Priapus is happier with Venus than with Bacchus

J Sex Med. 2010 Aug;7(8):2831-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01887.x. Epub 2010 Jul 7.


Introduction: The relationship between alcohol consumption and erectile function is still not completely clarified.

Aim: Aims of the present study are to explore a number of biological and clinical correlates of alcohol consumption in a sample of men consulting for sexual dysfunction, and to verify possible associations with the incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs).

Methods: A consecutive series of 1956 (mean age 55 ± 11.9 years old) attending our outpatient clinic for sexual dysfunction was retrospectively studied. A subset of the previous sample (N = 1687) was enrolled in a longitudinal study.

Main outcome measures: Different clinical, biochemical, instrumental (penile Doppler ultrasound [PCDU]), and intrapsychic (Middlesex Hospital Questionnaire [MHQ]) were evaluated. We considered alcohol abuse more than three drinks per day.

Results: Among the patients studied 81% reported no or mild (<4 drinks/day) alcohol consumption whereas 14.3% and 3.9% declared a moderate (4-6 drinks/day) or severe (>6 drinks/day) alcohol abuse, respectively. After adjustment for confounders, both moderate or severe alcohol abuse was associated with low perceived partner's sexual desire, worse couple relationship, and smoking abuse. Furthermore, moderate and severe alcohol abuse was associated with low prolactin and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels, as well as an increase in triglycerides and total cholesterol levels. Penile blood flow was reduced in moderate and severe alcohol drinkers even after adjustment for confounders. In the longitudinal study, after adjusting for confounding factors, any kind of alcohol abuse was independently associated with a higher incidence of MACE (hazard ratio = 2.043 [1.059-3.943]; P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that, in subjects consulting for erectile dysfunction, severe alcohol consumption is associated with a worse sexual function and a higher incidence of MACE.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholism / physiopathology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Humans
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / etiology
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / physiopathology*
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / psychology
  • Libido / physiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Erection / physiology*
  • Penile Erection / psychology*
  • Penis / blood supply
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Psychometrics
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color


  • Triglycerides
  • Prolactin
  • Thyrotropin
  • Cholesterol