Viagra vs Aphrodisiacs: two sides of the same coin or totally different?

Even though Viagra has been on the market for 20 years, and other potent ED drugs, such as Cialis, have been available for over 10 years, there is still a lot of misinformation out there on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and on how ED medications work. Here at My Canadian Pharmacy, we get dozens of questions from our customers every day, and many of those questions unfortunately demonstrate that the general level of knowledge about erectile dysfunction, how it occurs, and how it treated is still quite low. One of the often questions we get is why Viagra doesn’t seem to increase libido like some substances called aphrodisiacs apparently do.

Viagra vs aphrodisiacs: two sides of the same coin or totally different

Here is a message sent by our client Perry from Ottawa:

“For a couple of years now I’ve been having trouble getting an erection. It’s not that I’m not interested in sex (I can get it up when I watch porn), but whenever I’m with a girl, I just don’t get that excited. It takes a really long foreplay for me to get into the mood. I haven’t done a testosterone test yet, so I don’t know if it’s hormonal. However, I thought that Viagra should solve my problems anyway, so I bought a pack of Viagra Professional from My Canadian Pharmacy. I have to say that I am disappointed with the results. I do get a good erection occasionally, but the problem is that my former interest in sex has not returned: I just don’t feel aroused. Does it mean that I should increase the dosage? From reading reviews online, I was expecting more impressive results (like a strong erection every time and so on).”

From this short letter, one can instantly see how common it is to confuse two very different sexual issues: inability to get an erection and inability to become sexually aroused. In order to understand why Viagra is not an aphrodisiac and cannot increase your libido, you need to realize how sildenafil and other ED drugs work.

Viagra mechanism of action – My Canadian Pharmacy technician explains

Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and other highly efficient ED drugs available from the leading online pharmacies in Canada – such as My Canadian Pharmacy – perform in a vital function – they allow penile tissues to fill with blood and enlarge, which results in an erection. However, this is just a part of the process, whcih invariably starts with sexual arousal. When a man is aroused, his brain orders the body to produce nitric oxide – a compound that stimulates blood flow. The tissue of corpus cavernosum (part of the penis), which is filled with thousands of tiny cavities, is thus filled and engorged. Once this happens, the blood vessels inside the corpus cavernosum close up, as if they had little doors in them, in order to keep all the blood in for the duration of the erection. Once the sexual intercourse is complete, these doors open again, and the erection goes away (this is known as detumescence). Note that the intitial signal comes from the brain!

A chemical compound – an enzyme –  called PDE5 generally prevents the blood flow to the penis from being too strong (otherwise men would risk walking around with erections most of the time), and in those males who don’t suffer from ED, PDE5 does its job well. However, in those with ED, this enzyme works a bit too well: it prevents blood from flowing properly into the corpus cavernosum even when necessary! This is what erectile dysfunction is: inability to produce a strong enough erection for penetration and sustain it long enough to complete a sexual intercourse.

Sildenafil citrate (just like other ED drugs, such as tadalafil and avanafil) temporarily block PDE5, allowing the blood flow to reach all the recesses of the penis and produce a long-lasting, strong erection, which allows to have multiple intercourses – the effect of such a pill can last up to 5 hours with standard Viagra, 9 hours with fourth-generation meds like Viagra Professional or Viagra Super Active, and amazing 50 hours with Cialis Super Active (these are among the most popular ED drugs with My Canadian Pharmacy customers – please consult our catalog for even more exciting options).

One very important thing to understand is that Viagra works while the pill’s effect lasts: it does not produce any lasting change in the body, nor does it cure erectile dysfunction – it only removes the symptoms for a while. It’s half-life in the body is circa 3-4 hours, and in a couple of days it is completely flushed out of the system – sildenafil does not accumulate in the tisues! Even if a man takes Viagra for months, as soon as he skips a pill, he won’t be able to produce an erection.

Whatever ED drug you choose – Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, etc. – remember that prior sexual arousal is essential for them to work, be it visual or physical foreplay. Viagra does not increase libido!

Why low libido?

There are many causes for low libido among men – many of them are easy to identify and fix, but some may require a visit to a doctor:

