More sexual medications for more people

More sexual medications for more people

By Caitlin Coyle

Enhancing sexual pleasure has never been easier as new sexual medications for men and women emerge daily.

The list of sexual performance enhancing drugs is expansive, and includes medications said to cure symptoms of anxiety, female arousal disorders, reduced libido, depression and erectile dysfunction.

In a sex-saturated American culture, various sexual disorders and medications are no longer considered taboo.

The media has played a significant role in breaking down this taboo in popularizing drugs like Trazodone, Vasomax and viagra. Continual television commercials that present the question, “ask your doctor if ‘x’ drug is right for you” have created the recent surge of curiosity surrounding sexually related drugs, said Robert Centor, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Alabama who specializes in the issue.

Tongkat ali, a traditional Malaysian herb, has been the focus of recent media attention because it has proven to have the same effect on men as viagra. A number of products containing the herb, including pills and beverages, have been made with the active aphrodisiac ingredient.

The government of Malaysia is in the process of convincing the world that tongkat ali is a safe and reliable remedy. Rainforests in Malaysia have been foraged and six brands of coffee containing tongkat ali have been banned in Taipei, Taiwan as a result of the growing controversy concerning the herb and its safety.

Patients and researchers have praised another sexual stimulant, a colorless, odorless synthetic chemical called PT-141. Though the aphrodisiac is still in clinical trials, it has had a high success rate among men and women. What separates PT-141 from viagra is PT-141 runs directly through the nervous system, while viagra impacts the blood flow. PT-141 is being manufactured as a nasal spray and should be released in the next three years in the United States.

Another upcoming drug to reach pharmacies in April is the first treatment manufactured for women with low sex drive. Intrinsa is a small patch worn on the abdomen that delivers a low dose of testosterone. The increase of testosterone will lead to an increase of sexual desire, according to British doctors and Intrinsa maker Proctor and Gamble.

Though doctors affirm there is no quick fix for low sex drive in women, Intrinsa could be part of the therapy.

“Intrinsa offers real medical hope to these women as studies showed that the patch increases sexual desire and satisfying sexual activity while reducing associated distress,” said Dr. Nick Panay of the Daisy Network, a support group for women with premature menopause.

A number of drugs are already available for anyone who wishes to enhance their sexual experience. The common assumption is the only people buying such medications are elderly men and women. However, there is a younger market for sexual medications.

“I don’t know why people our age would really want to take it [viagra],” said Aaron Segal, a junior painting major at Massachusetts College of Art. “It just doesn’t seem as interesting as other options, like Ambien for example.”

Segal spoke of a college friend who had experimented with viagra. She and her boyfriend had taken it together and then fell asleep shortly thereafter. Five hours passed, and the girl woke up feeling aroused; however, it was another five hours before her boyfriend shared the aphrodisiacal state.

Matt Rector, a sophomore physical therapy major, could not see himself using sexual medications any time soon.

“If I were younger and had erectile dysfunction, I would be skeptical [to use sexual medications] because of long-term, potential effects,” he said. “But if I were old and needed it, man, I would use it.”

Research scientists and patients have contested the safety of sexual medications. For example, viagra is said to lower blood pressure for men, and Intrinsa could cause loss of head hair, acne or deepening of the voice.

In response to risks involved with sexual medications, Segal said, “I think prescribed sexual drugs are as safe as any other drugs which means that you can pretty much judge them yourself based on your own experience or by friends’ experiences.”

The drug industry continues to produce and advertise more and more sexual medications. It is up to each individual to read between the lines, ask questions and fully research a product before deciding which drug to swallow.

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