Trimble: Don’t let ‘whiskey d*ck’ get you down

By Leah Trimble

We are in college. Drinking is absolutely expected among students.

A Colorado State… We are in college. Drinking is absolutely expected among students.

A Colorado State University study showed that about half of college students engage in binge drinking — having five or more drinks in one night — in a given two week period. Most men who binge drink tend to have two goals in mind: to get drunk with their closest pals without getting arrested, and to get laid while keeping the risk of getting a woman pregnant or contracting an STD as low as possible.

While these quests are more or less in good fun, the resulting reports of these alcohol and hookup concoctions make me question the success rate of this mix. Besides the anticipated warnings that accompany the thought of all random sex — lack of protection, skewed perception and judgment, STDs and well, STDs — consider another issue at hand: “whiskey dick,” a condition in which a man has had too much to drink and cannot, ahem, rise to the occasion.

As Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth, liquor “provokes the desire but it takes away the performance.” Or he comes out to watch the previews and never actually gets to see the end of the movie. Yes, it’s not an experience that anyone wants to admit has happened to him. But many of you have been in a situation where this has happened or have heard about an experience from a friend. Intense amounts of alcohol and the male reproductive system don’t mesh well together. Period.

UPMC erectile dysfunction specialist Dr. Thomas Jaffe, M.D., said the process is just alcohol doing its job.

“What alcohol consumption does cause is a depression of your central nervous system, which affects a male’s ability to have erections,” he said in an e-mail. “This is caused because the alcohol slows down or reduces your body’s responses. It will take more stimulation to get the body to respond to the sexual stimulation than it would if alcohol weren’t involved. The more alcohol involved, the less likely an erection can be achieved.”

In plain English, when the nerves are stimulated, they signal blood to increasingly flow into the penis, allowing it to become and remain, erect. Alcohol halts both. Alcohol acts as a depressant, making nerve endings less responsive and therefore making your usual heightened senses during arousal absent from the equation. In addition, the alcohol also dilates the blood vessels. So when you eventually get the extra attention needed to finally get erect, your blood vessels pull a fast one on you and let the blood drain out, all while kind of laughing in your face. I mean, it was your idiotic choice to take those last few shots.

The funny thing is that these mighty mixed drinks are also passing along the confidence you need to make the right moves. You’re more likely to take risks under the influence that you wouldn’t otherwise. You are Superman. No one can touch you. And you will succeed. The trick is to know which drink will take you from “I got this!” to not being able to get any. There is no evidence as to how many games of pong will lead you to the land of limp.

By the time you reach this point of intoxication, I am assuming you have already sealed the deal. You spent your money buying drinks. You’ve had that heart-to-heart about nothing, which seemingly meant something to both of you. Your “target” has listened to your bad jokes and the stories that won’t be quite as interesting the next morning. So you go home and start the action. Then dun, dun, dun … Mr. Stiff decides to not show up to the party.

At this point, you are considering yourself to be a big, fat, flaccid failure. Do not fret. This is a common occurrence. Your partner is either worried that it’s his or her fault, relieved (sorry…) or pretty darn irritated. I mean, he or she is possibly sleeping in a foreign bed and risking a walk of shame. The issue is that once you’ve entered the black hole of impotence, there’s no returning. It’s over. You can pop a blue pill in hopes it will salvage the situation (though every doctor will refrain from recommending a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol), but who keeps those on hand?

You have one choice. If your partner’s relieved, turn over and go to sleep. Make sure that he or she gets the “good pillow.” It’s well deserved.

The next option separates the men from the boys: If your partner is still game for some sexual fun, be a man and pleasure him or her. This is not the time to be a selfish lover and pout because you lost your chance. As a reward, they will be internally congratulating you on your good manners. And, not to be a Debbie Downer, but it’s technically your own fault that you can’t take part in the action. Don’t punish the one that just came along for the ride.

“The simple cure is not to drink or to limit your consumption to one alcoholic drink if you are planning on having intercourse that night,” Dr. Jaffe said. “If you have normal erections and intercourse without alcohol and diminished ones with it, you can see that the answer is simple. In fact, let me put it to you this way, an abuser of alcohol is very likely to [have] erectile dysfunction issues.”

Lesson to be learned: Watch what you consume when you have goals in mind. No one likes when these things happen. If that isn’t a strong enough argument, Dr. Jaffe warns men that “over time, alcohol abuse can lead to a change in the testosterone and estrogen levels in male patients.” Maybe staying in tonight is a good idea after all.

E-mail Leah at [email protected]

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