Viagra – and its ‘herbal equivalents’ – are essential additions to many gay men’s weekend away bag – but what are the risks involved, asks Alex Hopkins.

For some gay guys, the party never seems to end. What was supposed to be a civilised night out for a light fish supper and a few small sherries can quite easily lapse into a meth-fuelled orgy. And why not, you may ask - that is surely what national holidays are meant for? 

We’re gay men, and there's an expectation to fuck like porn stars and stand to attention for hours – days even – on end. The realities, however, are different things entirely, and the body has a cruel way of rejecting one’s insatiable desires (especially when one reaches a certain age). 

The solution for the gay party animal is to ingest the entire Gay Alphabet – C (Cocaine; Crystal), K (Ketamine), G (GHB), M (Mephedrone), V (Viagra) - by the time Monday morning comes knocking at the door with Auntie Comedown. Of these sweet little pills and powders, it is perhaps V (Viagra) that holds the most prized place in the metropolitan queen’s bulging bathroom cabinet – for without a hard-on, what is the point in anything? But what are the alternatives to Viagra – and what are you letting yourself in for if you gobble them?

image of viagra pills on white background
Got any V?

Let’s start with Viagra

The so-called miracle pill first came on to the market in 1998 and is known by various other names including Sildenafil, Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil). But let’s just be easy – much like the men who take it – and call it V (as in “Hey, man, you got any V?” at 4am in the corner of a chill-out). The big no-no’s: don’t take it with alcohol and especially not with poppers as it can lead to a sudden and severe decrease in blood pressure. Being found in a compromising position with your hair in rags and teeth on the floor in a sauna cubicle is not something any mother wants to read on her son’s post-mortem report, is it?  

And so, to avoid such an eventuality – but keep the purple-headed warrior pulsating – we have the Viagra equivalents…


Yohimbe is an extract that comes from the Yohimbe bark in South Africa, and before the advent of Viagra was widely recognised as the best herbal aphrodisiac. It’s also (and this is important) the only herb to have been approved as a treatment for erectile dysfunction by the FDA in the United States. 

Dietary supplements and ‘foods.’

Beware! Any products marketed as ‘dietary supplements’ which promise to trifle with your erection can be dangerous. Yes, they may include the active ingredients of FDA-approved drugs (Viagra, Cialis and Levitra), but they can also be packed full of undisclosed nasties which can cause all manner of problems. Avoid anything that is sold in a single dose in vending machines; you don’t know what you’re getting.

dietary supplements
Beware of dietary supplements that promise an erection...

Herbal Viagra

Barely a day passes without you receiving an unsolicited email promising everlasting life to your Gut Wrench. Delete! Delete! Delete! ‘Herbal Viagra’ will not usually contain sildenafil citrate – the key ingredient in Viagra. The FDA has warned that the these ‘herbal’ brands often contain synthetic chemical compounds similar to sildenafil – which, to put it mildly, can be risky. Don’t touch anything that is sent to you as spam – and particularly anything that promises you a throbbing tool in just 30 minutes – ‘cos, hate to say it, worse-case scenario and all that, you could be in a body bag in less time.

So, then, what can you do to ensure you keep those orgasms coming thick and fast all weekend…Only one solution really, isn’t there? Cut out a few of the letters of The Gay Alphabet!





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