When it came time to getting busy, Cleopatra and her lover Casanova famously slid raw oysters down their throat, earning the seafood the reputation of being a natural love drug. Nowadays, horny folks can walk into most convenience stores and pick up dubious-looking sexual-enhancement pills sold right at the counter when they need some stimulation.
I've often wondered if anyone actually takes these pills, and if they work. So, I purchased four enhancers—Xzen 1200, Hotrod 5000, Libigrow and Libigirl—and had four willing participants take one each. They were each assigned to have sex using no stimulants, and then do it again after taking the pill. The subjects shared their results with me via a survey that I'd prepared.
The first pill, Hot Rod 5000, was given to "Olivia." She's a married arts educator in her early 30s who has a child. Olivia admits that her busy schedule affects her sex life.
Hot Rod 5000 is labeled as a performance enhancer for men but can be used by women. It boasts the ability to stimulate sexual desire and sensitivity. After putting her son to bed, Olivia knocked back her capsule with lots of water and got down with her hubby.
"The sex was exciting," she says. "Was my climax longer, multiplied, explosive? No. I kept thinking I was going to take the pill and suddenly become Sharon Stone having multiple orgasms from crossing my legs, but there wasn't that much of a physical reaction to stimulation or touch."
Olivia thinks that her anticipation for what she thought the pill would do helped her loosen up and be more in the moment, which inevitably improved her sexual experience. She also had a much higher energy level.
Despite drinking large amounts of water as recommended on the package, the following day Olivia felt as though she had been "partying with Rick James all night." She experienced a severe headache, dryness in her throat and sinuses and extreme pressure on her eyes.
"Joe" had a similar reaction when taking Xzen 1200, a popular enhancer that claims to produce prolonged erections, rolling orgasms and increased sensitivity and pleasure.
The 26-year-old GIS analyst experienced difficulty breathing and discomfort in his chest after taking the pill. As a result, his sexual experience was unpleasant overall. He suffered painful side effects, including a pounding headache, sensitivity to light, dehydration and other nasty business.
"That pill sucked the life out of me," he says. "I felt like I had an epic hangover, but I hadn't touched alcohol for a couple of days. People I saw asked if I had a crazy night."
Still, Joe wasn't so drained that he couldn't masturbate the following day.
"Despite it not being a crazy, heart-attack explosion, the erection didn't go away after I came," he says. "The only positive thing from this pill is longer-sustained erections. Not bigger erections or harder. I probably could have physically masturbated again right after, but I didn't feel like it."
A similar erectile second wind was also experienced by Joseph, a 25-year-old pizza maker who took Libigrow. This all-natural enhancer was recently recalled due to "counterfeit problems," according to its website. It's still readily available at most liquor stores, however.
Joseph says the pill increased his sensitivity, which helped him go "two rounds" in one night. His partner, Shawna, says that sensitivity was apparent even during foreplay.
"Before intercourse, I was rubbing him out a little and he said he probably could have came," she details via email. "It's not typically that quick for a hand job. After we had sex the first time, he was ready for round two pretty quick."
It should be noted that Shawna followed up that statement with a smiley-face emoticon.
Unlike Olivia and Joe, Joseph didn't experience a headache, dehydration or any of the other negative symptoms. Neither did Monica, a 29-year-old artist and musician. She took the female version of Libigrow—Libigirl. That product is still available and advertises itself as a multi-vitamin that has extra ingredients that promote good mood, energy and arousal.
Monica felt none of those things.
"It just felt more adventurous, if anything," she says. "It was still really good because we had a good time. We were more aggressive than usual, which made it fun. Honestly, I just passed out afterward. I didn't have the energy to go again. I wasn't in the mood."
At the end of the sexperiment, most concluded that they wouldn't take a sexual enhancer again. With the exception of Joe, however, the subjects did say the pills gave their sex a greater sense of excitement because they were trying something different, which, when it comes to sex, is never a bad thing.
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