Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guide to Aphrodisiacs: Aphrodisiacal Drugs

The search for drugs which could act as sexual adjuvants is probably almost as old as the human sex instinct. Originally, the interest focussed on plant and animal preparations, which are discussed elsewhere. Here some pure chemicals, synthetic or isolated from plants, are reviewed:

* alkyl nitrites
* anafranil
* anti-Parkinson drugs
* chlorophenylalanine
* Viagra, the active compound being sildenafil
* yohimbe and yohimbine

Alkyl nitrites

Volatile alkyl nitrites have been used during the last decades for "recreational purposes", including to intesify the sexual experience. The alkyl nitrites are normally distributed in glass ampoules, which are opened/broken and the vapours of the contents are inhaled ("popping" and "snorting"). However, because of the route of administration it is very difficult to control the dose and to ascertain that no dangerous quantities are inhaled.

The first alkyl nitrite to be used in this way was amyl nitrite, originally made available as an antidote to hydrogen cyanide poisoning. When this became a prescription drug in the United States, various homologues and isomers began to appear in the market for "recreational purposes" as legal substitues. Among the substitutes were n-butyl nitrite, iso-butyl nitrite, iso-amyl nitrite, sec-butyl nitrite and n-propyl nitrite.

Their use has been associated with methemoglobinemia and hemolysis. (The first term means that your blood hemoglobin is converted into a chemical which cannot transport oxygen, the second term means that your red platlets are destroyed.) It has even been suggested that there could be a link between the inhalation of alkyl nitrites and the development of Kaposi's sarcoma, a disease normally associated with AIDS Numerous references on the use of alkyl nitrites as aphrodisiacs are available. Please consult these before even thinking about using alkyl nitrites!


Yohimbine is the major active constituent of the bark of yohimbe, Corynanthe yohimbe (Rubiaceae), a tree growing in tropical West Africa (Nigeria) and Cameroon. Yohimbe has long been used by the local population for its perceived high sexual potency. The same alkaloid also occurs in the South American tree White Quebracho, Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco (Apocynaceae).

Yohimbine has had an extensive use in veterinary medicine, e.g. for treatment of impotent breeding stallions. In both animal and man it produces a complex pattern of responses, such as anti-diuresis and central excitation, including elevation of blood pressure and heart rate, increased motor activity and irritability. Sweating, nausea and vomiting are also common after parenteral administration in man.

Roger J has sent his personal observations on the use of yohimbe to the Aphrodisiacs Exchange. His observations should be useful to anybody tempted to try the preparation.

"Having used Yohimbe Bark for more than one year now, I would like to give the following advice to any one who would like to use this herb to its highest effectiveness:-

1. Different brands of commercially prepared products have different dosages, regardless of what it says outside the bottle. One has to 'try it out' before its 'true strength' is known.
2. If you have serious side effects with it, e.g. nausea and sweating, etc. try switching to another brand - it may not be due to yohimbine itself, but the way it is prepared.
3. To avoid side effects, try taking the herb with a full stomach. It slows down the response time but reduces the side effects remarkably.
4. If you take the herb continously (e.g. every day), you will find the effectiveness decreasing cos it seems that the body gets used to it. Try taking it on alternate days or stop it altogether for a while. When you take the herb again after a short hiatus, it works wonders!

All the above is from my experience of using Yohimbe Bark. And finally, I must say that the herb is wonderful - it produces erections as hard as steel, and increases the force and volume of ejaculation tremendously. I feel like as if I were still 20!"


High levels of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) are belived to lower or inhibit human sexual activity. Thus, a chemical inhibiting serotonin production might be expected to have a potential as an aphrodisiac. The amino acid p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA) is a known serotonin inhibitor, and in 1969 it was shown by Tagliamonte et al. that PCPA has a sexual stimulating effect upon normally sluggish male rats. Out of 80 rats treated with PCPA and pargyline 54 tried to mount at least 6 times during 12 hours.

However, it was pointed out by other researchers that the mounting frequency only referred to homosexual mounts. When PCPA was used in a heterosexual situation the copulation frequency of the treated male rats did not increase.

To this it was objected that the treated rats were known to be vigorous copulators, being able to achieve 6-8 ejaculations before satiation. It might be difficult to raise this number even by using a powerful aphrodisiac.

