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Exploring the New Prosexual Drugs &
the Art of Feeling Really Good

by David Jay Brown

Please check David's new site, SexandDrugs.info


Like immortality and the fountain of eternal youth, every culture since the beginning of time has sought out aphrodisiacs and methods for enhancing the sexual experience. Biological organisms like us seem to find sex and drug ingestion fairly irresistible because these activities activate ancient pleasure centers in our brains. Our ancestors discovered long ago that by combining these two biochemical art forms new dimensions in the realm of "feeling really good" can be achieved. For example, although alcohol intoxication actually interferes with sexual functioning, many people have their first sexual experiences while drunk as a teenager, due to its disinhibiting properties. Maybe not knowing much about history or biology is fine when love is in the air, but knowing your chemistry sure can be helpful in making this a more wonderful world.

Marijuana is a very erotic plant, and the majority of High Times readers are, I'm sure, hip to the fact that if you smoke cannabis prior to sex, every sensation becomes greatly enhanced because it increases the sensitivity of one's senses. The sensual photo profiles and centerfolds in High Times of the plant itself reflect this erotic quality, as they are clearly modeled after the pictorials of beautiful nude women in Playboy and Penthouse. And as the infamous Playboy interview with Timothy Leary during the Sixties made clear, the popularity of LSD is partially due to acid's ability to turn sexual activity into a full-blown ecstatic mystical experience. So sex and drugs have always had an intimate relationship, but true aphrodisiacs-- substances that actually ignite the feelings of sexual passion-- have always just been a myth-- conjuring up images of those ridiculous "Spanish fly" ads in the back of sleazy magazines-- right?

Maybe not. Contemporary neuroscience research is leading many people to question that assumption, and the beacon of modern pharmacology has created a whole new class of chemical tools to explore this ancient neurochemical connection. On a medical level, effective chemical treatments for such age-old problems as impotence, premature ejaculation, loss of interest in sex, as well as difficulty achieving erection, sufficient lubrication, and orgasm are now available. There is also a variety of chemical means to increase one's physical sensitivity and subjective enjoyment of the sexual experience. These substances can be used to help make disabled people healthier, and they can also be used by erotic engineers to make great sex even better. Most significantly, there are now chemicals available that appear to actually make you horny.

John Morgenthaler, co-author of Smart Drugs and Nutrients, recently published a new book-- Better Sex Through Chemistry (with Dan Joy)-- which reveals how to safely enhance one's sex life through nutrients and a new class of pharmaceuticals which they call "prosexual drugs". In conversation with Morgenthaler he told me that in researching the book they started "by doing computer searches of Medline and Embase. These are the largest medical science databases in the world with millions of scientific abstracts. We searched on key words like "impotence" and "aphrodisiac" and to our surprise, we downloaded nearly 15 megabytes of data directly related to prosexual enhancement. This is a huge body of scientific work. We had no idea there would be that much substantial information."

Morgenthaler coined the term "smart drugs" and played a significant role increasing awareness about them. In writing this book he has now made public another popular underground phenomena-- which has been picked up on recently by the mainstream media-- letting the pussy out of the bag, but providing an extremely valuable resource, which overflows with otherwise obscure hard-to-find information. The media's recent attention to the subject has got some people, at least in California, somewhat nervous that the FDA or DEA will crackdown on the usage of prosexual drugs, just as they did with smart drugs and MDMA once their popularity began to increase, and they hit the mainstream. But the chemical revolution currently in motion is not taking place exhibitionistically this time at Raves or in dance halls, rather it is occurring discretely in the bedroom. There are now over a dozen important and fascinating nutrients and pharmaceuticals of interest to sexual enthusiasts and biochemical gourmets which are currently available. Some of the most significant of these are discussed below, and I tested a number of them myself in writing this article. (About myself: I'm 34 years old and sexually healthy. My sex drive tends to run higher than most men I know my age, and the only times that I've ever encountered any sexual problems is when I've been nervous, chemically altered, or overextended.)

Smart drugs and prosexual drugs have a lot in common. As in the case with the majority of smart drugs, all of the major substances discussed in this article share exceptionally low levels of toxicity, and they are all legal. Some of the prosexual substances, such as deprenyl and bromocriptine have also been shown to increase intelligence, booster attention, and benefit memory consolidation. Inversely, some of the smart drugs such as piracetam and vasopressin have been reported to have sexually beneficial effects. According to gerontologist and life extension researcher Ward Dean, M.D., "...anything that improves brain function is probably going to improve sexual functioning."