  1. Hormonal imbalance: the hormone testosterone is primarily responsible for male libido – it is produced in the testicles, but many glands in the body, when not functioning properly, can produce an imbalance. Get a blood test for testosterone: if it is low, you can take supplements.
  2. Chronic conditions: some systemic illnesses, from diabetes to cancer, naturally reduce a man’s desire for sex; on the other hand, some localized disorders can produce the same effect. For instance, liver issues can prevent it from breaking down the female hormone estrogen, causing a hormonal imbalance.
  3. Medications, alcohol, and drugs. Many meds used to treat chronic conditions (such as high blood pressure pills, beta blockers, etc.) can decrease libido. Alcohol, even though often consumed in order to “get into the mood”, actually lowers sex drive if used regularly. Recreational drugs – especially marijuana – can reduce one’s interest in sex.
  4. Stress: when we are stressed, our body produces hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which interfere with testosterone. This effect of stress on libido is physiological and has nothing to do with the cause of stress or the quality of the relationship between partners.
  5. Depression: contrary to what many believe, depression is not a purely psychological condition – it is associated with changes in the biochemistry of the brain, which affect all hormones in the body.
  6. Erectile dysfunction: when a man cannot produce an erection, it can seriously damage his self-confidence and body image, and his libido will go down as a consequence. In this case, taking Viagra can really fix the issue; however, it will take time. And of course, this will only work for men whose libido was low due to ED in the first place – if your libido is normal in spite of your sexual issues, that Viagra cannot increase it further.

What are aphrodisiacs?

Aphrodisiacs are a general name for substances that are supposed to increase one’s libido or pleasure from sex.

What are aphrodisiacs

They include several different types of remedies, some of whichd definitely don’t work and some just about might:

1. Sympathetic magic – these are ancient remedies for libido, used already in the ancient world, mostly based on plants and animal parts that resemble a penis, such a rhinoceros horn, various phallically shaped roots, and see cucumber. All these are still sold on markets in Asia and Africa for sexual purposes – needless to say, there is no scientific base whatsoever for their touted effect.

2. Foods – chocolate increases the level of serotonin, which supposedly increases sexual desire, while oysters – probably the most famous of all aphrodisiacs – contain zinc, involved in the production of testosterone. Honey is also traditionally considered an aphrodisiac. However, there is no research that would prove that any of these foods actually increase libido. There may be more potential in maca – a root vegetable eaten in Peru.

3. Herbs, leaves, and bark – Some exotic plants, such as ginkgo biloba and ginseng, are traditionally used to treat erectile dysfunction but are mistakenly touted as aphrodisiac. They improve blood flow in the body and thus can indeed have a mild positive effect on erection – however, there is no proof that they increase the sexual desire as such.

As you can see, mysterious aphrodisiacs are a mixed bunch – and there is no scientific evidence that any of them work; definitely, none of them increases testosterone production!

What about homemade Viagra?

A recent wave of online publications about the so-called “homemade Viagra” has prompted a lot of messages from My Canadian Pharmacy customers. Is it really possible to save money and simply make your own ED remedy at home – especially since many articles claim that such a “3-ingredient Viagra” is just as efficient as the pill?

The main ingredient in these recipes is invariably watermelon, usually with lemon and honey added. It is true that watermelon has been recently found to increase the production of nitric oxide in the body. As we have noted before, nitric oxide is produced as a response to sexual arousal and triggers the erection process. Thus, when a man is sexually aroused, watermelon can help make the bloodflow to the penis – and the resulting erection – stronger… as long as there is no sexual dysfunction involved. Indeed, if there is no sexual arousal, there will be no nitric oxide, no matter how much watermelon you eat. On the other hand, if the concentration of PDE5 is too high, the smooth muscle of the penis will not be able to relax and engorge. In both cases, watermelon will not help. As you see, watermelon is neither an aphrodisiac nor a replacement for Viagra. It is another link in the chain, and it can have its uses, but it definitely cannot replace Cialis, Viagra, and other meds offered by My Canadian Pharmacy and other large online pharmacies in Canada.

Complex treatment of the issue

If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, don’t try turning to oysters or rhinoceros horn – choose innovative, efficient, and safe ED drugs, such as Viagra.

On the other hand, if you have low libido in addition to ED, there are some  scientifically-backed ways to solve the issue:

  • Have a full medical check-up to find out if there is an underlying physical cause for your low libido (testosterone test, blood sugar, liver function, etc.);
  • Exercise regularly and lose extra weight: working out is great for your metabolism and blood circulation, as well as for your body image and energy level;
  • Deal with stress: try meditation, breathing exercises, awareness techniques, or yoga;
  • Introduce variety into your sex life – get some kinky toys for the bedroom, buy some sexy lingerie for your partner, or suggest a role-playing game;
  • Get help for depression – if your low libido is caused by depression, make sure to seek professional help (depression cannot go away by itself, it requires medical treatment);

As you see, Viagra is completely different from aphrodisiacs – first of all, because it actually works, and most aphrodisiacs don’t, and second, because they are supposed to treat a completely different issue, which is only rarely caused by ED. Unfortunately, there is no medication for low libido (except for testosterone supplements). However, by following our advice you can significantly reduce or even solve your libido isues. And remember: if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, traditional herbs, roots, or magical home cures will not help you. Make sure to purchase some really efficient, safe, fast-acting, affordable ED pills – just explore the My Canadian Pharmacy catalog and see how much you can save. If you have any remaining questions on ED treatment and low libido, please don’t hesitate to contact the My Canadian Pharmacy customer support center- we will be happy to hear from you!

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