Moderate alcohol intake, genital vascularization, and sexuality in young, healthy, eumenorrheic women. A pilot study

Cesare Battaglia, Bruno Battaglia, Fulvia Mancini, Rossella E. Nappi, Roberto Paradisi, Stefano Venturoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. The relationship between alcohol and sexual function is complex and not completely understood. Aim. To evaluate (in the early follicular phase and independently from sexual stimulation) in young, eumenorrheic, healthy, lean women the genital vascular effects of the light and moderate use of alcohol. Methods. Eighty-four women undertook, in the early follicular phase of the menstrual cycle (days 3-5), the administration of the two-factor Italian McCoy Female Sexuality (MFSQ) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) questionnaires; ultrasonographic measurement of the carotid intima-media thickness (IMT); and color Doppler evaluation of the carotid, clitoral, and labia minora arteries. Hormonal (estradiol, androstenedione, and testosterone) and biochemical (lipids, glucose, and insulin) parameters were tested. Main Outcome Measures. The MFSQ and BDI questionnaires; the carotid IMT; the Pulsatility Index of internal carotid, clitoral, and labia minora arteries; blood pressure measurement; and hormonal and biochemical assays. Results. The subjects were divided in: nondrinkers (group I); current (>1 year) light drinkers-1-10 drinks/month (group II); and current moderate drinkers-11-20 drinks/month (group III). The majority of the studied parameters did not vary among the different groups. The mean BDI was normal in the studied women. However, the lowest values were observed in the moderate drinkers group. The MFSQ did not show any difference among all the studied women. However, the number of intercourses/week and the incidence of vaginal orgasm were significantly higher in group III (moderate drinkers). The relationship between the drinking habits and different parameters showed an inverse relationship with the BDI. Furthermore, the BDI inversely correlated with orgasm frequency and with orgasm intensity. Conclusions. Chronic slight/moderate alcohol consumption has no effects on genital vessels and vaginal lubrication. However, a moderate consumption of alcohol, through psychological and social disinhibiting effects, may favor sexual activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2334-2343
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Alcohol
  • Doppler
  • Genitalia
  • Sexuality
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vascular Response of Clitoral Arteries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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