Sexual Rx: The Research, sex research, health benefits, improve sex drive, sex tips, side effects
Sexual Rx

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Sex and sexual desire are all around us. Whether it's through ad campaigns, videos, movies, magazines or just being around members of the opposite sex, it's impossible to not be exposed to it.

It's all around us because of its power over us. As the saying goes, sex sells. And sex sells simply because we like it. Sex. Sexual desire. Sex drive. Even reading, saying or hearing these words can evoke a primal response in some people that holds an inescapable influence.

Sexual RxUnless you are a Buddhist Monk who has renounced secular life in pursuit of enlightenment -- or you're near death -- you always crave sex, and you long to be better at it with your significant other. It's human nature to want more of something that gives pleasure, and sex is close to the top of the list (after basic survival). We are simply "hard wired" this way.

Any man or woman with a functioning sex organ and a mind experiences sexual desire and can describe it. Yet, if you ask 10 people to describe their level of sex drive and what makes them "randy," you'll get 10 different answers. Despite these differences, all 10 will agree -- they want more of it.

The human sex drive is so intense, and having sex is so pleasurable, people are willing to do almost anything to heighten or improve their sexual desires and experiences. This includes engaging in activities that risk and possibly ruin their personal and professional lives. But this is nothing new. People have been seeking ways to improve their sex lives for thousands of years.

It shouldn't be a surprise to see so many ads for sexual enhancement. You can buy everything from creams and pills to various contraptions, but does this stuff work? Can you increase your libido or performance? Does hormone therapy work? Does the size of a man's johnson matter? And if it does, can you make it bigger just by taking a pill? Can over-the-counter products help erectile dysfunction?

The following is a compilation, if you will, of research and articles I've come across over the last couple of years I thought you'd find interesting. You may find answers to some of your questions below.

Penis enlargement surgery comes up short

Sexual RxAs the saying goes, penis size doesn't matter -- unless you're the guy with a small penis. Many men are unhappy with their penis size even though most are within the "normal" range. Some are so unhappy and so obsessed they resort to drastic measures like surgery. Researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in a review of data, report that most men are dissatisfied with penis lengthening surgery, a procedure performed by cutting the suspensory ligament at the base of the penis. The suspensory ligament is attached to the pubic bone, which gives the penis stability when having sex. When this ligament is cut most men can expect about a half-inch increase in the length of their johnson, but the surgery makes the erect organ unstable. In some cases, the ligament heals, so the penis shortens. A surgery that increases the girth, but has also been deemed ineffective, injects fat into the penis. This does make your penis look bigger, but the fat is readily absorbed into the body within months, making the penis lumpy and uneven. That will turn her on. (International Journal of Impotence Research 2008;20:519-529)

Be wary of penis enlargement techniques

Marketers offer many different types of nonsurgical penis enlargement, and often promote them with serious-looking advertisements that include endorsements from "scientific" researchers.

But if you look and read closely, you'll see that claims of safety and effectiveness are groundless. No reputable scientific research validates any type of nonsurgical penis enlargement, so marketers rely on testimonials, skewed data and before-and-after photos that often aren't authentic.

At the bottom of such advertisements, you'll usually find a sentence such as "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)." Indeed, the FDA, the government agency that regulates medications and medical devices, has never approved any medications or devices for enlarging a penis. (

Is my tallywacker too small?

Sexual RxFirst, even if you think you're small, odds are that your penis is a normal size. The average erect penis is four to six inches long, with a circumference of four to six inches. There's more variation in the size of flaccid penises. But that just means that a guy who looks well hung in the locker room isn't likely to get much bigger when erect; conversely, a guy who looks small will grow a lot.

Second, if you insist that you're small, even when the ruler says you're not, you may earn yourself a psychiatric diagnosis: penile dysmorphic disorder. It's similar to the perceptual distortion of anorexics who think they're fat no matter how stick-thin they get. According to one study, the majority of men who get penis enlargement surgery have this condition. They are also the least satisfied with the results. (

Penis size does: it matter?

Concerned whether you measure up? Most guys are, and many experts say seeing the super-sized guys in porn (and how the women react to them) has a lot to do with it. The vast majority of men are not as endowed as our monster dong brothers doing porn movies. So how do we know what the average size of a man's wedding tackle is? And who and how is it measured?

Believe it or not, obtaining accurate schlong measurement is no easy matter, according to researchers. But, if there is anybody who needs to be accurate about penis size, it's condom companies. "It's absolutely important that we have the best information to make the best fitting condom," said Carol Carrozza, Lifestyle Condom Company vise president of marketing. Company representatives said they performed the largest and most accurate measure of penis size ever.

