Drunk sex = regret
January 9, 2007 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Why don't we get drunk and screw? Because it burns! Can anybody tell me why? (Some mildly graphic details inside.)

Everybody likes drunk sex. But I've come to the point where I'll abstain from relations if I've had so much as a couple of alcoholic drinks. This is because there is a high likelihood that it will end up in pretty severe discomfort for me. Shortly after ejaculation, I will get a feeling that I have to urinate (whether I really do or not). When I do -- or eventually even if I don't -- I get a burning/stinging sensation towards the end of my penis. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like there is a small amount of urine stuck in my urethra. It doesn't hurt during urination, only afterwards. And the urge to pee remains after I am done. This is very uncomfortable, and tends to last a few hours.

I am a ~30 year old man, with no problems with sex as long as alcohol is not involved. The only thing I've found online that sounds similar was talking about prostatitis, but I don't think that's likely, since it's been happening since I've been sexually mature. I have no STDs. It has happened a few times without alcohol being involved, but very rarely. It seems worse with beer than with wine or liquor, to the point where I thought it might be an issue with the carbonation. But it has also happened with uncarbonated alcoholic drinks.

My question: does anybody have any idea what this is? Any advice, other than talking to a doctor or abstaining (from alcohol or sex)?
posted by Turd Ferguson to Health & Fitness (38 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I get this too. I think it's partially because drinking also make your bladder fill up quicker and having an ~full bladder (getting one in the middle, sometimes) also causes this for me.
posted by IronLizard at 7:21 PM on January 9, 2007

Oh, and something similar had been asked, but I don't think it involved alcohol. Maybe something insightful there, but I forget.
posted by IronLizard at 7:22 PM on January 9, 2007

I think I know exactly what you're talking about, but have never had it happen frequently enough to correlate it with alcohol. But being a regular subscriber to both the joys of alcohol and intercourse, I was compelled to cast my net through the ether and found this.

Basically, I assumed that there may be something going on with the prostate, since that's the source of the "sauce" and this was your leading complaint. Google showed several mentions of alcohol causing swelling of the prostate, and then I found the link to prostatitis. If yours is a true case of prostatitis, it's probably mild. And I don't take the "go see a doctor" advice very well myself, so I won't bother. Just my attempt to help, but as my med school friend's shirt says: "I'm not a doctor, but I'll take a look!"
posted by krippledkonscious at 7:25 PM on January 9, 2007

Btw, I only offered the Prostatitis link as a worst-case scenario. I think IronLizard's take is just as likely, if not more - alcohol not only causes you to urinate more (swollen bladder), but also swells the prostate, which blocks the urethra. This additional pressure could be your problem.
posted by krippledkonscious at 7:30 PM on January 9, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. Just to clarify, one of the reasons why I'm dubious regarding prostatitis is that the pain is distinctly about an inch from the tip of my penis -- pretty far from the prostate. But I'll definitely look into that a bit more.
posted by Turd Ferguson at 7:32 PM on January 9, 2007

When you get this, try drinking a bunch of water so that you have to pee more (and with less concentrated urine), to clear whatever acid is in your urethra and causing the discomfort.
posted by Dasein at 7:34 PM on January 9, 2007

IANAD, and this is pure speculation, but could this be an untreated bladder infection? Not sure about the alcohol bit, but these are exactly the same symptons of a bladder infection, so I'm wondering if you have an untreated infection that gets worse with alcohol consumption.
posted by gt2 at 7:41 PM on January 9, 2007

You know, the same thing happens to me if I, uhhh, pray to Jah before intercourse. Maybe it's something to do with relaxation?
posted by 235w103 at 7:50 PM on January 9, 2007

I am not a doctor and I don't own a penis.

Um, by "end of the penis", do you mean... the, er, area where things come out?

On preview, I think you do, yes? Is it perhaps possible that it's less related to things going out, and more related to, uh, environmental factors?

Does this happen with the same young lady? Is it possible that, if she has also had a few drinks, there's a change in, ah, her body chemistry?