All of the prosexual substances discussed in this article are also extremely safe, remarkably free of side-effects, non-addictive, and in general improve overall health. This would have to be the case with any substance that improved sexual vitality over an extended period of time, as sex and health are intimately linked. So great is their connection that a healthy sex life is one of the primary indicators of overall good physical health. In fact, Morgenthaler told me that he is "really much more interested in health and longevity than sexual enhancement. For me, this was a way of writing a life extension book that would sell. We are using sex as the hook to sell life extension." Better sex, I'll admit, certainly provides me with additional motivation to want to live a longer and healthier life.

It has long been known that proper nutrition is essential for maintaining the desire, capacity, and stamina necessary for a healthy sex life. Many nutrients and amino acids play vital roles in facilitating the process of neurotransmission and/or bloodflow in regions of the brain and genitals which are responsible for sexual function and sensation. Taking supplements can sometimes be beneficial. For example, L-Arginine-- an essential amino acid readily available in most health food stores-- has been shown to increase the ability to obtain erections and maintain stamina, as well as overall increasing libido, and is reported to also increase the intensity of sexual sensations.

This effect is due to the fact that L-Arginine increases the production of an excitatory neurotransmitter called NO (nitric oxide, the only known gaseous neurotransmitter), which is widely recognized as the sole chemical responsible for causing penile erections. Although less studied in women, one 21 year old female taking L-Arginine supplements has been quoted as saying, "My god, that stuff! I had to stop taking it. I was doing it with every guy that came along." (Could this be what Nancy Reagon meant by "Just say NO."?) So I tried the stuff. My research notes for L-Arginine read as follows:

10:30 am: I swallow two teaspoons of "ProSexual Plus", a passion-fruit flavored cocktail with 3 grams of L-Arginine, some ginko baloba, along with other vitamins and nutrients packed into it. It tastes pretty good. My research partner says "no thanks", and doesn't want to try it. 11:45: Feeling horny for sure, but also a bit edgy and anxious. Kissing and cuddling with my partner is exquisite, but no more so than usual I don't think. No problem getting an erection, but this hasn't been a problem. 12:00: Smoke some grass, which helps to reduce some of the edginess, and allow me to more enjoy the heightened sexual desire. Entering my partner is divine, but not significantly different from the night before. 12:20: Climax is powerful, although not significantly enhanced or altered. 2:00: Still feel energized and slighly anxious, although less so.

Niacin, or vitamin B-3, when taken on an empty stomach causes blood vessels near the skin to dilate for several minutes, which produces the well-known "niacin flush." Sexual activity also causes the skin to flush, through the natural release of histamines. Taking niacin prior to sex, many claim, increases tactile sensations, electrifying the sense of touch, and enhancing orgasms. The niacin rush feels prickly and uncomfortable for me in general, but during sex the flood of histamines seems to feel warm and make me glow. This stuff is certainly worth trying. Many people swear by it and it's very popular. Niacin is inexpensive and available in every vitamin store and even most supermarkets.

Yohimbe, an herb available in most health food stores, is derived from the inner bark of the tree-- Corynanthe yohimbe-- which grows in West Africa. Brews distilled from yohimbe bark have been used for centuries by natives in this region in order to fuel their intense tribal sex ceremonies, which are reported to last as long as half a month. Yohimbine has been isolated as the most active chemical compound in the bark, and although the over-the-counter herbal yohimbe products contain significant quantities of Yohimbine, Yohimbine has recently become available by prescription in the United States, as a treatment for male impotence due to the fact that it can facilitate erections. Yohimbine is the first and only substance to ever appear in the Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR, 1994) that has been described therein as possibly having the activity of an "aphrodisiac".

Yohimbine's action is such that it shuts down a portion of the adrenergic system by blocking receptor sites for the neurotransmitters that stimulate its activity. This adrenergic blockade is believed to be how the body naturally creates erections in men, and to probably be the central means by which this compound stimulates sex drive. Some guys rave about this stuff producing spontaneous, firm, and long-lasting erections. Most of the yohimbe research has been done on men, but according to Morgenthaler there is some anecdotal evidence that it works for some women as well. As an early morning experiment, my research partner and I tried some sublingual yohimbe extract about an hour prior to making love. My notes from the session read as follows:

