Sex. It is the only topic that can claim the highest importance to humans. We enjoy it, we do it, we need it to continue as a species, and to some extent everything we’ve built as a culture is to have more sex.
Even nootropics are used (directly and indirectly) to have more sex. We use smart drugs to gain more concentration, focus, memory, learn better, and all to be more successful, prove our fitness, and attract better mates.
So why not use nootropics for the purpose of improving sex directly?
Thus far, I’ve found no well-researched content regarding supplements and their impact on sex. Like my friend Nat Eliason, who has numerous articles on better sex for men, I decided this was a travesty I must amend. Credit goes to him for putting together the great resources and practices to make sex better, more fulfilling, and longer lasting.
In my experience, using nootropics or supplements is often an attempt at a shortcut. People want to find a “limitless pill” that will give them everything they desire rather than putting in some work. With improving your sex life, practices trump supplementation. Kegel exercises, timing, and many others that Nat discusses are your first line of defense.
But when you have done all those things and still desire more tools for improving your libido, increasing testosterone, and having better, longer sex, then nootropics are a powerful arsenal.
Libido and Sex Drive
For those in an intimate relationship or having regular sex, increasing libido and sex drive can be more fun and fulfilling. Everyone loves a bit of marathon sex with a loving and fulfilling partner.
Sometimes one partner has a higher libido than the other, which is where nootropic supplementation can come into play. Whether male or female, there are many good options.
Nootropic: Maca powder
Gender: Male & Female
Dosage: 1.5 – 3 gram
Source: Now Foods Maca
This root vegetable from the Andean highlands in South America has been used by native peoples for enhancing libido for hundreds of years. Modern research has finally caught up. Men ages 18 – 64 increased self-described sexuality, desire, and libido over 12 weeks with no change in testosterone. Read more studies here and here if interested.
Dosage: 5-600 mg fenugreek extract (50% fenusides by weight)
Source: Swanson Fenugreek Extract
Traditional Ayurvedic medicine has used fenugreek for testosterone and libido improving properties. Men aged 25 – 52 showed increased arousal and libido in men without erectile dysfunction. It seems the libido enhancing properties are only researched in men, though women may see similar effects.
Nootropic: Panax Ginseng
Dosage: 1 g daily Red Ginseng
Source: Nootropics Depot Panax Ginseng
Ginseng is a popular Chinese herbal cognitive enhancer that also has applications for improving female libido. Existing research focuses on menopausal women and their enhanced sex drive, but middle-aged women will probably have similar (albeit less impactful) effects.
Nootropic: L-Deprenyl (Selegiline)
Gender: Male & Female
Dosage: 5 mg L-Deprenyl
Most of these suggestions are natural and relatively safe options. L-deprenyl is a potent treatment for Parkinson’s disease because it helps increase a brain chemical called dopamine. This same chemical has the side effect of increasing feelings of euphoria and libido. Evidence is scarce, but females taking oral contraceptives will have increased bioavailability (more is absorbed) and thus the 5 mg standard dosage may be too much. Also, this can show up as an amphetamine on drug tests. If you’re planning on using this, be warned.
Nootropic: Eurycoma Longifolia Jack (Longjack or Tongkat Ali)
Dosage: 300 mg of water extract of Eurycoma longifolia
Source: Source Naturals Tongkat Ali
Longjack (aka: tongkat ali) is a natural extract that can increase libido by 14%. The study focused specifically on 100+ men ages 30 – 64 and there is no other evidence regarding longjack and libido. The same study did show an 18.2% increase in sperm volume over 12 weeks.
Optimizing Sex Hormones & Experience
There is a correlation between sex hormones and libido, but according to the research they are two independent things. You can increase your libido without affecting hormones or the sexual experience itself.
Testosterone and estrogen are the two main sex hormones that fluctuate within men and women. Each gender has both hormones, but in varying quantity, which naturally impacts the quality and quantity of sex.
Nootropic: DHEA (Dehydroespiandrosterone)
Hormone: Testosterone & Estrogen
Dosage: 50 – 200 mg
Source: Natrol DHEA
DHEA is a naturally occurring hormone that gets converted into testosterone or estrogen. Taking a supplement can help increase testosterone in 19 – 22 year olds. Much of the research for DHEA focuses on the benefits for menopausal women and some evidence suggests it is unable to affect middle-aged men.
Dosage: 250 mg zinc sulfate
Source: Rugsby Zinc Sulfate
Zinc is an essential mineral involved in regulating a host of enzymes. Many of these are meant to support sex hormones, such as testosterone. Men can increase their testosterone by taking zinc especially if they are already deficient.
For men who are infertile or below average, there are a host of potential options. Shilajit, CoQ10, mucuna pruriens, and ashwagandha all have more research on infertile men.
Dosage: 250 mg collective kavalactones (active ingredient)
Source: Now Foods Kava Extract
For women, sometimes sexual pleasure has nothing to do with hormones or libido. Often it has more to do with anxiety and nervousness Unfortunately, the only nootropics test on the subject is kava, which showed increased female sexual drive attributed to reducing anxiety.
A Time for Men: Erections and Penile Dysfunction
In 2012 the global market for erectile dysfunction medication was $4.3 billion. That’s more than prescription pain medications and that’s why websites and television stations have Viagra and Cialis commercials playing around the clock.
While a prescription pill can be a quick fix for erectile dysfunction, sometimes nootropic supplementation is the safer, more affordable bet. Plus, there are plenty of men who can get an erection, but want a harder or longer lasting one.
Dosage: 14- 18 mg
A meta-analysis looking at 7 different studies concluded that yohimbe can help relax penile tissue and increase blood flow to provide stronger erections. The true dosage of yohimbine is highly variable from product to product. What is reported versus true is different and thus subject to overdose and toxicity issues. Despite how well research shows it works, this could be more trouble than it is worth.
Nootropic: Panax Ginseng
Dosage: 2-400 mg normally, but 2-3 grams Korean Red ginseng for libido / erectile health
Source: Nootropics Depot Panax Ginseng
Usually used for cognitive enhancement or general health purposes, this root is also useful for improving erectile health. The higher doses of 2 grams or even 3 grams are able to help both men with erectile dysfunction and those who desire stronger erections.
If it seems like there is a cornucopia of sexually enhancing supplements, anecdotal reports on community forums and Reddit paint a sobering picture. Many people within these communities have experimented on themselves and noted interactions between nootropics and their sex drive.
One particular theme is between racetams and libido / erectile strength in men. One Reddit user recalled losing his erections while taking piracetam. Despite having a sexual drive “…I would sort of just lose a boner…I would cum not that hard, sort of keep a boner, and be able to keep going.” Within the thread numerous individuals (including well-respected moderators) commented on the same phenomenon.
Another group of anecdotes related KSM-66 (ashwagandha supplement) with a decrease in sex drive and erectile function. Given that ashwagandha is typically considered libido-enhancing, this might come as a shock and undesirable effect.
Try For Yourself
Anecdotes from online nootropics users show how much individuality is involved with these supplements. What works for one person may not for another and it will be a learning process especially when it comes to improving your sex life.
Having more sex is a greater indicator of happiness than money especially when it is with a connected partner. Now that you have a list of nootropics to enhance your sex life (and some to avoid), try it for yourself and enjoy your research.