Not Horny | Horny Goat Weed Can Help

Not Horny - Horny Goat Weed Can Help. Aphrodisiacs are substances that increase sexual desire, pleasure, or ability (Sandroni, 2001; Shamloul, 2010). But here’s a rule of thumb: most substances labeled as aphrodisiacs are not. The things on your pharmacy shelf or favorite website are not the fabled aphrodisiacs that will make a reluctant partner into a raging stud or nymphomaniac (Krychman et al., 2007). Some have no effect.

Not Horny? Horny Goat Weed Can Help
Not Horny — Horny Goat Weed Can Help

Some “work” simply because you believe they will (a placebo effect) and some work because you are hallucinating or disoriented (Sandroni, 2001; Melnyk and Marcone, 2011). Some have an effect, but only if you swallow a truck load (in which case the sheer amount would likely have adverse consequences). Some are dangerous in any amount. Some are dangerous to animals — the search for ground rhino horn is in danger of wiping out that species, all for a substance that does nothing.

Not Horny — Horny Goat Weed Can Help

The term aphrodisiac is derived from the Greek word aphrodisia, which means sexual pleasure, as well as the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite (Krychman et al., 2007). The search for aphrodisiacs is documented way back to antiquity (Shamloul, 2010). Ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Indo-African populations all prescribed a range of substances to increase male potency as well as interest and pleasure in both men and women. Early documents, even hieroglyphics, include different kinds of potions and various roots and weeds that supposedly increased desire.

Among substances we would recognize today, yohimbine and gingseng are often mentioned. Both of these have modest effects, if any, but that doesn’t seem to have discouraged users over the ages (Kotta et al., 2013). Spices are also commonly mentioned, among them nutmeg, ginger, saffron, and cacao. There is validity in the effect of these spices as they promote blood flow — which helps erections and sexual arousal — but a cure for sexual disinterest does not lie in your next bowl of paella (Melnyk and Marcone, 2011).

Alcohol and Other Aphrodisiacs
Stimulants of any kind can be classified as aphrodisiacs if they improve sexual response in any way. So, many foods, vitamins, and beverages have been put in this category. Most commonly, alcoholic drinks are thought of as aphrodisiacs because they act as disinhibitors and make sex more likely to happen. Also by relaxing people’s inhibitions (such as how they feel about their body) participants may be more able to feel passion or achieve orgasm (Krychman et al., 2007; Melnyk and Marcone, 2011). In fact, some studies have found that if one believes that alcohol increases desire, it will — again the placebo effect.

One study found that students who thought they were drinking alcohol reported more desire even if they were actually given a non-alcoholic drink by the researchers (George et al., 2000). Students were also likely to find their partner more attractive if they expected to be drunk or picked up cues from their partner that he or she had been drinking or was going to start (Friedman et al., 2005).

Not Horny — Horny Goat Weed Can Help

Of course, we have to remember that alcohol can also be seen as a barrier to good sex since imbibing frequent and large quantities of alcohol narrows the veins and makes erection and orgasm more difficult. Other, less common substances have also been studied as possible aphrodisiacs.

Cantharides
This substance, derived from blister beetles, is an ancient recipe for sexual inertia that affects blood flow and causes inflammation. For a while it was marketed as “Spanish Fly” and was said to be a real turn on. However, the buzz was dampened considerably when it turned out that not only did most people who used it feel unpleasant itching and burning, some people died. The toxic effects significantly outweighed the possibility of having more pleasure and ultimately it either went underground or disappeared from circulation entirely (Sandroni, 2001.

Yohimbe
Though this plant-based substance is often written about as a powerful aphrodisiac, there is no good evidence that yohimbe creates more sexual interest. Some animal experiments in vitro have shown stronger erections when test subjects take yohimbe and some studies with humans have found that respondents report more pleasure while on the drug. However, these studies are considered biased because the users knew they were taking the drug during the research (Melnyk and Marcone, 2011).

Panax Ginseng
This is a plant-derivative used in traditional Chinese medicine that triggers nitric oxide synthesis in the vessels of many organs, including the corpora cavernosa (the spongy tissue found in the penis and the clitoris which fill with blood and become erect when a person is aroused). This nitric oxide reaction has been documented in both animal and human lab studies. Like the other substances mentioned, however, none of these have been double-blind studies which would be needed to test observational results (Melnyk and Marcone, 2011).

Bufo Toad Skin and Glands
Toad doesn’t sound very sexy, does it? But these animal parts do contain hallucinogenic properties. They are commonly used in potions in India and in China and can be very toxic (Sandroni, 2001).