Is it possible that, while tipsy, you're more vigorous?

Do you and your partner use spermicide of any kind? I have heard (NO REALLY) that some men have aftereffects in the vein of what you describe.

If any of those things were to irritate the business end of your urethra a bit, I could imagine that urine would make it more noticeable. Or even just that your urethra is always a tiny bit... bruised (...SORRY) after sex and that the change in your urine after drinking alcohol stings in a way that regular urine might not.

Of course, this is all wild conjecture on my part.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 7:52 PM on January 9, 2007

I think maybe you should go see a doctor. You could have clap. (Yes, even though you don't feel that pain all the time.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:52 PM on January 9, 2007

This is a semi-serious reply; See if the same thing happens if you eat a bunch of really spicy food before you have sex. If so, I would guess it is indeed small swelling of the prostate.

I am not a doctor and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
posted by Justinian at 8:09 PM on January 9, 2007

Response by poster: By "the end of my penis," yes, I do mean the business end, aka the urethral opening. This has happened with more than one partner, with completely sober partners, and even when -- um -- alone. No spermicide involved, either. All good things to think about, though, thehmsbeagle.

I think it's safe to say that I don't have gonorrhea, since I've experienced this since before I was sexually active, among other reasons.

I'll check out the spicy food, Justinian. It's possible that this is what caused those times when I hadn't had any alcohol, and I just didn't notice the correlation.
posted by Turd Ferguson at 8:22 PM on January 9, 2007

Best answer: There are a few important points I have to make:

(1) The term "prostatitis" is a relic from the years when researchers thought it was related to infection. It turns out that it is due to a bacterial infection in the prostate only in around 5% of cases. The rest of the time, its origin, according to the most reliable research, is unrelated to the prostate gland. A term that is being more commonly used these days is "Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome."

(2) You have described the classic symptoms of chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

(3) The average urologist's understanding of prostatitis is dismal. I know several clinical urologists; they freely admit this to me. There is also a terrible amount of outdated and wrong information on the internet.

(4) The only treatment that has been demonstrated to be significantly effective is physical therapy to fix dysfunction in the pelvic floor, termed the "Stanford Protocol." Take a look at the following article from the Journal of Urology, which was published this fall:

Anderson RU, Wise D, Sawyer T, Chan CA.
Sexual dysfunction in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: improvement after trigger point release and paradoxical relaxation training.
J Urol. 2006 Oct;176(4 Pt 1):1534-8; discussion 1538-9.
PMID: 16952676 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

(5) The best website on this topic is www.chronicprostatitis.com.

(6) The best book on this topic is "A Headache in the Pelvis" by David Wise. His website is at www.pelvicpainhelp.com.
posted by wireless at 8:34 PM on January 9, 2007 [3 favorites]

This happens to me as well. But it doesn't just happen WRT intercourse...it also happens when I'm, ahem, dancing with myself.

By which I mean after I masturbate.

I get the exact same feelings: a burning sensation, a feeling like I need to urinate, a feeling like if I DO urinate it will hurt like hell. Which it does.

I have of late attributed it to having intercourse (alone or with my wife) with a full or semi-full bladder. In other words, I need to have an empty bladder before I experience joy.

I have never equated or associated it with alcohol. But perhaps when you are drunk, you disregard your need to urinate?

For myself, I can (knock wood) rule out STD's...it really seems to relate to ejaculation too close to urination or before urniation is successfully and fully completed.

So there.
posted by Bud Dickman at 8:37 PM on January 9, 2007

Wow! Same thing happens to me. I thought I was alone!

I have a perfectly healthy urinary tract so it's not that. It has to do with the alcohol.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:47 PM on January 9, 2007

Best answer: This happens to me when I am not well hydrated. I can totally prevent it by drinking plenty of water (especially while drinking alcohol).
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:49 PM on January 9, 2007

Yea this happens to me occasionally too, usually when Im umm...alone.

But as far as I know it's not associated with any STD...because that would've been impossible in my case until a few months ago, and it definetly happened before that.

