What is Whiskey Dick?

You spent the night at a bar, enjoying a couple of drinks with friends. Later, you had the fortunate opportunity to meet someone special, and things took a passionate turn as you both headed home together. However, as the romantic moment intensified, you realized that your penis wasn’t rising to the occasion, which created some pressure and perhaps even embarrassment. Why did this happen? It might be attributed to the alcohol you drank at the bar, a phenomenon commonly known as "whiskey dick."


What is Whiskey Dick?

Glass of Whiskey

Whisky dick is the more common way of saying “alcohol-related erectile dysfunction”. The condition is exactly what it sounds like. It is when your penis can only achieve weaker erections than normal, or even full-on erectile dysfunction due to the influence of alcohol. Despite the name, whiskey dick can happen with any type of alcohol, not just whiskey.

How much alcohol does it take to experience whiskey dick? Similar to the question “How much alcohol does it take to get drunk?” It depends on things like weight, genetics, and overall tolerance to alcohol. Whiskey dick then lasts the amount of time it takes for the body to break down and metabolizes the alcohol you have been drinking. This can be about an hour for every unit of alcohol you drink. Again, while this time is different depending on the person, it can take about 1 to 2 hours for your body to become completely alcohol-free after a single drink.  

The Science Behind Whiskey Dick


So what causes whisky dick? Well if you read our article on why sex feels good, you will remember that the nerves in the penis and the brain communicate in order to achieve things like getting an erection and having an orgasm. Alcohol is what is known as a depressant, which means that when consumed, alcohol slows down brain activity and communications to the nerves across your body. Messages from the nerves to the brain go a little slower than usual which causes things like slurred speech, poor coordination, and difficulty in achieving an erection.

That’s not all. Alcohol is also known for causing dehydration which can also increase a hormone called Angiotensin II, which is responsible for closing the walls inside the small arteries to make them more narrow. It does this to regulate blood pressure and retain salt and water in your body. That sounds good for a short while, but the closing of the small arteries makes your blood pressure go up and blood moves slower than usual. Since erections are made from blood moving into the penis, slowed down blood flow makes it more difficult to maintain a strong erection.

Don’t think you are free from any sex-related dysfunctions if you have a vagina instead of a penis. This can sometimes be called “whiskey clit” and is caused by dehydration that makes it harder for the vagina to get wet during intercourse, making an orgasm harder to achieve. It was also found in a study that people with vaginas who drank before sex needed a lot more stimulation in order to achieve an orgasm compared to those who had nothing to drink. So if you are looking to have a fun night, try to keep the drinks to a minimum.

Please Drink Responsibly 

people drinking at a bar

Is there any way to prevent whiskey dick? Simply not drinking is a pretty good start, but something that most people probably won’t want to do, so here are some alternatives.

If going completely sober isn't on the table, then try to at least set a limit for yourself and avoid downing too many drinks in a short time. This can help you avoid the full-blown effects of alcohol.

Have something to eat before starting to drink. Having something in your stomach actually slows down the rate at which alcohol gets absorbed into your body by physically blocking it from making contact with your stomach lining, giving you a little more time before your central nervous system gets affected and the whiskey dick starts. 

That said, I cannot stress enough that the only way to prevent whiskey dick is through the moderation of alcohol consumption. So, please aim to drink responsibly for both your and any potential partner's pleasure!


No one likes not being able to perform when duty calls. So, if you're planning a night out with hopes of a good time later on, consider keeping your alcohol intake in check before the big moment. This way, you can reduce the chances of encountering whiskey dick and ensure a safer and more enjoyable evening.

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