Some of the hope for stem cells making life better is legit, while other stuff is bogus.
One area that is getting significant attention commercially is how stem cell interventions might provide people with a better sex life.
How would that work?
Is it real or bogus? Could it even be dangerous?
This is the first post in a series about stem cells and sex. It is intended to introduce the topic before I go into more detail in later posts.
There are a variety of ways that stem cells have been pitched to improve people’s sex lives. I’m not sure I believe in any of them.
- Aphrodisiac? Some folks are selling the notion that stem cells are an aphrodisiac. This idea is exemplified by Stem Cell Soup No. 7, which I blogged about here earlier this year. The myth goes that if you eat this soup from animal stem cells you will be more interested in sex. This is bogus and potentially unsafe, not to mention a rip-off.
- Sexier, younger looking skin? Stem cell cosmetics are also often being sold based on the idea in advertisements that stem cell-based creams, most often targeted to women, will make them younger and sexier by rejuvenating their skin at the cellular level. I’m skeptical.
- More hair? Stem cell cosmetics are also claimed in some cases to regrow hair, making people sexier and younger looking as well.
- Enhanced body parts? Another more extreme concept is “enhancement” of body parts related to sex. For this stem cell sex application, most commonly we hear about stem cells being used for breast, vaginal, or penis augmentation. Certain physicians and others are selling the notion that stem cell procedures are the ticket to being sexier via have bigger breasts or what they call a “rejuvenated vagina” for women or a bigger penis for men.
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED)? Many clinics sell stem cell interventions for ED. I guess the rationale is to improve blood flow, but I’m skeptical.
Overall, there isn’t much evidence for any of the above–for safety or efficacy–even as the marketing of stem cells for better sex has ramped up dramatically in the last year. As much as some folks may be uncomfortable with this topic, many patients are paying big bucks to get rather extreme stem cell-related procedures done to them in the hope of a better sex life so this is something that needs to be discussed.
In the next post I’ll talk about specific procedures being sold by doctors and clinics making medical claims of improved sex lives/a sexier you.
Note: in a previous version of this post I included a reference to sexual dysfunction in some stem cell patients. However, after a very good comment by commenter Beprecise and giving it more thought, I deleted that paragraph because it may have caused some confusion and the problem in such patients is due to chemotherapy rather than the stem cell treatments themselves.