So whoever said that above is most likely wrong.

I had no idea it was this common, its really painful and annoying to the point where I can't sleep if it happens close to bedtime. I really hope someone comes up with a more definitive explanation than above, Id like to know as well.

This is gonna sound wierd...but you can try soaking your man in a cup of warm water and then doing something to take your mind off it like watch TV or play Xbox. It will go away quicker than if you sit there and think about how much it sucks. Or at least that works for me on occasion.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:00 PM on January 9, 2007

Alcohol has the same effect on me. So does caffeine.

I always have pain after ejaculating, even if I haven't had any caffeine or alcohol. However, if I have had caffeine or alcohol, the pain is a million times worse. Alcohol and caffeine before ejaculation guarantee that I will have a "flare-up." These "flare-ups" are the worst pain imaginable. It's as if someone's set a fire in my perenium. What you are describing in your post sounds a hell of a lot like one of my "flare-ups."

I'm 28 years old, and I've had this problem since I went through puberty. It became gradually worse over the years. However, things have gotten better since I completely quit drinking alcohol and caffeine. I will still have a "flare-up" occasionally, but it's rare. After ejaculating, I will always do a set of stretches, and that definitely relieves some of the pain. I take elmiron, which may have helped - it's kind of hard to say, since I started taking it around the time that I stopped drinking caffeine and alcohol. I've also started taking elavil, but since I've only been on it for a little while, it hasn't had a chance to start working yet.

What is the condition? Nobody really knows. All people know is that it's about as painful as cancer, and there's no real agreement on what causes it. Some diagnose it as chronic prostatitis. Some diagnose it as interstital cystitis, which was previously thought to only occur in women. Some diagnose it as pelvic floor disfunction. There are even some clueless idiots who will still diagnose it as acute prostatitis, and prescibe heroic doses of antibiotics that do absolutely no good at all.

There are a number of treatments available, from physical therapy, to elmiron, to elavil, to meditation, to progressive muscle relaxation, to psychoanalysis, to the aforementioned antibiotics. There's even been a book written about it, called "A Headache in the Pelvis." Depending on who you talk to, you may need to see a doctor, a psychologist, a urologist, or a physical therapist. Whatever you do, don't bother with craniosacral therapy, because it's pseudoscientific hogwash which will relieve you of your money but not your pain.

However, there's a good chance that you don't have what I have, because it sounds like you don't usually feel pain after ejaculation when you're sober.
posted by Jake Apathy at 10:34 PM on January 9, 2007

And yes, although the pain is centered in my perenial area, I also get the pain in the tip of my penis, as well as my lower abdominal region.
posted by Jake Apathy at 10:39 PM on January 9, 2007

Weird. I was just, er, noticing this phenomenon very recently... like the day before yesterday. Happens to me too and I'm pretty damn sure I don't have any VD, and no spermicide, spicy food, marijuana was involved. My partner was a bit tipsy as well, so that might be it and we were definitely on the more, um, vigorous side (due in part to the drink), but I'm thinking neither she nor that was to blame. I guess I've noticed this before, both alone and with a partner, and the "acid-ey urethra" explanation seems to make the most sense to me. Add me to the list of also-want-to-knows.

I like all the "er"s and "umm"s in this thread ;)

On preview: Jake Apathy is describing a pain much worse than anything I've experienced. It's a semi-sustained (15-20 minutes?) burning sensation at the tip/urethral opening akin to elimination after consuming a lot of spicy food.
posted by maniactown at 10:47 PM on January 9, 2007

IANAD, or any type of health practitioner, but would drinking alcohol change the pH of seminal fluid and/or urine? If it does could this account for the irritation? This could be a clue to the other sufferers too; perhaps you could look to your diets. What other drinks or foods could have this effect, if any; could it be the sugars?
posted by Coaticass at 10:55 PM on January 9, 2007

You say you don't have STD's. Is that wishful thinking, or is it borne out by actual testing? Go get tested--full-spectrum, including swabs for bladder infections--and rule that out.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:20 PM on January 9, 2007

Best answer: Odd question.. IANAD, but I am an engineer, and I solve problems, usually by test. While this isn't the normal sort of thing I work on, how about gathering some more info? Then you can substitute certainty for speculation.

