Eternally hard

Dear Alice, 

On a recent trip to the village, I visited a store selling "Stones" which, according to the guy working behind the counter, make you 'keep cumming and cumming without losing an erection'. It's a little candy looking thing which says you are to rub it on your penis to be able to, as it says on the package, 'cum like a tornado." Is this legit? Should I go for it?

-Potentially Eternally Hard

Dear Potentially Eternally Hard, 

It's great that you're ready to leave no stone unturned to find an answer to your question. Stones were one of many products designed to help sustain erections. They contained a desensitizing substance made from tree sap and other herbs that work in combination to initiate numbing. Locating these numbing products can be quite challenging today, as it appears that these stones may no longer be available for purchase given the many negative side effects people were experiencing. That said, there are plenty of other products or methods that might help you sustain an erection, if that's your intent. Read on to learn more. 

The decision not to sell these stones may be due to the adverse side effects many users have reported feeling. Some users reported chemical burns on their penis after use, as well as inflammation of the glans—head—of the penis and foreskin discharge. Use of these stones has also been known to result in toxicity, with symptoms ranging from nausea and vomiting to hallucinations and even death. Many of these symptoms were attributed to the fact that these stones were a type of cardioactive steroid that was negatively impacting the functions of the heart. This is because cardioactive steroids are typically used to treat congestive heart failure or edema but can cause serious side effects if used incorrectly or without the presence of a medical condition. 

Prior to taking medication or trying any performance enhancing techniques, it can be important to speak with a health care professional. This way they can assess you for any potential risk factors in relation to various medications or suggest an alternative option. Alternative practices or medications a physician may suggest to help you stay hard longer, increase seminal fluid, or delay ejaculation, can include: 

  • Managing your diet. Certain foods, such as fruits, soybeans, whole-grain, seafood, fiber rich products, poultry, and leafy green vegetables may improve your circulatory system. This is important for the facilitation of blood flow during an erection. 
  • Taking supplements. Vitamins, such as Vitamin C, D, and E, and zinc, maca, ashwagandha, amino acids, and fenugreek may improve the circulatory system and boost seminal fluid production. 
  • Exercising regularly. Exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes each day or doing Kegel exercises may reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) and strengthen your pelvic floor. 
  • Reducing tobacco and alcohol consumption. Smoking and drinking alcohol can damage the circulatory system and therefore reduce blood flow during an erection, leading to erectile dysfunction. 
  • Taking prescription medication. Currently, there are four medications on the market approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat erectile dysfunction. These can be prescribed by a health care provider following an examination to assess any potential health risks you might experience when taking the medication. 
  • Maintaining open communication. Establishing open channels of communication with current and future partners about any sexual difficulties you encounter may help to reduce any pressure or unease you feel related to sexual performance. 
  • Using topical products. Products such as desensitizing sprays or delay condoms can delay premature ejaculation by slightly numbing the tip of the penis with a local anesthetic. 
  • Masturbating. Masturbating several times before having intercourse may delay premature ejaculation. 

Although lifestyle changes or medications may address symptoms of ED or premature ejaculation, they may not address underlying issues that could be causing any sexual difficulties you may be having. Speaking with a health care provider or a mental health professional may also help you identify underlying causes of sexual difficulties that may be related to: 

  • Psychological causes. Stress, anxiety, and depression can all increase the likelihood of experiencing premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. Speaking with a mental health professional may help to alleviate your symptoms by managing any emotions that may be contributing to sexual performance. 
  • Medical conditions. Certain conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, neurological disorders, trauma, kidney disease, prostate cancer, and more can lead to erectile dysfunction, due to their effects on the circulatory system. 
  • Medications. A number of medications such as those for blood pressure, cancer, and antidepressants can also lead to erectile dysfunction. It can be important to discuss these side effects with a physician so you can work together to modify your dose or find an alternative treatment. 

Whether you're looking to stones to try something new, or if you have concerns about premature ejaculation or ED, there are lots of options that you might consider to increase the amount of time you’re able to sustain an erection. Speaking with a health care provider can help you determine what route makes the most sense for you. 

Last updated Nov 17, 2023
Originally published Mar 23, 1995

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