This study investigated whether an alcohol-related disturbance in the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis was a factor in alcoholics' visuospatial impairment. One month detoxified male alcoholics (n = 58) performed significantly poorer than peer controls (n = 30) on a battery of visuospatial and verbal tests. Serum concentrations of testosterone, estradiol, luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone were obtained at three times during cognitive testing. Previously reported correlations in healthy young male adults between visuospatial performance with testosterone and follicle stimulating hormone concentrations were replicated in control subjects. These correlations were not significant in the alcoholics. The results suggest that chronic alcoholism may disrupt the normal relationships between the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and cognitive functioning.