Sex Questions from the Twittersphere: Sexual enhancement products in pill form: What’s your opinion on pills? Are they safe?

Question: Sexual enhancement products in pill form: What’s your opinion on pills such as ASP, MaxSize, Aurapur, etc? Are they safe?

It’s pretty impossible to know enough about the safety of such products, because for the most part these kinds of supplements aren’t overseen by any government agency. Since the safety and/or efficacy of even health-food staple supplements have recently been called into question by some large studies, and since you don’t always know all the ingredients in such supplements, I’d generally say proceed with some caution. Some of these have had more actual chem-lab genesis than others, so try to do your research about how they were developed.

Efficacy is another matter, and info here is also not clear. As is true of other so-called “aphrodisiacs,” some may increase your energy level, which may have an effect on your sexual energy or responsiveness; if you get a sexy buzz beyond what you’d get from a good Blue Bottle latte and it doesn’t give you hives, you can probably justify taking the product. But the placebo effect is strong with all these pills; the idea that you just popped something to get hot can actually *make* you hot. An if you’re really susceptible to the placebo effect, the fact that your asparagus spear looks like a little green cock will make you want to eat all your vegetables and then go straight (or kinkily) to bed.

Things that say they’ll make your penis grow? If your wallet is carried in your front pocket and it gets thinner, it will totally make your penis look bigger.

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Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at carolqueen.com.

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