8:20 am: My partner and I put 20 drops of "Yohimbe Tonic" under each other's tongues, and held the warm liquid there for 60 seconds before swallowing. (Equivalent to 2.5 mg of Yohimbine.) 9:30: I'm beginning to smell the moisture accumulating in my partner's panties. We disrobe and tumble back into bed. I felt what I thought was a slight elevation in blood pressure, as we began to kiss and cuddle. She fondles my penis, and says she just feels horny, nothing unusual. 9:34: I feel warm tingly sensations, which are quite pleasant, and begin to become erect. Her inner lips are moist, and the interplay of passion begins. Mmms and ooohs filled the room. 9:45 The passion intensifies. I begin to wonder if my penis is harder and more sensitive than usual. Maybe. 9:55: I come. Not doubt about it. The ejaculation was far more forceful. I covered her whole abdomen and breasts with significantly more semen than usually comes out of me in just one squirt. There must have been enough to fill a small glass. (She'll confirm this.) 10:00 She has a writhing orgasm, as I'm biting and sucking on her left nipple, and she wiggles a vibrator against her clitoris. 10:05 Post-orgasm, she tells me that, although the orgasm was very sweet, she couldn't detect anything that was any different than usual. 11:10 Out at breakfast my partner remarked that I was shaking. I realized at that point that I had been slightly trembling, and felt kind of jittery and nervous for a few mildly unpleasant hours thereafter.

The Yohimbe certainly intensified my orgasm, although it made me slightly anxious later on. Perhaps I did too much. There was no effect here at all for my partner.

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is probably the most popular of the prosexual substances, and my personal favorite. A large number of people who have used GHB supplements claim that it lowers their inhibitions, while increasing their tactile sensitivity, the intensity of their orgasms, and their overall interest in and ease of sexual activity. GHB is an endogenous precursor to the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, and is found naturally in every cell of the human body. I tested this stuff extensively and found it to be intensely euphoric, and my enjoyment of touching and cuddling appeared to be significantly enhanced. GHB really does seem to have aphrodisiac-like properties, and it consistently made me horny. Although it seemed to interfere with my ability to maintain an erection, and it was definitely more difficult (or more time-consuming) for me to reach orgasm, I noticed a greater sensitivity to tactile sensations, sex was deeper, richer, and more dimensional, and orgasms were significantly more intense when I was finally able to come. There was a higher pitch to the climax, which seemed to be fueled by the tension between excitatory and inhibitory processes.

GHB gave me that "woozy" feeling, and at times I got some pretty strange and strong hallucinogenic rushes from it that were reminiscent of ketamine. Many people compare it to "Quaaludes," some to mild tranquilizers like ativan, others to marijuana, and others to the euphoria that follows a deep massage or that comes with meditation. One must be careful with dosages as just a little bit too much of this stuff will render the person completely unconscious, and thereby incapable of any sexual activity what-so-ever. (That is, unless that person's lover is into necrophilia fantasies.) With high enough doses GHB can induce anesthesia, and has been used for decades as a very safe (although limited) anesthetic. GHB has exceptionally low levels of toxicity, but too much of it will put you to sleep, making it an excellent sleep aid if one is interested in using it for those purposes.

Coming abruptly (as one often does) out of a deep GHB-induced sleep can leave me feeling mildly-to-moderately disoriented and confused for a short while, and on at least one occasion I experienced temporary amnesia. But the following day I usually feel an incredible sense of clarity and well-being-- highly energetic and emotionally high-- due to its secondary effects which significantly raise dopamine and growth hormone levels. This is when I get the real sexual kick from GHB. I'm hornier and sex feels better. By raising dopamine levels the next day GHB may also improve cognitive performance. It also has powerful anti-depressant qualities as well. I found it hard to believe that a substance could make me feel so good the night I did it (usually in around ten minutes), leave me feeling so good in an opposite way the following day with absolutely no "hang-over", and that this stuff was legal, that it was actually good for me, and that it helped me the next day to write better and improve my sex life to boot-- well, this stuff just blew my mind.

But GHB does not work well for everyone, and adverse experiences are not uncommon. In addition to drowsiness and a loss of coordination, some people complain of a mild nausea, dizziness, and others just simply don't like the feeling of losing control. My research partner, who has a history of being sensitive to drugs, had an extreme reaction to the one time she took a relatively low dose of GHB. For the first hour she rolled around orgasmically, comparing her waves of bliss and emotionally-charged insights to being on magic mushrooms. Then she fell into a deep sleep for about an hour, and awoke abruptly feeling very nauseous and dizzy. And although she expressed a desire to make love, sex under the circumstances was out of the question until the following morning.

She vomited several times over the next few hours, could barely walk, and was extremely dizzy and uncomfortable, although she continued to verbalize her unending stream of spiritual revelations. Through the ordeal we shared a deepening emotional bond between us, frequently professing our love for one another. Interestingly though, even with these unpleasant aspects of the session, she claims that overall it was a positive and beneficial experience. Incidently, she told me that she enjoyed and gained more from her experience with GHB than she did from the MDMA that we did together several nights later. A 26 year old student of physics and acupuncture who has a lot of experience with this substance-- told me that she has had "many full-blown psychedelic experiences with GHB. I've seen people completely transformed by a single experience with it."

