Male Enhancement: Is It Worth a Try?
Nonpresciption methods of male enhancement and male enlargement range from the possibly effective to the downright dangerous.
Herbs and Male Enhancement
Thousands of years before Viagra, men were consuming everything from horny
goat weed to powdered rhino horn in hopes of boosting sexual performance. The
remedies persist for men who can't get their hands on prescription drugs like
Viagra or who prefer "natural" cures.
But many doctors are wary of traditional medicines. When Boyle's patients
come to her with bottles of herbal supplements, she tells them she cannot vouch
for their safety or effectiveness unless the FDA has reviewed the claims on the
No herbal remedy can restore erections like Viagra and its prescription
counterparts, says Steven Lamm, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at New
York University and author of The Hardness Factor. But Lamm says these
remedies may be appropriate for men who have experienced a decline in sexual
performance but do not suffer from a diagnosable sexual problem. Lamm has
endorsed an herbal remedy, marketed under the Roaring Tiger label, that
combines horny goat weed and other herbal extracts with the amino acid
L-arginine. (The supplements are made by the same company that makes the
The Way to Happiness in Bed
The Internet is rife with scammers who seek to prey on men's insecurities,
Levine says. "All the pills, topical creams, and gels are worthless. Many men
would clearly rather spend $20, $50, $100 on the Internet than go to the doctor
and get real information."
In some cases, men are harming themselves in the pursuit of a bigger penis.
Levine cites "jelqing," a technique involving hours and hours of intense
stroking. He says he has patients who have developed Peyronie's disease due to
violent stretching of the penis through jelqing.
It's ironic that the male preoccupation with enhancement seems to be
independent of the needs of women, the supposed benefactors of improved sexual
performance. A recent study found that 85% of women are pleased with their
partner's penis proportions, but 45% of men say they want a larger penis. Given
that the vast majority of men fall within a certain penis size -- about 5.5 to
6.2 inches long when erect -- most men fall within the normal range.
And there's plenty of debate on whether size matters at all. The most
sensitive nerves in the vagina are found close to the surface, Lamm notes, and
the clitoris is found on the vagina's outside. So there should be plenty of
ways to satisfy your partner that have nothing to do with pills, creams,
surgery, or devices.
(Have you tried or considered
trying a male
enhancement product? Talk about it on the Men's Health: Man to Man message