What are the three best things about sex?

The three best things about sex…

… is a drink before and a cigarette afterwards, I remember somebody saying when I was young.

And some people certainly find that true. But is it good advice? What does alcohol and tobacco do to your sex life?

Let’s start with the positive thing: the drink. Alcohol and sex is not such a bad mixture. A glass of wine or a drink before sex may actually make sex better. It makes you relax and makes it easier for you to enjoy, to talk with your partner about what you like and and what you can do to please him or her. The surroundings, including your partner, become a bit more attractive. The effect may not be as dramatic as in this Tuborg beer-ad from 1994, but still noticeable.

Australian researchers have found that older women who drink a little alcohol have more sex than those who do not drink at all. Other research has shown  that the more people drink, the more likely is it that they will go home with somebody they met in a bar, and they are also more open to having a same-sex experience. So alcohol can be a good thing. Which doesn’t mean that having a glass of wine or two will automatically give you more sex, but having a generally more permissive attitude to the good things in life may.

But too much alcohol is not good, of course. You may do things you’re not at all proud of when the alcohol fog leaves you and you see clearly again. And many men have had the embarrassing experience that too many stiff drinks make them less stiff somewhere else. Alcohol may also make you so sleepy so you forget what you were up to and fall asleep instead – also quite embarrassing, if your partner has other intentions.

And now to the cigarettes

Theres not much good to be said about them, not when it comes to sex or general health.  Smoking definitely has a bad influence on sex – both before and after. Four out of five men with erection problems are smokers, and the more they smoke, the greater their erection difficulties. Smoking gives you arteriosclerosis, which makes your blood vessels lose their elasticity and become narrower. It’s like when water pipes get clogged up by lime scale and too little water gets through. When the blood vessels to the penis are too narrow, not enough blood comes through to produce the erection. Viagra and substances like that may help for a while, but not forever. The vessels may be so bad that even Viagra doesn’t help.

But men aren’t the only ones affected by smoke. Even young women who smoke have less blood flow to their clitoris, their vagina and labia than women who don’t smoke. That may mean that they feel less aroused and get less wet when they have sex.

And in contrast to the wine and the drinks, nobody becomes more attractive from smoking. On the contrary – you age faster, your skin becomes grey and wrinkled, and women who smoke go into menopause a couple of years earlier than non-smokers.


So, what are the best three things about sex? Maybe a drink before and a close and cosy talk in bed afterwards?