Most men dream of having a magic gun – one that rises to any occasion, is ready for instant action any time they want to use it, whose aim is true and can be sure to fire not just once, but if needed, several times.
This is the James Bond-like image that links guns and penises… Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang. This is not just the phallo-centric fantasy in Ian Fleming stories. It is the shared imagery of men and women, equating potency and power, desire and sexual satisfaction. Bond can shoot his manly way to the heart of the villain’s woman, and save the World in his spare time. Sex sirens like Mae West ask their suitors, ‘Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?’
Mother Nature alas had other plans. She invented sex for procreation rather than recreation, and when a man was past his reproductive best-by date, she all too often disarmed him. This is especially the case now that with Hormone Replacement Therapy women are experiencing ‘Post-Menopausal Zest’. They are preserving their vitality and attractiveness, together with expectations of an active sex life, into their fifties, sixties and even seventies and beyond. What was regarded only as an occupational hazard for ageing rakes and roués, has become a commonplace problem for the majority of men in middle and later life.
This decline in potency was well described as long ago as 1925 by one of the longest standing, if that is the right word, of sexual gymnasts, the writer Frank Harris. In his five volume autobiography ‘ My Life and Loves’, he describes his decrease in firepower with age.
‘My Creator – when I was wholly without experience and had only just entered my teens, gave me, so to speak, a magazine gun of sex, and hardly had I learned its use and enjoyment when he took it away from me forever, and gave me in its place a double-barrelled gun: after a few years, he took that away and gave me a single-barrelled gun with which I was forced to content myself for the best part of my life.’
‘Towards the end the old single-barrel began to show signs of wear and age: sometimes it would go off too soon, sometimes it missed fire and shamed me, do what I would.’
‘I want to teach youths how to use their magazine gun of sex so that it may last for years, and when they come to the double-barrel, how to take such care that the good weapon will do them liege service right into their fifties, and the single-barrel will then give them pleasure up to three score years and ten.’
However, medical science has come up with two new developments which hold the promise of changing this timeless sexual history of even the most naturally well preserved and endowed of men.
HRT for Men
The first of these is Hormone Replacement treatment for men with testosterone, the idea that I introduced in my previous book, Testosterone Revolution. As well as overcoming the lack of libido and energy usually experienced by men going through the male menopause or andropause, it can restore potency in the majority of cases.
In over two thousand such men I have studied in London over the last ten years, in 65% erections improved with the male HRT treatment alone to the point where intercourse was satisfactory. In the remainder, the group now most likely to receive additional benefit from what I call the unholy trinity, Viagra, Levitra and Cialis restored satisfactory erectile function in 90-95%, and in only 1% was treatment needed with methods such as the now thankfully largely superseded penile injections.
Viagra – A Giant Leap for Mankind
In the treatment of erectile dysfunction (E.D.) Viagra is, as described two years ago in my book, ‘a giant leap for mankind’. Probably more men care about putting the manhood back in the man than putting a man on the moon. In fact, this drug can put a man and woman over the moon. by ending the dreaded ED and the misery this causes.
In terms of media attention, it seems to have caught the public imagination just as much, and not even NASA’s triumph made the cover of the two American magazines Time and Business week simultaneously.
Does it deserve this degree of hype? There are compelling reasons for believing it does, both as a major advance in a long neglected area of men’s health, and as the official dawn of a ‘New Era of Lifestyle Drugs’.
Testosterone is the hormonal basis of desire in both men and women, and if it is low, so is the libido. It is the desire and sexual excitement that generates the nitric oxide that increases genital blood flow and lubrication in both sexes, producing erections in the male, and by slowing its breakdown, Viagra prolongs these responses as do the alternatives Levitra and Cialis. This is why both in theory and in practice the two work better together, as my clinical experience at the the Centre for Men’s Health in Harley Street is showing again and again.
The initial findings of work using the two together in a further 100 men as reported in chapter five, suggests not only a higher response rate, but that Viagra works at lower doses, and longer and stronger with additional testosterone. Another reason for combining these treatments is that, as far as we know, Viagra has none of the preventive medical benefits of male HRT with testosterone, especially to the heart and circulation, muscles and bones.
Like oestrogens, testosterone has recently been shown to increase nitric oxide production in blood vessels all over the body, which as in the penis relaxes them and improves blood flow. This is likely to be important in slowing ageing changes in both heart and brain.
The whole subject of nitric oxide and its many important actions in the body is a very exciting and in every sense of the word ‘sexy’ area of medical research. It was only just over twenty years ago that some of its many roles were first discovered, and already it is the target for a billion-dollar pharmaceutical arms race.
With Viagra, Pfizer claimed the first prize, but other closely related drugs such as Levitra and Cialis are selling equally well. There are more glittering rewards for those who can copy or improve on this mighty feat of molecular engineering which made sure-fire erections possible for previously impotent men, the magic gun of their dreams.