Here’s a fact: young men are having less sex than the generation before them. Despite the array of dating tools we have at our fingertips, we’ve been paralysed by choice. Either that or “relationship culture” has shifted to “hook up culture”—and no matter how good your swipe skills are, it’s hard to line up enough “rendez vous” that you’re having as much sex as you would be in a relationship.
That in mind: if you are then suffering from, ahem, performance issues, you make it even harder for yourself to attract a “friend with benefits.” Or if you are in a relationship, but are not satisfied with your sex life, it could slowly be taking its toll. Before you scoff, remember: 40 to 70 percent of men experience some kind of sexual dysfunction in their lifetime.
This is where supplements come in.
Of course, before you open your wallet, you should have a chat with your local GP, or a qualified nutritionist in order to work out if the problem can be solved naturally, or to get a personalised prescription (even if you don’t get a prescription, it is important to speak with your doctor to get important information about the appropriate dosage and possible side effects of your supplements on the medications you’re currently taking).
That said, if you get the dosage right, and take the right supplement for you, you could open up a whole new world of “bed time” (or lunch time, or—indeed—anytime) possibilities. Emphasis on could—some studies show certain supplements to be effective, others show them to be ineffective—or even potentially harmful. So make sure you do your research before pulling the trigger.
Good for: Enhancing sex drive, minimising erectile dysfunction.
DHEA is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands, which your body then uses to produce sex hormones, according to The Mayo Clinic. Also, according to a Science Daily study, DHEA is relatively safe, and although there are studies which have shown it to be an ineffective supplement, others suggest it can benefit people with decreased libido, improve sexual function, and minimise erectile dysfunction in men.
Good for: Intensifying sexual arousal and orgasm, reducing recovery time.
Fenugreek is one of the only supplements the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found to be worthwhile in a study which slammed “most” supplements as “unproven” and “harmful.” As Science Daily reports, “One study noted (Fenugreek’s) benefit in terms of improving sexual arousal and orgasm, as well as muscle strength, energy and well-being. There were no adverse events reported in that study and many swear by it.
Good for: nothing.
Ginkgo Biloba has been marketed to treat numerous conditions. However there is no convincing data to support its use in men with erectile dysfunction. Also, as Science Daily reports, “It can cause headaches, seizures and significant bleeding, especially if patients are taking Coumadin.”
Good for: Boosting overall sexual health.
Ginseng is a “power” herb that’s long been known as an aphrodisiac in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s also now the most common ingredient in men’s sexual health supplements. But does it really work? A study published in the PMC showed ginseng had a positive effect on volunteers’ libido and sexual performance. It also suggested Ginseng could improve the sperm quality and count of healthy men, as well those with fertility issues.
Horny Goat Weed
Good for: Not being too harmful. Not good for: benefiting your sexual function.
Horny Goat Weed is generally safe, Science Daily reports, with rare reports of toxicity. Unfortunately though, there is no hard evidence (beyond rumours) that it will improve your sexual prowess.
Good for: Erectile dysfunction.
L-Arginine is the most common amino acid seen in men’s health supplements, and is also in about a third of top sellers. It has the theoretical potential to improve erectile function (although more extensive testing is required) and, according to Science Daily, seems relatively safe. One word of warning though, for anyone looking to try this one, is that is often causes a drop in blood pressure—something you should discuss with your doctor.
Good for: Erectile dysfunction.
Although different studies have obtained different results, some found that it’s better to take L’Citrulline, which your body converts to L-Arginine, rather than L-Arginine directly (which gets metabolised too quickly to be useful). One study, for example, done on men with mild erectile dysfunction, showed that L-Citrulline supplements (1.5g per day for one month) amplified 50 percent of participants’ erection hardness scores from 3 (mild ED) to 4 (normal erectile function).
Good for: risk takers…
While yohimbine has shown promise for improving male sexual function in some studies, Science Daily warns, “It can cause hypertension, headache, agitation, insomnia and sweating.”
Good for: sex drive and (potentially) ED.
Although further study is necessary to gain hard evidence for the effectiveness of maca in the improvement of overall sexual function, one experiment published in the US National Library of Medicine, found men who took maca plant supplements for three months experienced a stronger sex drive.