An article in The Telegraph reported on a 2009 study conducted by the Western Australia’s Keogh Institute for Medical Research. This study examined the impact of alcohol use on male erectile dysfunction. The Telegraph article did not provide a link to a peer reviewed article, but I found a study on this published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. It collected information from 1,580 men on erectile function, alcohol, and tobacco use. The Telegraph reported that the men who drank a moderate amount of alcohol reported 30% fewer erectile problems than non-drinkers. The article interprets this finding as a “favourable association” between moderate drinkers and erectile function.

The authors of the research paper indicate that none of the reported associations between drinking status and erectile function were “statistically significant” until cardiovascular disease and smoking status were controlled for in analyses. It is also important to remember that the study used self-report measures of alcohol consumption and erectile dysfunction, meaning any associations observed are dependent on the ability and willingness of participants to accurately report their alcohol use and erectile problems

A third study reported in The Independent this year looked at whether alcohol can boost women’s sex drives. The study showed that following moderate alcohol consumption, levels of testosterone increased in women, but not men. This might be evidence of alcohol increasing the libido of women via a temporary surge in the male sex hormone. Despite being reported in The Independent this year, the research in question appears to come from a study published in Nature by Alko (a large Finnish alcohol retailer) in 1994.