The Truth About Whiskey Dick

Ever been in the mood, but unable to perform at your best? What is happening when whiskey dick rears its ugly head?


Whiskey dick is a colloquial and funny term for something that many men find embarrassing and scary the first time it happens to them. Technically, it refers to a kind of erectile dysfunction that results from drinking too much alcohol. Men who have never had trouble with getting an erection or staying hard may find themselves suddenly unable to perform after a night of heavy drinking. But, if you've encountered this problem after a night of partying, don't panic. Read on for the truth about whiskey dick, and be reassured that this is completely common, and definitely temporary. 

What is whiskey dick?

Whiskey dick refers to the erectile problems that men may face after having a few too many bevvies. We all know that having a few drinks can put us in the mood for sex, but having a few too many can cause men to have trouble getting in the mood.

Some men find that their erections are just not at their best when they have had a few too many. The amazing sex they were picturing on the way home from the bar just isn’t resulting in a great boner or the amazing, coordinated sex they imagined. But many men are unable to get hard at all if they are too drunk. This can be especially frustrating when you are in the mood, and your partner is ready to go, but systems just aren’t launching.

Some men even experience another form of whiskey dick, finding they can get and stay hard, but just aren’t able to finish off. For some men, this is a bonus – they are able to last a bit longer and enjoy their drunken experience even more, having a silly experience with their partner that is ultimately fun. But some men are left hoping for a great finish that isn’t going to happen.

Despite the name, this phenomenon isn’t something that happens only when drinking whiskey. Any alcohol, when consumed in excess, can make it hard to… well, get hard. 

Why, oh why does this happen?

Because so many people drink to socialize and have fun, it can be easy to forget that alcohol is actually a depressant. When you’ve consumed a bit too much, there are a few things that contribute to whiskey dick. Drinking impacts your head and your body.

First, your penis is being impacted. Blood flow decreases when you’ve had too much to drink. This, in combination with dilated blood vessels, can spell doom for a good erection, no matter how much you may be in the mood. Second, you have to keep in mind that your thoughts and coordination are being suppressed by alcohol, your movements aren’t coordinated, and your thoughts aren’t necessarily going to connect to your body in the way you might like. Together, this means that it can be tricky to achieve the erection you need to fulfill your drunken fantasy. 

Is this forever?

Luckily, the effects of the whiskey dick are temporary. Once you’ve sobered up (and maybe, powered through your hangover), it will be all-systems-go again. One incident of erectile dysfunction after drinking does not mean that a man will face this issue while sober.

That said, if you’re an extremely heavy drinker, or a man who has a problem with drinking, you actually run the risk of doing some permanent damage to your sexual function. In studies, men who reported heavy and ongoing drinking found they were unable to achieve erection, that they had premature ejaculations, or that they lost their sex drive entirely. If you suspect that you have a problem with drinking, you should remember that damage to your erectile function is just one of the health consequences that might result.

Drink responsibly and you’re in the clear. 

Some myths about whiskey dick are...

Whiskey dick is a relatively mild problem, and one that resolves as soon as you’ve sobered up. But naturally, there are a lot of men (especially young men) who panic at the prospect of not being able to get hard. Make sure you know what is not true about whiskey dick before freaking out.

  • Whiskey is not the only thing that will cause whiskey dick. Don’t be confused by the colloquial name, all alcohol is likely to have the same impact on your boner when consumed at the same level, so don’t think you can avoid it by switching alcohols.

  • If you’re having trouble getting hard after drinking, some men recommend a nightcap as a way to resolve this. This is just the worst idea. If you’re having issues with getting an erection because of drinking, it is absolutely not a good idea to add more fuel to that fire.

  • Water won’t save you either. While it is a good idea to stay hydrated, and drinking water might keep you from drinking too much on a drunken evening, grabbing a glass of water before bed won’t help you get hard. If you’ve gone over the line, you’ve gone over the line, and there will probably be a failure to launch until you’ve sobered up.

You don't have to feel ashamed if this happens to you. Many men feel very embarrassed, or are even shamed by their partners if they have an episode of erectile dysfunction (due to drinking or not). Keep in mind that you don't have to feel bad about this happening, it is not OK for anyone to make you feel bad about it, and you'll likely be back to your virile-self soon. 

How do I avoiding the dreaded whiskey dick?

Many men are embarrassed by an episode of erectile dysfunction, no matter what the cause. You always want to be ready to go and there for your partner. But the good news is, whiskey dick is a problem that is really easy to avoid: just drink less.

Some men find that they are more sensitive to this problem, and may suffer from whiskey dick even with mild indulgence. But many men will have no problems at all as long as they keep the drinking under control, or to a reasonable amount.

Just keep in mind that if you’re going for a night of heavy drinking, you might pay a price later in the bedroom. 

No worries, whiskey dick is totally common.

The truth is, whiskey dick affects many men who have overindulged, ironically making them more interested in sex, but taking away their ability to perform. If you, or your partner has encountered this, just remember it is pretty common, and not a permanent condition. Know that if you’ve had enough drinks that you’re stumbling, other parts of your anatomy might not be working at their best, either. Just make sure you know yourself, your body and your limits. If you’re planning a night of indulgence, remind yourself that the dreaded whiskey dick might be a possibility. 

Annie Kiely
Annie Kiely

Annie Kiely is a freelance writer, editor and researcher who lives in the 'burbs of Toronto with her pets and her partner. Annie is an advocate for wellness, mental health education, and literacy. She loves animals and gardening (and food). 

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The Truth About Whiskey Dick