Abstain from sex for a week or so, so that there is no pain.

Masturbate. Determine if the pain is just associated with orgasm. If not, do it again in a day and determine if the first test was a fluke. If no pain, rule out orgasm alone as the cause.

In a day or two, have several drinks and get good and tipsy. Masturbate again. See if the pain is present. If not, repeat in a day or two to see if the first test was a fluke.

If you have pain, you've got a correlation between alcohol consumption and penis pain you can investigate with a doctor. It's easy to check for things like pH, specific gravity, and you can possibly find out more, once you have VERIFIED THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE PROBLEM OCCURS RELIABLY.

If neither of the previous yield pain, recruit a partner and have sex, a few days in a row. Again, observe the pain issue. If you don't get it, drink and repeat. Analyze.

No pain? Drink something else (beer instead of wine, booze instead of beer, etc.) and repeat. Find out what correlates more specifically.

The point is... you can't troubleshoot an intermittent problem. THe first task is to verify it, then make it repeatable, then experiment with variations until it is understood and quantified. I don't think penises are all that much different than computers in this regard. Just attack your penis like a scientist! (Sounds funny when stated like that, huh?)

It's not unheard of to have post-coital pain. There's probably survival value in it from an evolutionary biology standpoint... you aren't fertile again for a few days and once you have delivered a fertile payload, nature doesn't necessarily want you to disturb the site of potential fertilization for a while. Who knows?

You may have some physiologically deviant form of it, and it's orgin may be hard (sic) to pin down, but you've got to get data and reliable info to figure out what paths to investigate. Solutions are a lot easier once the problem is understood, and armed with good data, you'll actually be able to tell if you have solved it.

Final step in this process is to make the problem come back and go away at will. At that point, you've got it nailed.
posted by FauxScot at 1:44 AM on January 10, 2007

I've had this problem ever since puberty, and I've always been at a loss about what to do about it.

After reading this thread, I'm pretty sure wireless nailed it.

So thank you, wireless
posted by Zero Gravitas at 5:28 AM on January 10, 2007

(Just because this started before you were sexually active, that doesn't mean you can rule out any infection as the cause. In particular, it could still be a persistent UTI or bladder infection. Just sayin'.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:04 AM on January 10, 2007

I don't believe it has anything to do with STD or prostatitis as I have neither and get this problem ONLY after drinking alcohol. A few other posters have said the same thing.

So what the hey is it?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:19 AM on January 10, 2007

As best as I can figure it's due to a chemical reaction between ejaculate and urine. Since alcohol and caffeine cause people to urinate more you've a greater chance off suffering the effect when using either. Ejaculating again makes it worse, as does peeing. The only thing that seems to work is to try to forget about it (nearly impossible) and wait for it to pass.

Its actually different than the feeling of needing to urinate because that feeling is based at the tip but also the testicles and prostrate area. The problem everyone is talking about is just the sensation at the tip, magnified 1000 times.

I've also wondered if it's down to a muscle contraction of some kind. When you urinate after ejaculating try keeping the pressure on after the flow has stopped for a few seconds, and really contract the muscles involved. I think that has worked before because I didn't get the problem, but then I don't know if I was going to get it so I can't say it definately works.

To curb the questions: I've been on a perscription diuretic for almost a decade for health reasons. Definately a double edged sword.
posted by jwells at 6:21 AM on January 10, 2007

DieHipsterDie writes "I don't believe it has anything to do with STD or prostatitis as I have neither "

...again, is that fact, or opinion? Many cases of STD infection are largely asymptomatic. Go get tested.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:32 AM on January 10, 2007

+1 for Cat Pie Hurts: try to get more hydrated son!
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 6:48 AM on January 10, 2007

dirtynumbangelboy - yep, been tested. Clean as a whistle. Still would not explain why it happens only after alcohol comsumption.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:56 AM on January 10, 2007

Response by poster: Wow, this has generated more response than I expected. Thanks, everyone, for your ideas.

jwells, you are describing my situation exactly (the problem everyone is talking about is just the sensation at the tip, magnified 1000 times), as are you, Bud Dickman (a burning sensation, a feeling like I need to urinate, a feeling like if I DO urinate it will hurt like hell. Which it does.).

