Chemicals that help peoples’ sex lives can be found in some really unlikely places.

Normally, tramadol is described as an analgesic: like acetaminophen, it changes how the brain senses pain, effectively relieving it without changing any of the causes. Tramadol seems to function like morphine, binding to opioid receptors, and thus earns the fairly awful title of “opiate agonist.” As you might imagine, though commonly prescribed and safe for osteoarthritis, it’s not an over-the-counter drug. Combination with sedatives such as alcohol, narcotics, or tranquilizers can be very bad. Overdose is possible, and possibly lethal, and getting hooked on it isn’t common but does happen to some. So, not something to mess with at random.

It does sound very dangerous when put that way, doesn’t it? On the other hand, hundreds of people die of aspirin overdose worldwide each year, so like everything else in life, care and moderation are the watchwords.

What does this have to do with sex, you ask? Thank you for dragging me back on topic.

This chemical seems to have very different effects on men and women. Nearly opposite, in fact, with potential uses for both.

In men, tramadol not only simulates the effects of opiates but also reduces sexual sensitivity, which a lot of men would find useful. It seems to diminish the intensity of orgasm but allows for whatever amount of endurance is wanted. Mixed blessing, I suppose.

In women, tramadol appears to greatly increase sexual sensitivity. Both ability to orgasm and orgasmic intensity are seriously ramped up, and combined with the good mood the drug encourages to begin with… Well, good things happen. I have had real trouble finding medical information about this, since pathology (study of what went wrong) is more of what medicine is about, but anecdotal evidence seems pretty consistent.

Stranger, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure.