SINGAPORE: While illicit sex drugs are cheap and readily available in Geylang, experts warn that taking them could do more harm than good.
At best, they might not do anything at all, leaving you high and dry. At worst, they could kill you. In 2008, 10 people died in Singapore after using such drugs, according to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).
Still not convinced? Here are five key reasons to steer clear of these products:
1. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TAKING
They might be laced with potent or banned ingredients. One example is diabetes medicine, which could cause a dangerous plunge in blood sugar and in some cases, death.
"Some of the contaminants will be things that can cause hypoglycemia, which is a drop in blood sugar," said Dr Philip Koh, who runs a private practice.
"Of course, there could be other ingredients that can cause damage to the liver, kidney and all that. We don’t know what else they put inside."
2. YOU COULD GET MORE THAN YOU BARGAINED FOR
They might not contain the right dosage. If taken without medical supervision, you could end up with painful and prolonged erections and, ultimately, impotency.
"Drugs like Viagra dilate blood vessels at an artificially high level so the penis can hold more blood. Post-sex, if the blood is trapped and can’t drain out, it causes what’s called priapism," said Dr Benjamin Choi in Men's Fitness.
"That’s dangerous because when an erection is prolonged, the penis may not get enough new oxygen, and that can cause injury even after just two hours, and critical tissue damage can start after four."
3. THEY COULD BE COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE
They carry names like Black Gorilla and Tiger King, but in reality, you could wait till the cows come home and still see no difference in the bedroom.
"These products are typically promoted for sexual enhancement, weight loss and body building, and are often represented as being 'all natural'," the United States Food and Drug Administration said.
Truth is, there are no guarantees that such drugs will live up to the hours of fun promised on their packaging.
4. YOU HAVE NO CLUE HOW THEY'RE MADE
Pfizer, the producer of Viagra, has released pictures that show where fake variations of their pills are made – and the facilities appear to be a cross between a dirty construction site and a do-it-yourself chemistry lab.
“We have seen counterfeit medicines manufactured in filthy and deplorable conditions, yet some people do not realise the risks that this poses to their health and safety,” said Matthew Bassiur, vice president of Pfizer Global Security.
"Samples of counterfeit Viagra tested by our labs have contained pesticides, wallboard, commercial paint and printer ink."
5. THEY MIGHT NOT SOLVE YOUR PROBLEM
There are other ways to treat erectile dysfunction. Drugs, said sexologist Martha Lee, might not address the root cause of the condition.
"Possible causes include one’s physical, psychological, mental or emotional state. Then there might be issues with body image, intimacy or sexual performance," she told Channel NewsAsia.
"Besides oral medication, treatment options include mechanical devices, behavioural training as well as couples coaching."