I found GHB to be especially compatible with cannabis. Smoking grass will intensify the euphoric effect, as well as one's sensitivity to tactile sensations. Many people who have used GHB compare its effects to MDMA, and find it easier to talk to their lover about emotionally difficult relationship issues while on it. It is excellent to use at the end of an MDMA or psychedelic session, as it decreases that "wired" feeling and sends one off into a dreamy space. While GHB is available by prescription throughout most of Europe, it is in a strange grey zone with regard to its legality in the U.S. It is legal to possess and use GHB in the states, although it is illegal to sell it. This stuff was actually sold over-the-counter as a body-building aid in health food stores for years before the FDA found out about its use as a "recreational drug" and banned its sale. But the DEA never scheduled it as a controlled substance. GHB has been a secret for a long time, and most people are still unaware of its existence. Please be cool and follow the precautions if you can find it and decide to try it. No one wants to see it become illegal.

Dosages of GHB vary between a half and a full teaspoon, and one must experiment a bit to find the correct dosage for them that does not make them too sleepy if one wishes to use it for prosexual purposes. A few words of caution: GHB comes on quickly, usually within about 15 minutes on an empty stomach, and it's best to be lying down when it hits. The best place to be is in bed with your lover. One of the most important things to remember about GHB is that a person can become unexpectedly unconscious, and sometimes cannot be awakened from sleep for several hours. Although this is perfectly safe if this happens under the proper circumstances, others who may be unaware of the fact that the person has done GHB could be extremely frightened when trying to unsuccessfully rouse such a person, and mistake them for being in a coma. This is why it is important to inform people around you of the fact that you have done GHB, and that you may be unwakable for several hours. One should never drive under the influence of GHB, and the only "heavy machinery" that one should operate is one's own sexual apparatus.

L-Dopa is an amino acid with a natural presence in the body and many foods. It is one of a series of precursors or building blocks used by the body to manufacture the excitatory neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. L-Dopa was the substance that Robin Williams (playing medical researcher Oliver Sacks) used in the film Awakenings to temporarily rouse a group of sleeping sickness survivors out of their zombie-like states. It is commonly used as a treatment for Parkinson's disease and has been for more than twenty-five years. A substantial number of Parkinson's patients taking L-Dopa develop a syndrome that has been identified as "hypersexuality", and this has been the subject of several medical papers. Dr. Cotzias, the inventor of L-Dopa therapy for Parkinson's disease, personally told Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, authors of Life Extension, that "the FDA delayed approval of L-Dopa for years because of its aphrodisiac side effects, and that aphrodisiac side effects are a greater block to FDA approval than carcinogenic side effects!"

Apparently this hypersexual experience occurs in non-Parkinson patients who take L-Dopa as well, which explains its prosexual popularity. There is also evidence to suggest that it can be used for life extension, cognitive enhancement, weight loss, and protection against free radicals. It is currently available only by prescription in the United States. L-Dopa is in general safe, but should be treated with respect, as there are some precautions and contraindications necessary to be aware of when using it. I strongly suggest consulting with a knowledgeable physician if you are interested in experimenting with this substance.

Deprenyl is the pharmaceutical substance I found most interesting and impressive. It appears to satisfy all the qualifications for being a true aphrodisiac and life-extender better than anything else. Deprenyl-- which works primarily on the dopamine (an excitatory neurotransmitter) system in the brain-- has been shown to significantly increase both sex drive and maximum life span in aging laboratory animals, and many people have verified that at least the elevation in sex drive carries over into the human kingdom. In addition to its aphrodisiac and life-extending properties, deprenyl has been shown to have anti-depressant and cognitive enhancement effects as well.

According to Ward Dean, M.D. deprenyl's subjective effect has been described as "a mild-to-moderate anti-depressant effect, increased energy, improved feelings of well-being, substantially increased sex drive, and more assertiveness" that "can last for several days." A film producer in Hollywood told me that "At forty years old, Deprenyl made me feel like the eighteen year old stud I never was. The effects were not limited to the libido, rather they offered a renewed sense of adolescent physical and mental well being, at least the way I remember it."

