Men and alcohol. They just go together right? It’s like peanut butter and jelly or buffalo wings and ranch. Bros and beer. Golf and whiskey. Cliché after cliché. The truth about men and alcohol is that alcohol isn’t the innocent substance we portray it to be. The effects of alcohol use are staggering for men. The time has come to stand up and raise awareness before the issue gets any bigger or more deadly.
Drinking is a risky business for men
According to the CDC, men are more likely than women to drink excessively.1-3 Excessive drinking is associated with significant risks to men’s health and safety, and the risks increase with the amount of alcohol consumed. Men are also more likely than women to take other risks (such as misusing other substances, having multiple sex partners, or not wearing a seat belt), that when combined with alcohol, further increases their risk of illness, injury, or death.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
On average men drink more per serving and more often than women. Astonishingly, 58 percent of adult men report drinking alcohol in the last 30 days and approximately 23 percent of adult men report binge drinking 5 times a month, averaging eight drinks per binge. Also worthy of note, men are two times more likely to binge drink than women. Additionally, men have a harder time turning down drinks – especially when group mentality comes into play. In 2019, seven percent of men had an alcohol use disorder compared with four percent of women.
Drinking with your buddies can cause far-reaching and devastating consequences when it comes to men and alcohol use. Excessive alcohol use often leads to impaired judgment, which can have lethal consequences. Men are almost twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated among drivers in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Alcohol slows down your gross motor skills along with your decision-making centers. This makes operating a motor vehicle not only dangerous but also potentially lethal. Forty–six percent of male traffic deaths are alcohol-related, compared with 29 percent of female traffic deaths.
When it comes to relationships, alcohol is often what tears them apart. In many people, (primarily those who already have a tendency to be impulsive), drinking can increase aggression. The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that two-thirds of victims of spousal violence report that the aggressor had been drinking. In a global study of intimate partner violence, the odds were higher worldwide in relationships where one or both partners had problems with alcohol, compared to relationships where neither of them did.
Men and Alcohol
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Beneath The Sheets
Okay, but the one place that alcohol can only help is in the bedroom. Alcohol helps us let loose and enjoy sex more, right?
They don’t call it whiskey dick from drinking too much iced tea. Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production resulting in impotence, infertility, and reduction of male secondary sex characteristics such as facial and chest hair. How sexy is that? Not to mention regular alcohol use can lower testosterone levels which virtually wipes out your sex drive completely.
The Big C
We can’t cover men and alcohol without mentioning this. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men. In fact, the World Health Organization has reported that there is NO safe level of alcohol consumption due to the risks involved from drinking it. For some types of cancer, the risk increases even at low levels of alcohol consumption (less than 1 drink in a day). Current evidence suggests that the more alcohol a person drinks, the higher his or her risk of developing alcohol-associated cancer.
Addressing Men and Alcohol Use
Breaking the bonds that society and culture have created between men and alcohol will not be easy but it is possible. Being the dissenter, the one to show that you can still hang, crack jokes, and enjoy the company of your friends without drinking opens the door to curiosity. It creates a starting place and a reference point. The idea that “Hey, if Steve can do it maybe I can too!” might be just the push needed to start changing the dynamic between men and alcohol one by one.