there was no way sex could ever feel as good without it. Imagine the shock I experienced when I learned through science and personal experience that nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s a little science on why the secret to the best sex you’ll ever have is sober sex:
Drinking reduces testosterone levels in both men and women. Ever heard of whiskey dick? There’s actually a medical term for it—alcohol-related erectile dysfunction.
The reason behind this occurrence has been tested outside the bedroom as well. A study performed with rats showed that their testicles decreased by 50 percent when fed a steady ethanol diet. Ethanol isn’t just what is fueling your car—it’s also in that beer, wine, or whiskey you’re drinking. And as a result of drinking it and reducing your testosterone, it’s also causing shrinking testicles, lower libido, lower sperm production, and the dreaded erectile dysfunction.
In this case, sober sex is obviously better than no sex at all—especially when you can’t perform at that pivotal moment.
It’s not just men who suffer from the effects of lower testosterone when it comes to alcohol and getting between the sheets. Reduced testosterone in women is also responsible for decreased libido and a condition called anorgasmia, which is the inability to have orgasms! That alone may be enough reason to consider sober sex a winner.
It’s not just about libido, though. Alcohol also depresses and numbs us. It slows down our ability to feel and process things. The reason sober sex is the best sex is that for many of us, it’s the first time we’re experiencing it while fully engaged.
That experience was a game changer for me. Discovering how erotic just a simple kiss or touch could be. Feeling all of the incredible sensations and emotions that came with sober sex. I might be a writer, but I still don’t have the words to describe those feelings.
There is science behind what I was feeling as well. Drunk sex doesn’t feel as good because alcohol interferes with the parts of the nervous system that are essential for arousal and orgasm, including circulation, respiration, and the sensitivity of nerve endings.
I know this will sound incredibly cheesy and cause a few eye rolls, but sober sex is the only sex that brings me to happy tears afterward. I’m so overcome by not just how fulfilling it is physically, but also the emotional connection it brings me with my husband.
Physical intimacy is great, but it really isn’t fulfilling without emotional intimacy as well. I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing out on when it came to sex until we started having sober sex regularly.
Alcohol and sex are just a sloppy combination. It’s not just that we’re not able to feel everything physically when we’re drinking, it’s also the emotional disconnect that alcohol brings us.
There’s a line from a television show that reminds me of this and it went something like this: “It was just a penis, there just happened to be a man attached to it.” That’s what drinking alcohol and having sex equate to—it’s just two bodies but no emotional connection. Sex when you’re both present and engaged takes it to another level. I don’t think you can ever go back to sloppy sex after that.
In the beginning, I thought maybe this was just a phenomenon that I was experiencing. Maybe it was just that my husband and I were experiencing this unexpected side benefit that was bringing us the best sex we’d ever had. But when I started scrolling through my Facebook groups, I quickly learned that our discovery was just as exciting and fulfilling to others.
“Sober sex is the best! It had been so long since I’d had sex sober that I forgot how much I really enjoyed it.” ~ Kelly
“Completely agree on sober sex being better. So much easier and quicker to umm . . . you know . . . I’ll just say it, orgasm! LOL. Finally feel like sex doesn’t have to be a chore with the husband, but actually look forward to it now.” ~ Kim
“Right!? Sober sex is one of my main motivations for staying sober. Things in the bedroom have gotten fun again.” ~ Lori
What about that one final barrier when it comes to actually making it into the bedroom? If sober sex is the secret to the best sex we’ll ever have, how do we loosen up enough to do it without alcohol?
So many of us have trained ourselves to need alcohol in order to lower our inhibitions that we have trouble getting in the mood without it.
There are a few ways to get through that.
First off, it seems obvious, but make sure you’re with a partner who you actually want to be intimate with. One of the major pitfalls of inebriated sex is that you end up getting busy with partners you never really desired to begin with.
Next, if communication is the key to any successful relationship, then it only makes sense that we also need to communicate during sex. Let your partner know what feels good and what doesn’t. Talk or show them what you like. There’s nothing sexier than someone who can show their desire—that makes both partners feel desired.
Finally, remember that foreplay isn’t just physical. Getting in the mood is about so much more than just intercourse. Make touch, talk, and setting the mood a regular and open part of your relationship. By making intimacy a healthy part of your relationship at all times rather than just when you’re drinking, you break the association that you need alcohol in order to enjoy sex.
Our own experiences are what have the greatest influence on our beliefs. So sometimes just showing up and being open to the experience of sober sex without any expectations or misgivings can be the best way to prove to ourselves that we not only can have sex without alcohol, but we can actually enjoy it too.
Go on and try it yourself. This is one experiment that you can be sure to enjoy the testing process!
If you are curious about your drinking, and want to take this time to evaluate it rather than diving deeper into it, join me for The Alcohol Experiment. You will receive encouraging and mindset shifting daily videos and emails and an incredible community of 110,000 people also experimenting with their alcohol intake. It is completely free (and always will be) at The Alcohol Experiment.