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‘Alcohol Penis Impairment Syndrome’ Is Just a Fancy Name for Whiskey Dick

And you don’t need to take an herbal supplement for either of them

With Valentine’s Day approaching, we recently received a press release for a supplement claiming to be an all-natural alternative to Viagra. When listing the benefits, the press release mentioned something called “alcohol penis impairment syndrome.” Over Slack, we concluded that this must be the clinical definition of whiskey dick, though we were unaware such a medically accepted term existed. We also concluded that we didn’t know much about Whiskey Dick in the first place — other than it was ED with a side of beer (or tequila or wine or whatever else you’re drinking). So we called up our friendly urologist Alex Shteynshlyuger, who just last week helped us better understand if the whole grower vs. shower thing was bullshit, to find out. Here’s what we learned…

‘Alcohol penis impairment syndrome’ is totally made up

That is, it’s “whiskey dick” to doctors, too. “There’s no such term that I’m aware of,” explains Shteynshlyuger. “It looks to be describing what happens — or doesn’t — to your erection when you get really drunk. But it’s definitely not listed in any medical school textbooks I know of.”

Whiskey dick is kinda made up, too

Shteynshlyuger says booze doesn’t actually affect the penis directly: “Studies show that when used in moderation, alcohol doesn’t cause significant problems with erections. In fact, it can help with performance — particularly in younger guys with new partners — who have difficulty getting an erection due to situational and sexual anxiety. Anxiety causes the blood vessels to narrow and makes it more difficult to get an erection. Oftentimes a small amount of alcohol can actually be beneficial at relieving that anxiety and limiting vascular constriction, which makes it easier for men to perform.”

That’s why it should be called ‘whiskey brain’ instead

“For an erection to occur, a man needs to be excited by visual cues processed by the brain that signals to increase bloodflow to the penis,” Shteynshlyuger says. “Scientific studies show that when people get intoxicated to the point where the brain cannot properly communicate to the penis, arousal is significantly diminished. In other words, the signal to the penis to have an erection is obliterated by ‘whiskey brain,’ which is actually what causes erectile dysfunction in severe alcohol intoxication.”

Herbal supplements aren’t going to get things pointed in the right direction

The ingredients of the particular herbal remedy we were pitched included niacin, ginseng, ginkgo biloba and cinnamon bark — none of which Shteynshlyuger believes will do much for you in the erection department. “Cinnamon?! No,” he says incredulously. “While some supplements sold on late-night TV and the internet may have mild benefits in terms of erections, they’re certainly not significant enough to give someone with problems relating to ED — including ones caused by whiskey brain — really hard wood.”

Viagra, on the other hand…

“Most of the time medications such as Viagra or Cialis will help anyone having problems getting erections after drinking alcohol,” Shteynshlyuger says. “That’s why many supplements often have these medications mixed in and work wonders — as good as anything I can prescribe. But they also can contain potentially hazardous ingredients that aren’t noted on the label. That’s when the FDA steps in. There’s also a placebo effect with any medication — including supplements — that can result in better erections because men have increased confidence and stamina.”

ED medication pairs nicely with alcohol as well

Or, at least, it’s not dangerous to mix the two. “Millions of men have sex with the help of this medication after drinking a couple glasses of wine and there are no significant problems,” says Shteynshlyuger.

Of course, there would be no whiskey dick at all if there were no whiskey

It’s sort of like the argument that the only way to truly prevent pregnancy and STDs is through abstinence. Says Shteynshlyuger, “A better cure for whiskey dick would be to limit alcohol intake so that you’re not completely out of it. However many drinks it takes your brain to get noticeably foggy is how many you should avoid if you hope to get hard.” It definitely beats gnawing on some cinnamon pills on your way to the bedroom and hoping for the best.