Stephanie Fade: Sex, alcohol and lockdown

Might we be making misery not love?

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A lockdown essential

When we were initially told that we would only be allowed to shop for “essentials” the nation took a sharp intake of breath. Food and drink are essential for life but would snacks, fizzy drinks and alcohol be allowed? When we discovered then these things were still very much on sale panic buying ensued. As UK supermarkets struggled to maintain adequate stocks of alcohol, off-licences (smaller shops licensed to sell alcohol) had to be given a new status as “essential” in order to cope with the demand.

Alcohol was officially classified as an “essential” and a good proportion of the nation breathed a sigh of relief.

Enjoy alcohol responsibly

Those of you who know me understand that I am perfectly happy for food and alcohol (drunk responsibly) to play a part in the average adult’s self-care. I am very much enjoying my carefully chosen lockdown wine. Despite the complex chore of shopping in lockdown I still make sure I actually select our wine with our weekend menu in mind, rather than just grabbing the first thing I come to.

However as it has become clear that the nation’s alcohol consumption is on the rise I have started to think more about an issue close to my heart. Of course if lockdown habits become permanent habits, people’s risk of alcohol related disease in the long term will rise. That’s a worry for sure but there is one health concern where the risk is immediate and potentially catastrophic.

Combine regular drinking with sex and far from making love we could be making misery.

For some people anxiety will reduce libido and obviously for those who live alone sex is not currently a possibility. That brings issues of its own. But for many couples living together in lockdown, sex is something positive amidst all the bad news. On the face of it this seems like a good thing, a helpful coping strategy. However we’re risking something that many people know nothing about and it’s called Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD.)

FASD is the overarching term for a range of birth defects associated with drinking alcohol in pregnancy. FASD is not only seen in children of heavy drinkers and alcoholics but others who drink more socially.

There is no treatment and the impact is lifelong and can be devastating.

Click here for the full blog post by Stephanie Fade.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the FASD Prevention Conversation Project, its stakeholders, or funders.

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