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Returning to Drinking as a Result of Erectile Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction, especially erectile problems (impotence), is one of the frequently noted side effects of alcoholism. However, many alcoholic men maintain erectile functioning while drinking. This paper will focus on a syndrome observed in clinical practice, but which has received little research attention in either alcoholism or sex therapy literature. The pattern involves men who have maintained sexual functioning while drinking, attend Alcoholics Anonymous, stop drinking, and begin experiencing erection difficulties. Usually erectile dysfunction has an abrupt onset, but in some cases there is a gradual worsening of erection problems. The typical pattern is loss of erections during intercourse, then loss of erection at point of intromission, difficulty in maintaining erections during the pleasuring/foreplay period, inability to get erections and finally sexual avoidance.