FauxScot, I'm an engineer myself, so I see where you're coming from. Like DieHipsterDie, I've already pretty much got it narrowed down to alcohol. As I said, without alcohol involved, it has happened a handful of times in my life, but if I have had a few drinks, there is probably a greater than even chance. The method of reaching climax is definitely not a factor (including the presence or absence of a partner, or the identity of said partner). It has happened with all types of alcohol, but I think beer is the worst -- maybe just because it has the most water in it and causes a fuller bladder.

Yes, Jake Apathy, it does sound like your problem is worse than mine. My sympathies go out to you. Like maniactown and T.D. Strange, this pain is very uncomfortable and will keep me awake at night, but I can't imagine it's as bad as cancer. It lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours.

dirtynumbangelboy , I get your point about STDs. Like other people in this thread, my history makes this extremely unlikely, but it can't hurt to get checked. Likewise to nebulawindphone -- I suppose it's conceivable that I've had a persistent infection for the last 15 years. Is it possible that this would be the only symptom?

Wireless, that looks like great information. I'm checking it out now.

On preview, the hydration thing is an interesting idea. I tend to drink a lot of dehydrating things (including alcohol, obviously), and not enough water. I'll try to keep that in mind.
posted by Turd Ferguson at 7:15 AM on January 10, 2007

Hydration might be provable. Urine color is one way (but very variable), as are staying hydrated and noting the abscence of the problem. I've heard you can stay hydrated while drinking by drinking a cup of water for every beer. It might not be conclusive but it'd be the most educated guess yet.
posted by jwells at 10:50 AM on January 10, 2007

my roommate says this happens to him whenever he pees before he completely loses his erection. maybe you could wait a few minutes?
posted by twistofrhyme at 11:04 AM on January 10, 2007

While alcohol has diuretic properties, your going to push through higher concentration urine.
My "formula" is typically .5L of water per drink. It really does wonders for my burny parts! It also prevents hangovers for me.
(A few years ago, I discovered that many health problems I was having were due to very poor hydration, including reduced and burning ejaculate (which led to a decrease in the strength of orgasm, etc). I found a formula - bodyweight in pounds / 2 = # ounces to drink. So, 200lber would need 100oz of water over the course of a day.

Drink up when you drink up. At the very least, give it a shot..I truly hope it makes your penis a happier penis.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:13 AM on January 10, 2007

Had the same sensation happen to me several times after a really tough PT session in the Army. I had thought that it was a UT infection, but eventually found out that staying really well hydrated makes it go away. The only times since then have been when I KNOW I am not drinking enough water.
posted by Chickenjack at 2:27 PM on January 10, 2007

Once you see a doctor, if everything checks out and the pain persists, you might want to give something like pyridium a try. Granted, you'll have bright orange pee, but your urinary tract will be nicely soothed.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 2:36 PM on January 10, 2007

This happens to me if I urinate too soon before or too soon after, uh, finishing the intercourse. Are you urinating just before or right after? Try holding off for 20-30 minutes and see if it still happens.
posted by hootch at 4:41 PM on January 10, 2007

Turd, your reaction to beer makes medical sense. Alcohol is a known aggravator of CPPS symptoms. So is wheat/gluten, as many CPPS sufferers unknowingly have symptoms of gluten intolerance. Beer contains both of these ingredients in high quantities. In addition to following the other elements of the protocol at http://www.chronicprostatitis.com/protocol.html, it would be good to try eliminating gluten from your diet and seeing if your symptoms diminish.
posted by wireless at 5:01 PM on January 10, 2007

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