Why men experience the 'festive flop', and how to have the best sex over Christmas

A young couple spoon in bed, a man gives his partner a kiss on her cheek as she smiles up at him

Christmas time might bring good tidings and joy to many areas of life, but if you’re counting on the same goodwill in the bedroom, you may be let down by what experts have dubbed the “festive flop”.

According to men’s health specialist Dr Janine David, men are at higher risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED) over Christmas and New Year due to a number of factors, including holiday stress, more alcohol and indulgent foods, and less exercise.

ED is common, with most men occasionally experiencing it at some point in their lives. The NHS states on its website that ED is usually caused by stress, tiredness or drinking too much alcohol - all of which can occur over the festive period, as we party and socialise much more than usual.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Dr David said the holidays sometimes create “perfect storm of stress, alcohol and reduced physical activity and diet” which triggers a rise in the condition at this time of year.

“Excess alcohol is one of the single biggest causes and according to research, 57% of men already think this, but it’s hard to avoid too much alcohol at party time,” the specialist said, citing research from Eroxon that shows 40% of men over 40 and 26% of men under 40 have experienced ED.

A young couple in love gently hugs on the bed at the eve of Christmas
Men are at higher risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction during Christmas, an expert has said - but that doesn't mean you can't still have a jolly good time. (Getty Images) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dr David added that the stress that comes with Christmas, especially when people feel “pressure” to decorate their homes, shop for the right presents and struggling to balance everything financially, can contribute to ED.

“When it comes to sex, the pressure to perform may be overwhelming, with Festive Flop the consequence.”

Whatever you do, don’t fret about the prospect of a sexless Christmas. We already know that stress and worry can worsen ED and also makes for a decidedly unerotic time all round.

Instead, it can be a good idea to focus on reconnecting romantically with your significant other and carve out space for intimate moments.

Sex expert Debbie Bere of So Divine has shared some of her top tips for having the best sex over the festive period.

Don’t be shy about scheduling

Scheduling time for sex might sound boring or lacking in spontaenity, but it can be really important for couples to make time for it during busy periods.

“If you get a spare evening or morning or lunch break that matches your partner, book it in - but if it gets to that day and you’re not in the mood, that is fine,” Bere says. “But keep the time booked in. Connection, time spent together, talking or having fun builds subconscious desire, so that the likelihood of you feeling up for it next time increases.

“By prioritising time together, we are investing in our emotional and sexual relationships. So, just like you’ve got your work Christmas party booked and gift exchanges with friends, make sure you make time for each other.”

Prioritise time together after the kids have gone to bed

Having young children might make it seem impossible to grab a moment of intimacy with your partner, but we promise it’s not. If you have evenings to reconnect, Bere suggests giving yourself a “cut-off time” from all the chores and demands of the household to stop and catch up with your partner.

“Play a board game or dim the lights and get some massage oil for some physical touch,” she recommends. “We must remember not to lose ourselves or lose sight of our relationship within the chaos of parenthood. It is so easy to do this and find yourself at the other end of the rollercoaster with an empty nest and disconnected from the person you built it with.”

Adult toys are your friends

Man kisses and hugs woman lying on bed near Christmas tree in decorated bedroom interior. Couple enjoying winter time together on holidays. Happy New Year and Merry Christmas. Xmas at home. Top view.
Penciling in time for sex may sound strange, but for many couples, it really helps secure time with one another. (Getty Images) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Who says kids get to have all the toys? Sex toys for adults have increased in popularity - and range - over the years, so this might be a good time to unwrap one together.

“Sex toys are not the taboo they once were,” Bere says. “They are an incredible way to explore each other’s bodies as well as better understand your likes and dislikes.”

If you have family staying over, though, you might want to invest in some quieter toys. It’s also a good idea to try some quieter sex positions, Bere says, such as:

  • Spooning: Gentle thrusting reduces headboard banging or ‘clapping’ sounds.

  • Cowgirl on the floor: Just be careful of carpet burns.

  • Undercover missionary: A thick duvet makes for good sound muffling. Add pillows behind the headboard to stop banging.

Watch: 8 Sex Tips for Women, According to Sex Therapists

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