On the other hand it was also suggested that PCPA works not by enhancing sexual motivation, but rather by altering the male's ability to adequately distinguish appropriate sexual partners. On the third hand, rabbits injected by PCPA displayed a compulsive sexual behaviour that lasted up to 3 days (fortunately, no details given).

For a full account of the PCPA controversy check out the references.


"Three clinical psychiatrists had a paper in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry entitled "Unusual Side Effects of Clomipramine Associated with Yawning," describing 4 patients who, while taking the the anti-depressant drug Clomipramine (brand name Anafranil) reported the unusual side effect of spontaneous orgasm every time they yawned.

The first case of this was a female patient who had been depressed for 3 months, but under treatment "Complete symptom remission occurred within 10 days". She then asked how long she would be allowed to go on using the drug, since she had observed that every time she yawned she had an orgasm, and she was able to experience orgasm by deliberate yawning.

Apparently it can work for guys too. One male patient said that while he found the repeated climaxes "awkward and embarrassing", he elected to continue the medication because of the therapeutic benefit he obtained. The awkwardness and embarrassment were overcome by continuously wearing a condom."

Around five per cent of clomipramine users report the side effect, though for most people the drug inhibits the ability to reach orgasm. The New Scientist says that the drug's users have been comparing notes on the Internet and speculating on its unusual consequences: people who experience it would presumably seek out the most boring person they could find at parties.

Anti-Parkinson Drugs

A side effect of many anti-Parkinson drugs, including L-Dopa is to increase the sexual interest, mainly by restoring the interest to earlier (higher) levels. More information on this will be added shortly, please come back!

Other drugs

Several other drugs have been ascribed aphrodisical properties. Such drugs can be simple amino acids, such as arginine. Elsewhere on the WWW a 21-year old woman is quoted saying:

My god, that stuff! I had to stop taking it. I was doing it with every guy that came along!

But they could also be more complex drugs like piracetam, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), bromocriptine (=Parlodel) or deprenyl. Medline-retrieved reviews on deprenyl are available.

Nitric oxide, NO, was discovered to be a transmittor of nerve impulses only eight years ago. It is know known to be a key substances in the process that leads to erection in the male body. However, since it is a gas, which is only required at a very specific location it has turned out to be extremely difficult to use it for amorous purposes.

More information on the use of "other drugs" as aphrodisiacs will be added shortly.


Badoual T, Thyrault M, Anguel N, Jallot A, Auzepy P: Acute voluntary poisoning by inhalation of "poppers" (letter). Presse Med 25 (7): 304 (Feb 24 1996)
Tytgat J, Daenens P: Solvent-free sample preparation by headspace solid-phase microextraction applied to the tracing of n-butyl nitrite abuse. Int J Legal Med 109 (3): 150-154 (1996)
Forsyth RJ, Moulden A: Methaemoglobinaemia after ingestion of amyl nitrite. Arch Dis Child 66 (1): 152 (Jan 1991)
Dunkel VC, Rogers-Back AM, Lawlor TE, Harbell JW, Cameron TP: Mutagenicity of some alkyl nitrites used as recreational drugs. Environ Mol Mutagen 14 (2): 115-122 (1989)
Newell GR, Spitz MR, Wilson MB: Nitrite inhalants: historical perspective. NIDA Res Monogr 83: 1-14 (1988)
Bogart L, Bonsignore J, Carvalho A: Massive hemolysis following inhalation of volatile nitrites. Am J Hematol 22 (3): 327-329 (Jul 1986)
Poulsen PA: Consumption of volatile nitrite in the clientele of a clinic for venereal diseases. Ugeskr Laeger 146 (17): 1280-1281 (Apr 23 1984)
Poulsen PA: Alkyl nitrite as an aphrodisiac. Ugeskr Laeger 145 (29): 2213-2215 (Jul 18 1983)

A. Tagliamonte et al.: Compulsive sexual activity induced by p-chlorophenylalanine in normal and pinealectomized male rats. Science 166, 1433-35 (1969)
J. Ferguson et al.: Science 168, 499-501 (1970)
R.E. Whalen and W.G. Luttge: P-Chlorophenylalanine methyl ester: an aphrodisiac? Science 169, 1000-01 (1970).
A Zitrin et al.: Sexual behaviour of male cats after administration of parachlorophenylalanine. Science 170, 868-70 (1970)
G.L. Gessa et al.: Aphrodisiac effect of p-chlorophenylalanine. Science 171, 706 (1971)

No comments: