Sex – Sex­ual boost­ers

Prob­lems in the bed­room could see cou­ples reach for in­stant so­lu­tions to pep up their sex life. Here’s what you should con­sider be­fore you take that pill.

True Love - - Contents - By AYANDA NKONYANA

Ev­ery­where you look, you’re bound to come across ad­ver­tise­ments, pam­phlets at the traf­fic light or spam in your email in­box that make out­landish claims of how to “lengthen your pe­nis” and mir­a­cle pills to en­sure you “last the whole night”.

There used to be only a few prod­ucts to choose from to boost sex­ual per­for­mance, but now the mar­ket is flooded with dif­fer­ent op­tions you can get over the counter or on the In­ter­net. But be­ware: these sex­ual en­hancers are not reg­u­lated. Users don’t know their phar­ma­co­log­i­cal com­po­si­tion, whether they work or what pos­si­ble side ef­fects to ex­pect. So you need to be clued up on which ones are safe to use and what re­ally works.

WHAT ARE SEX­UAL EN­HANCERS?

Sex­ual en­hancers are drugs used to rem­edy erec­tile dys­func­tion and in­crease sex­ual arousal and de­sire. In­creased stam­ina is one of the top ben­e­fits of sex­ual boost­ers, says Elna Carstens, a Joburg-based sex ex­pert. “They en­able the user to last longer in bed and to bet­ter sat­isfy his part­ner. An­other ben­e­fit is im­prov­ing li­bido or sex drive, which can de­crease nat­u­rally with age­ing or due to psy­cho­log­i­cal and other prob­lems,” she says.

They also pre­vent early ejac­u­la­tion and the over­all qual­ity of sex. Sex­ual en­hancers are known to be ef­fec­tive and can be pre­scribed by your doc­tor. They in­crease your li­bido thanks to an ac­tive in­gre­di­ent that speeds up blood flow to the pe­nis.

DO THEY RE­ALLY WORK?

This is the big ques­tion, says El­mari Mul­der Craig, a Pre­to­ri­abased cer­ti­fied sex­ol­o­gist. “There are sev­eral pre­scrip­tion sex­ual en­hancers, in­clud­ing Vi­a­gra, Cialis, Le­vi­tra and Avi­gra. These drugs work very well in di­lat­ing blood ves­sels in the pe­nis, lead­ing to a strong erec­tion. For women, testos­terone is a sex­ual en­hancer. If a woman’s testos­terone level is too low she’ll have a lock on sex­ual de­sire,” Craig says.

But, it seems like the ef­fi­ciency of these en­hancers de­pends on your body, as Zuzile Mn­tambo, 32, ex­pe­ri­enced. Her hus­band had his prostate gland re­moved as part of his can­cer treat­ment. She ad­vised him to try sex­ual en­hancers, but noth­ing good came out of it. “He be­gan with Vi­a­gra but did not have a good re­sult. Next, he tried pe­nile in­jec­tions with­out suc­cess. He then moved to the pump with a ring, and that worked. How­ever, it was not spon­ta­neous or ro­man­tic,” Zuzile re­mem­bers. “Three years into the jour­ney he de­cided to have im­plant surgery and this re­sulted in the re­turn of spon­ta­neous love­mak­ing with­out pills, in­jec­tions, or pumps,” she ex­plains.

There are many over-the-counter sex­ual en­hancers with un­proven ef­fec­tive­ness, says Craig. “Nat­u­ral sex­ual en­hancers would be to lower your stress lev­els, to ex­er­cise, to get into the sun for your daily dose of vi­ta­min D, to eat healthily in­clud­ing enough fruits and veg­eta­bles, and to also take an Omega-3 and vi­ta­min B sup­ple­ment,” she adds. South Africans are among the big­gest con­sumers of sex­ual en­hancers on the black mar­ket. These prod­ucts range from ef­fec­tive to very dan­ger­ous, al­though no deaths have yet been re­ported. Their ef­fec­tive­ness vary from per­son to per­son.

Maria Zondi, 47, says her hus­band started suf­fer­ing from erec­tile dys­func­tion in his late 40s, and it con­tin­ued to progress. “My hus­band is now 63 and in pretty good shape. He’s ac­tive, eats well and doesn’t smoke. Al­though Vi­a­gra helped for a while, it gave him ter­ri­ble headaches and he stopped. He’s now scared to try other sex­ual en­hancers,” Maria says.

It’s im­por­tant to first con­sult your doc­tor be­fore tak­ing any pills if you have an ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion such as hy­per­ten­sion or di­a­betes, Craig sug­gests. “Your doc­tor may even pre­scribe an al­ter­na­tive or nat­u­ral pill to im­prove your sex­ual per­for­mance. Af­ter all, you don’t want to put your health or life on the line for a big­ger pe­nis,” she cau­tions.

Over-the-counter sex­ual en­hancers may be cheaper but you might not know what and how much ac­tive in­gre­di­ent it con­tains. The lack of ev­i­dence from clin­i­cal tri­als also count against them. Some of these sex­ual en­hancers have been ap­proved for med­i­cal use and are con­sid­ered safe within their ap­proved in­di­ca­tions. How­ever, of great con­cern is when these drugs are bought on the street or from un­rep­utable places. Rather than risk your health, con­sult a health pro­fes­sional, Craig ad­vises. “Sex­ual prob­lems and dys­func­tions are com­pli­cated and usu­ally multi-faceted. I would sug­gest that a cou­ple rather con­sult with a pro­fes­sional sex­ol­o­gist. Li­bido prob­lems and erec­tile dys­func­tion are often symp­toms of other phys­i­cal prob­lems that need to be ruled out or treated first,” Craig con­cludes.

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