According to their research two-thirds of men range between 5.1 and 6.2 inches erect. The average man's penis is about the size of a Nestle Butterfinger candy bar. The average girth of an erect penis, which is what many women say matters most, was between 4.5 and 5.5 inches for three-fourths of men. (

Diet and sex

Sexual RxA recent study performed in Finland included men ages 49 to 73 who underwent 21 weeks of supervised training and dieting. Half the subjects ate a high-fiber, low-fat diet including grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish and dairy. This diet led to a decline in their testosterone. The study also found that subjects who ate more protein, and had a fat intake of at least 30 percent, had higher levels of testosterone and improved muscular gains. Eating less than 30 percent fat seemed to adversely affect hormone levels. Lower testosterone levels have been associated with decreased libido. The amount of fiber did not have an adverse effect on building muscle or hormone levels. (Intl J Sports Med. 28(12):1070-1076)

Statin benefits do not outweigh the risks

A review of the literature by the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, cites nearly 900 studies showing adverse effect of statins, which are widely used in treating high cholesterol. Researchers report that muscle adverse effects are the most commonly reported problem in the literature, and by patients. Adverse effects are dose dependent, and risks are amplified by drug interactions, thyroid disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and genetics.

The risk of adverse side effects goes up as age goes up, and this helps to explain why the benefit of statins have not been found to exceed their risks. Unfortunately, researchers report that physician awareness of statin side effects is low.

Statin side effects may include:
Increased cancer risk
Sexual dysfunction
Immune system suppression
Cognitive loss
Neuropathy (numbness, tingling in extremities)
Hepatic dysfunction.
Pancreatic dysfunction

(American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs)

Sex and Death

As it turns out, having orgasms is not only pleasurable, it's healthy. Researchers examined the relationship between the frequency of orgasm and mortality; 918 men aged 45 to 59 participated. An inverse relationship was found between orgasmic frequency and mortality. In fact, men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed half the death rate of the men with the lowest, with a dose response relation throughout the group. (BMJ 1997;315:1641-1644)

Sexual Rx

Sexual side effects

Studies purport to show that having sex even a few times a week has an associative or causal relationship with the following:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease: In a 2001 follow-on to the study mentioned above, researchers focused on cardiovascular health. Their finding? That by having sex three or more times a week, men reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by half. In reporting these results, the co-author of the study, Shah Ebrahim, Ph.D., displayed the well-loved British gift for understatement: "The relationship found between frequency of sexual intercourse and mortality is of considerable public interest."
  • Weight loss, overall fitness: Sex, if nothing else, is exercise. A vigorous bout burns some 200 calories -- about the same as running 15 minutes on a treadmill or playing a spirited game of squash. The pulse rate, in a person aroused, rises from about 70 beats per minute to 150, the same as that of an athlete putting forth maximum effort. British researchers have determined that the equivalent of six Big Macs can be worked off by having sex three times a week for a year.
  • Reduced depression: Such was the implication of a 2002 study of 293 women. American psychologist Gordon Gallup reported that sexually active participants whose male partners did not use condoms were less subject to depression than those whose partners did. One theory of causality: Prostaglandin, a hormone found only in semen, may be absorbed in the female genital tract, thus modulating female hormones.
  • Pain relief: Immediately before orgasm, levels of the hormone oxytocin surge to five times their normal level. This in turn releases endorphins, which alleviate the pain of everything from headache to arthritis to even migraine. In women, sex also prompts production of estrogen, which can reduce the pain of PMS.
  • Less-frequent colds and flu: Wilkes University in Pennsylvania says individuals who have sex once or twice a week show 30 percent higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which is known to boost the immune system.
  • Better teeth: (This is one of my personal favorites.) Seminal plasma contains zinc, calcium and other minerals shown to retard tooth decay. If she wants healthier teeth, this is an excellent reason for your significant other to go down on your johnson frequently.
  • A happier prostate? Some urologists believe they see a relationship between infrequency of ejaculation and cancer of the prostate. A study recently published by the British Journal of Urology International asserts that men in their 20s can reduce by a third their chance of getting prostate cancer by ejaculating more than five times a week.

Sex and soy do not mix

Sexual RxThe ability of phytoestrogen to decrease testosterone has been shown in several studies. If fact, as long ago as 164 B.C. monks included tofu in their diet as an aid to spiritual enlightenment and abstinence. They found the more tofu they consumed, the lower their libido. (Everything in moderation, right?)

Soy and de-masculinization

The male offspring of rats fed diets containing genistein, a chemical found in soybeans, developed abnormal reproductive organs and had sexual dysfunction as adults. This finding may indicate a need for further research to determine whether exposure to genistein while in the womb and during breastfeeding influences human reproductive development, according to researchers.

Researchers found that while the sperm counts of genistein-exposed males were normal, they had smaller testes and a larger prostate gland than unexposed rats. They also had lower testosterone levels and were less likely to ejaculate than unexposed rats.

The effects of genistein exposure continued long after the rats were exposed, leading researchers to say that exposure during reproductive development may have negative, long-term consequences in males.

It is thought that genistein may act as an estrogen or an anti-androgen, blocking the function of the sex hormones, known as endogenous androgens, necessary for males to develop a normal reproductive system. (Jurol2003;169(4):1582-6)

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