Sexual treatments: The 5 worst to buy online


For many people sexual problems are too difficult to discuss with their doctor, so when issues start they take to the internet in the hopes of finding treatment. While this can be helpful for information (use our tips to help you),  problems start when sexual treatments  are bought online.

Many of these treatments will simply be ineffective but some can be actively dangerous. Products being bought online from outside of Australia are not subject to Australian safety standards and can be made in unsafe conditions. The medications on this list (aside from Viagra) are banned in Australia for ethical or safety reasons, yet can still be bought online.


5.Rhino horn

Contrary to popular belief, rhino horn is not used as an aphrodisiac in traditional Chinese medicine. It is in fact used as a ‘heat clearing’ medication  for a wide variety of aliments, none of which are sexual in nature. Unfortunately, the Western  demand for rhino horn as an aphrodisiac has contributed to the record levels of rhinoceros poaching that threatens the species. To discourage poaching, some rhinoceroses have a substance added to their horn which cause nausea, stomach aches and convulsions in humans when consumed. Some unscrupulous poachers and middlemen may sell on  these contaminated horns uncaring of the effects to consumers.

4. Spanish Fly

Actually obtained from a beetle, the effective ingredient in spanish fly is an irritant called cantharadin. Its success as an aphorodosiac is due to the fact that it irritates the genitals as it passes through the body and this can be mistaken for sexual arousal. However its true power lies as a poison with similar effects of strychnine. Fortunately,  most commercial preparations contain no or negligible amounts of cantharadin 1.

3. Kava

Used for ceremonies in the South Pacific, kava  produces effects similar to those from drinking alcohol. It produces feelings of  elaxation and well being leading to it being recommended as an aphorodosiac.  When used over a prolonged period of time, it can induce acute liver failure. Cases of liver failure attributable to kava have occured in people taking over the counter preparations of kava for as little as two weeks. Other side effects include apathy, breathing problems and worsening of mental health issues.

2. Yohimbine

Unlike many other herbal treatments for sexual dysfunction, yohimbine has been clinically studied for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Currently there is  insufficient evidence to support it as a treatment 2. Yohimbine can have unpleasant side effects at low doses and serious side effects, including death, at high doses. It is possible to reach doses associated with serious side effects from the taking of over the counter yohimbine 3. People with medical disorders including depression are at increased risk of side effects and it has many troubling interactions with other medications.

1. Online Viagra


Viagra is one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world. Viagra tablets bought online have been found to contain the wrong medication; dangerous medications  such as amphetamines; too much Viagra and ingredients not intended for human ingestion 4.  These are common issues in medications bought online and  can have serious consequences for the person taking the tablet. Additionally, some of the tablets contained no Viagra at all.

Even if you received the correct tablets, it is not recommended that you take Viagra without medical supervision. Viagra can have serious side effects and should not be taken in combination with other medications.


It is worth knowing that no herbal medication or dietary supplement is clinically proven for the treatment of sexual dysfunction. The majority of sexual treatments are likely harmless, however side effects can still occur. This is particularly common if you are taking other medications.

Even if online sexual treatments were effective and harmless, it is important to discuss sexual dysfunction with a doctor. Much sexual dysfunction, particularly in men, is caused by serious health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The treating of the symptom rather than the root problem, risks these problems going undetected until serious health consequences occur.

We understand the lure however, discussing sexual health problems with your doctor can be awkward or otherwise undesirable. That’s why our men’s and women’s health clinics don’t require a referral so you can speak to a professional and receive safe effective treatment.