Can Science Improve Your Sex Life?

With work, studying or a stressful schedule,
it can be *hard* to find the time or energy for that extra edge in the bedroom. But, could
science have a solution to our sexual woes? It just might… Sexual desire in both men and women is controlled
by your hormones. When something triggers you to be ‘turned on’, the brain and nervous
system send signals to your pelvis, causing blood vessels to dilate. You experience an
increased heart rate, while your brain releases norepinephrine, dopamine and other pleasurable
neurotransmitters which make it clear to your body that you’re having a good time. And humans have long tried to enhance this
biological response throughout history. Unfortunately, there is no real scientific evidence to the
pop culture myth that oysters, chocolate or other so called ‘aphrodisiacs’ will make
you horny. And while Viagra may prolong an erection, contrary to popular belief, it actually
doesn’t make you more aroused. It works solely to inhibit an enzyme so blood flow
to the penis is increased, and only acts on the peripheral nervous system. So popping
the blue pill won’t increase libido, nor will an erection occur without initial stimulation.
Not to mention, it has no effect on women. But it turns out that scientists may have
mistakenly stumbled upon a new sex secret… In an effort to create sunless tanning agents,
scientists were researching melanocortin – a specific protein in the brain which can control
skin pigmentation. Except, when 10mg of the synthetic version called melanotan-II were
injected in a male, an immediate and unstimulated erection lasting 8 full hours occurred along
with nausea and vomiting. At 2.5 mg the erection lasted 2-3 hours with minimal nausea. But
after bringing the dose to 1.25 mg, the males were aroused and had consistent erections
without any nausea. Surprisingly, this drug is now being effectively administered as a
nasal spray – ‘sniff-a-stiff’ anyone? On top of which, the drug works on females
too. When female rats were injected, along with
other hormones such as β-estradiol-3-benzoate and progesterone, they increased hops, darts,
and ear wiggling in front of their male counterparts. These are all actions designed to cause sexual
arousal, and invite male rats for sex. But, before you run out to find this seemingly
miraculous love elixir, just know that it hasn’t been approved or regulated anywhere
in the world yet. However, its derivative called bremelanotide, is currently undergoing
human clinical trials as a potential treatment for a myriad of sexual disorders, such as
female sexual arousal disorder. And since the main mode of action occurs directly in
the central nervous system, it works on both sexes. So eat your avocados, oysters and chocolate
for sustenance…and let science handle the sex. Special thanks to for supporting
this episode and giving you a free audio book of your choice at Audible
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types of literature. We recommend the book “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters
in the End” which tackles how medicine can not only improve life, but the process of
its ending. You can download this audio book or another of your choice, for free, at
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