Snake oil - Page 2


Just do something.

"Just do something" also explains why some patients report an immediate improvement when they start antidepressants, even though the real effects may take as long as two weeks to kick in. There is also, more directly apropos here, the Viagra effect, whereby a filled prescription for magic beans reliably produces enormous, um, beanstalks, whether or not you ever open the bottle. You pointed out yourself that expecting to have disappointing, dysfunctional sex nearly guarantees that you will have it, so it shouldn't surprise you that merely knowing there's help available if you need it can be enough to break the cycle. If not taking a pill can fix you right up, it shouldn't be news that taking one, even a pharmacologically inert one, can work even better.

There is one strange addendum to that, though, if you'll stick with me: your snake oil pills may contain something besides snake oil, chalk, and blue dye number 26, and guess what that something might be? Consumer protection agencies both here and abroad have tested some alleged herbal supplements and found them to be adulterated with ... sildenafil citrate. That's Viagra to you, bub. You might be better off just getting the real thing. At least that way you'd know the dosage you're not taking.



Andrea Nemerson has spent the last 14 years as a sex educator and an instructor of sex educators. In her previous life she was a prop designer. And she just gave birth to twins, so she's one bad mother of a sex adviser. Visit to view her previous columns.

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