Temporary erectile dysfunction caused by alcohol – or ‘brewer’s droop’ – is something most men understand only too well. Overdoing the booze on a night out can mean a frustrating, horny evening once you’re home.
But advising people to abstain from alcohol altogether doesn’t seem like a practical solution. As the sex education industry has learned, abstinence is rarely the answer. So are there any solutions to the issue of ‘brewers’ droop’? We’ve put together some key (and not-so-key) facts about the pint-induced problem, and how to deal with it.
7. There may be blood, but it’s probably not staying
Alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate – as the blood vessels get wider, you’d think that your chances of erection would improve, because there’s more supply flooding to your penis. Unfortunately, research suggests this is only true if you’re consuming small quantities of alcohol in a night (i.e. a couple of pints). Drink more and the blood’s flowing out as quickly as it’s flowing in.
6. It’s not just booze that causes ‘brewer’s droop’
Beer is getting far too much of the blame for temporary erectile dysfunction, so it’s worth pointing out that the droop can be caused by other drugs too. Drugs such as cocaine and marijuana can contribute to erectile dysfunction, and we know that smoking in general contributes too. Club drugs like MDMA (aka Ecstasy or ‘Molly’ if you’re a hipster who’s popped over from VICE) can also affect your rigidity. Although some people who use MDMA talk about increased sensitivity during sex, it often comes hand-in-hand with a frustrating struggle to get hard.
5. Brewer’s droop is sometimes called ‘whiskey dick’
In America – and presumably some other countries – brewer’s droop is referred to as ‘whiskey dick.’ As in ‘last night I pounded too many drinks at the frat and ended up with whiskey dick.’
Naturally not all men drink whiskey, so if you’re looking for an alternative we suggest ‘vodka knob’, ‘lager limp’ or ‘Semillon semi-on’ depending on your tipple preference.
4. There is a real-life company called ‘Brewer’s Droop’
It sells home brew supplies. Obviously.
3. Women get brewer’s droop too
OK, it’s not called ‘droop’ if you have a vagina, but excessive booze can cause similar problems in women – the vagina might not get as lubricated as it would before, and she may struggle to orgasm. There’s no official term for it, but suggestions welcome in the comments. Now – who’s for a Dry Martini?
2. ‘Try not to think about it’ isn’t always great advice
Psychologist Daniel Wegner came up with the ‘white bear’ experiment to test the effects of suppressing your own thoughts.
He asked test subjects to talk to him about any topic they liked for 5 minutes, while deliberately trying not to think of a white bear. Each time they thought of the bear, they had to ring a bell. Inevitably, the experiment ended up sounding like a church on Sunday, with participants getting increasingly frustrated as the white bear kept popping into their head. It didn’t end there, though – he then repeated the experiment but this time gave people permission to think of the white bear. Those who’d previously been told not to think of one still ended up ringing the bell far more often than a control group who’d been told they could think about one from the off.
What does this have to do with brewer’s droop? Well, the experiment showed that often the more you try not to think about something, the more likely it is to pop into your head. So when you’re nursing whiskey dick after a night on the town, telling yourself to ignore it may not be the best idea.
1. Brewer’s droop isn’t the end of the world
Well if you’re not supposed to think about it, and you’re not supposed to not think about it, how the hell do you deal with brewer’s droop when it strikes? There are three possibilities:
- Preparation. This one involves not drinking too much in the first place, especially if you suspect you’ll be horny and have company later on. Alternatively, switching your regular drinks for lower-alcohol equivalents (and ignoring Wetherspoon’s staff when they ask you to ‘double up for a pound’) might mean you’re less susceptible to brewer’s droop later.
- Alternatives. It should go without saying that no one should be having sex with you if you’re so drunk you can’t consent, but brewer’s droop can affect even the mildly-tipsy-but-still-in-control. If you’re in this position, there’s plenty you can do in bed even if your penis doesn’t happen to be playing ball. Non-penetrative sex, frotting, mutual masturbation, oral… the list goes on.
- Sex toys. Yep, there are sex toys you can use even if you’re flaccid. PULSE II SOLO is a revolutionary male sex toy that can be used either when flaccid or erect, and it’s been hailed by sexual health experts as ‘revolutionary.’
If you find you’re having repeated problems with erectile dysfunction, then it’s imperative to talk to your doctor – ED is sometimes a symptom of more serious health complaints. But if you’re worried about brewer’s droop, you’re not alone – while alcohol lowers inhibitions but for most people it will also have some effect on sexual function. If you’re having sex with a partner, preparing for a wild night by staying sober might be the best bet, but toys like PULSE II SOLO can help you along the way even if you’re not as hard as you’d like.
Don’t forget to drink (and shag) responsibly.