When it comes to health-related solutions to better sex, there seem to be few secrets, at least at first glance.
No doubt you've heard by now of the little blue pill, Viagra. Your inbox has likely been flooded at one time or another with questionable advertisements for libido enhancers and diets to increase your sex drive. You may have even done a Kegel exercise or two.
But even aside from these well-known options, there are a host of everyday activities, products and procedures that some say have the potential to spice up your sex life.
Granted, some are more myth than sensual magic. But experts in the field of sexual performance say that some of them could actually go a long way in terms of improving your bedroom performance and libido.
The following pages represent a few of the examples of products, practices and preconceptions that some look to in an effort to augment their intimate experiences. Will they work for you?
Men with premature ejaculation problems may find a solution in a new formula from the United Kingdom that the British press has dubbed "liquid Viagra."
The formula, which recently completed testing in Europe, does not actually contain Viagra, but instead uses the local anesthetics lidocaine and prilocaine to numb the penis and allow men to "last longer" during intercourse.
The drug, known as PSD502, is applied topically five minutes before intercourse and was reportedly rated by two-thirds of patients as "good" or "excellent." Men applying the drug also reported intercourse lasted more than six times longer than before.
According to the researchers, among the 300 men in the study and their female partners, there were few instances of any side effects.
Although erectile dysfunction makes more headlines, experts in sexual health say premature ejaculation is much more common, especially among younger men.
"This is a bona fide company trying to develop a bona fide care for a bona fide problem," Irwin Goldstein, director of San Diego Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital, said of the spray.
Goldstein said ejaculation is normally a reflex that can be controlled to a degree, similar to urination. But in premature ejaculation, "That fires without the person's permission."
Could It Help Your Sex Life?
Daniel Watter, a clinical psychologist, board certified sex therapist based in Parsippany, N.J., said that the spray was probably safe. But he added that the numbing properties of the treatment could have some drawbacks. Specifically, he said, taking the sensation away from a crucial part of the penis could hurt some men's ability to control their ejaculation.
"If you want good ejaculatory control, you have to pay attention to what's going on in your body," he said. "You have to pay attention to where your arousal is."
Linda De Villers, a Los Angeles-based sex therapist and author of "Love Skills," agreed. "I think most of us think it's a bad idea," she said. "It's sort of anti-pleasure focused, saying, 'Let's numb you out and dumb you down.'"
Still, the U.K. proprietors of the formula note in their research that since the solution is applied only to a small part of the penis, men who use it properly should be able to maintain most of the sensation that they would normally experience.
When it comes to condoms, most of the discussion revolves around the prevention of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease, rather than fun.