There are millions of sexual performance enhancers on the market, aimed at different problems. Erectile dysfunction, low sexual desire, premature ejaculation (PE)– you name it; and there is a drug or supplement for it. The drug Sildenafil citrate – best known as Viagra – is probably the most widely used of them all. And one of the few safe ones, if used properly.
Sexual performance enhancers promise to fix everything that can go wrong between the sheets: keeping an erection for longer, making it harder and stimulating sex drive. Some of them even claim to work both on men and women, making the ‘vagina suck and shrink’ while also making erections harder and more frequent. The only thing they don’t claim to do is your laundry!
Most of these drugs try to work on naturally boosting a man’s testosterone levels. Testosterone is the hormone that is supposed to spike your sex drive – though research shows that testosterone alone isn’t enough to make you want more sex.
The lovely sounding herb ‘horny goat weed’ (also called 'randy beef grass') claims to boost testosterone levels, as do many other herbs, roots, and animal products.
A different range of pills try to lessen a person’s stress levels, like ashwagandha or Indian ginseng. Stress can be the cause of low sex drive or problems with keeping an erection. So bringing down the stress level can actually have a positive effect on a man’s sexual functions.
Lots of the ‘evidence’ is heavily debated though, so it’s wise not to believe the claims you find on the back of a drug bottle or in a newspaper ad.
If you are lucky, the only side-effect of sexual performance enhancers is that you have no money left to take your girlfriend to the movies. Some drugs will make you edgy and nervous, while yet others could have very serious effects on your health. So if you have issues when you have sex, talk to your doctor about your options before taking something you ordered online.
But even when a drug is ‘safe’, like Viagra, it doesn’t mean you should take it to boost your performance unless you have problems. As many as 20 per cent of young men have taken Viagra to boost their abilities in bed. But there is no proof it works. It might give you headaches, diarrhea or even sudden heart problems though! And nothing is less romantic than a rushed trip to the bathroom in the middle of a make-out session!
We call those performance enhancers drugs or medicines, but actually, most of them are supplements. And the name makes a difference! By law, drugs and medications have to undergo long and intense testing to make sure they’re safe. Only then are they allowed to come on the market.
The procedure for supplements varies per country, however. Usually manufacturers have to register the product and its ingredients with an authority – but this doesn’t mean that a supplement is safe. So unless your doctor prescribed the medication, you should think twice about using supplements.
And also consider that some of the supplements claim to have rhino horn or other substances in them that could lead to poaching and extinction of endangered animals. There is no evidence that rhino horn or shark fins work as sexual performance enhancers. And really, do you want to swallow something containing elephant testicles?
Enhancement drugs aren’t just for men. A new drug is currently being tested to help with a lack of sex drive in women. Termed ‘female Viagra’ it’s supposed to work both on the mind and body of the ladies using it. And with almost 50 per cent of the women worldwide sometimes wishing they had more desire for sex, it seems there is a huge market for a booster like that.
Unlike the male version, female Viagra ‘tricks’ the brain to think it wants sex. But seeing that women often have a low sex drive due to other issues in their relationship, a question remains – can fake intimacy from a pill really make up for what’s lacking in a relationship?