Not Horny — Horny Goat Weed Can Help

The truth is that, as much as we would all like to find that magic substance that would put us in the mood and make sex great every time, we haven’t found one yet. There are a limited number of studies (many with methodological issues), the mechanisms by which these substances work is unclear, and we just don’t know what the potential hazardous side effects of these substances may be (Kotta et al., 2013).

Substances That Are Often Mistaken for Aphrodisiacs
Amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine, cannabis, and marijuana stimulate the central nervous system and some people find the heightened stimulation sexually arousing. Many people do report more pleasure and a more relaxed and sensual approach to lovemaking when using some of the substances, but again, it is not clear if much of this is a placebo effect. Plus, these substances, some of which are illegal in most states in the United States, have negative side effects.

Amphetamines make some people very nervous and unable to concentrate, caffeine can have the same effect, and cocaine is addictive to many. Other substances that may be more dangerous are those derived from kola nut, betel nut, and guarana. These can also heighten sensation and speed up heart rates and are widely used in Africa, Asia, and parts of Latin America. The tannin in these plant products, however, has been linked to digestive problems and cancer (Sandroni, 2001; Fleshner et al., 2005).

Though touted as aphrodisiacs, none of these substances has a specific sexual effect, rather there is a whole body feeling that may also increase sexual sensation. These effects are highly individualized. While these substances may help some people feel more turned on, some of them actually decrease potency for others (Sandroni, 2001).

Hydraulics Not Aphrodisiacs
The only substances that have actually been proven to increase erections are
phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors such as sildenafil (Viagra) and vardenafil (Levitra) (Sandroni, 2001), these drugs are only meant for men who cannot get an erection otherwise. They are not meant to be taken recreationally or to make normal erections harder, and they
are not aphrodisiacs. Even more dangerous are the herbal “equivalents,” Libidfit, Satibo, and Viamax, which are often sold on the internet as plant-based alternatives to pharmaceuticals. These drugs are unregulated and can be dangerous (Shamloul, 2010). Libidfit was actually sued and taken off the market because it was illegally distributed and potentially harmful (Venhuis et al., 2008).

Not Horny — Horny Goat Weed Can Help

A recent investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that some supplements that were being sold as herbal or all natural actually contained drugs similar to those found in Viagra and Levitra. The supplement Weekend Warrior, for example, contained thiosildenafil which is very similar to the active ingredient in Viagra, even though this was not listed on the bottle (Zeltner, 2014).

These substances can interact with other medications and some men should not take them at all because of their health history. It is, therefore, very dangerous for men to be ingesting these chemicals unknowingly. There are some drugs in development for women as well. Though they are often referred to as the female Viagra, they work on the brain, not the genitals, and aim to increase sexual desire in women who have low or no libido.

These drugs are not really aphrodisiacs in that a woman doesn’t become horny instantly after taking one. They are taken continually in the hopes of increasing libido in the long term. Though at least one drug has been through clinical trials, none have yet to be approved by the FDA (Schiavocampo et al., 2014).

So Why the Age-Old Quest for Aphrodisiacs?
It’s obvious that many people feel inadequate sexually. Men feel their penises should be harder or bigger, or they should be able to have intercourse longer, or please their partner even more. If their partner is unexcited or having trouble reaching orgasm, they want a pill that would turn her into a vixen, completely enthralled by her lover’s sexiness and prowess. Women who are never or rarely orgasmic or who find themselves unable to be aroused by their lover’s attentions (even if they used to be) would like to end their frustration with a “magic pill” that would make them want their partner more or feel pleasure more intensely. We are a world that likes easy answers. But so far those easy answers do not exist.

As we have seen, not only do some of the compounds people use do nothing, some of them are dangerous or even deadly (Sandroni, 2001). Most therapists whose patients come in looking for a cure for lack of sexual energy or interest will try to examine the nature of the relationship, whether either partner is depressed, and if either is experiencing extreme fatigue. They also look at the medications each partner is taking. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which include Prozac and Zoloft, are widely used to treat depression and anxiety and are widely known to affect sexual desire.

Not Horny? Horny Goat Weed Can Help
Not Horny? Horny Goat Weed Can Help
Not Horny — Horny Goat Weed Can Help

Other medicines can have this effect as well. For men who really do have issues with erectile dysfunction there are a number of specific treatments (surgical and chemical) that work and are not life-threatening when deemed that are not life-threatening when deemed safe and appropriate by a doctor who has carefully examined the patient’s general health.

Mostly, though, there’s no pill, powder, or vitamin that’s going to do the trick. Sexual desire (our own or our partner’s) may not come as easily or as quickly as we would have liked, but the only thing to do is try harder. The good news is that the effort itself can be fun.

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