Deprenyl is the first pharmaceutical treatment to ever demonstrate an increase in the maximum lifespan of laboratory animals. This means that deprenyl can increase what is commonly referred to as "normal life expectancy", at least in one species of laboratory animals. In several unprecedented experiments, laboratory rats showed as much as a forty percent increase in their maximum lifespans, which is approximately equivalent to a human being living to be one hundred and seventy years of age. In fact, all the members of the placebo group were dead several weeks before the very first deprenyl-treated rat died. In other words, deprenyl caused the animals to live significantly longer than they are generally expected to live. Interestingly enough, it was those animals that had the highest sex drives which coincidentally lived the longest.

I found that 5 milligrams of Deprenyl (a rather conservative dosage) to be extraordinarily uplifting, and to last for approximately two days. It comes on slowly and grows throughout the day. The Deprenyl elevated my emotions, raised my self-confidence, and significantly stimulated my (already hyperactive) sex drive. Strong positive emotions, reminiscent of my late teens, began to reappear on Deprenyl, and, at last, my quest had yielded a true aphrodisiac. This stuff is for real. I simply could not walk down the street without wanting to make love to every beautiful girl that walked by, and it seemed like the world was just swarming with yummy women everywhere I turned. But I also found that sometimes I felt slightly anxious on it. This would always happen when I did some GHB while on the Deprenyl, so I caution against this combination. When the secondary effects of the GHB begin to raise dopamine levels this can push them up higher than they may need to be, which can cause some anxiety. I loved having sex on Deprenyl. It was more intense in sensation, and I simply wanted more of it. Sexual sensations seemed crisper and sweeter. Grass, needless to say, enhanced this. I also found that I came easily, and could have many orgasms.

Deprenyl is currently available in the United States only by prescription, and is prescribed primarily for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. Deprenyl is also extremely effective in treating age-related sexual decline, although most physicians are probably not aware of this fact. There are some contraindications and precautions that one should be aware of before experimenting with this substance. Some drugs, such as other MAO inhibitors and opiates, should never be used in combination with deprenyl, and too much deprenyl can cause unpleasant amphetamine-like symptoms. It is worthy of noting that while most anti-depressants-- such as prozac and zoloft-- appear to inhibit sexual function for many people, deprenyl actually enhances it.

Also known for its cognitive enhancement properties Bromocriptine, an ergot derivative like Hydergine and LSD, has also been shown to significantly increase the capacity for, the frequency of, as well as the subjective enjoyment of sex for many people. Bromocriptine works by stimulating the brain's production of dopamine (which naturally decreases with age and is associated with a decline in sex drive), while decreasing levels of the hormone prolactin (which naturally increase with age and is often to blame for age-associated impotence in men), and increasing testosterone levels when they are low. It appears to have a balancing and normalizing effect on the body's hormonal system, which may help to reverse the hormonal changes responsible for age-related sex decline. Many physicians may not be aware of this. It is most commonly prescribed as a treatment for Parkinson's disease.

Reflecting on his own experience with prosexual drugs and nutrients, Morgenthaler told me that his "sex life was enhanced quite a lot through this approach. I am 35 now and, like most men at this age, I was beginning to realize that my sex function was not quite like it used to be at 20 years old. After finding a combination of drugs and nutrients that work for me I would have to say that my sex life and sexual functioning is better now than it was at 20 years old. Only there is one very significant difference... I have a choice about it. At 20 years old I was on and jacked up and horny all the time. Now, if I don't want to be like that all I need to do is back off on my dosages."

For those of you interested in further research you can follow up on these resources:

To obtain the substances discussed in this article, one can call the Better Sex Through Chemistry Hotline-- 1-800-9SMART3-- and they will mail you (free of charge) a directory of sources for every one of these substances and more, as well as a directory of physicians who understand and prescribe prosexual pharmaceuticals in their practice. The nutritional and herbal products discussed in this article (not including GHB) can be obtained from Life Enhancement Products by calling 1-800-543-3873. They have the only standardized yohimbe extract on the market (so you know the dose you're getting) and they have a very interesting drink called ProSexual Plus that puts all the prosexual nutrients together in one formulation. The book,Better Sex Through Chemistry , is available for $14.95 plus $5.50 shipping from Smart Publications P.O. Box 4667 Petaluma, CA 94955. References for the scientific studies discussed in this article can be found in Morgenthaler and Joy's book on the subject. And finally, Robert Anton Wilson's Sex and Drugs remains a classic in the study of how many common recreational drugs interact with human sexuality.

Do your homework first; read up on the effects and possible side-effects of these drugs, and consult with a hip physician before embarking on this chemically-enhanced erotic adventure. Intelligent use of these substances may be beneficial to those of us interested in designing a sexier, smarter, and healthier race of humans on this planet. And they may help make you into a happier person.







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