I'll get right to the point: doing lots of coke might make you feel like a sex god, but all it'll end up doing is killing your boner — and one dude went so far for an chemically enhanced experience that he lost his penis, legs and a few fingers to gangrene.
Still consider cocaine your go-to party drug?
I came across an old NYTimes article discussing a medical warning written by three psychiatrists and published in the 1988 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. In it they discussed a man who had injected a cocaine solution into his urethra with the intention of using it as a numbing agent to prolong his erection.
Sidenote: The interior walls of the urethra feature mucus membranes similar to those found within your nose, offering an alternate method for drugs and other additives to be quickly absorbed through the surface into the blood stream.
The cocaine ended up causing a priapism — a prolonged and painful erection — that ended up triggering a severe case of gangrene that rendered most of his lower half useless. That's when his dick, legs and fingers were amputated. Hawt?
Andrew Spanswick, chairman and CEO of Klean Treatment Center in Los Angeles, offered AfterDarkLA insight into how something like that could happen, as well as the severe physical and emotional effects of relying on hard drugs to enhance situations — sexual or otherwise.
“Cocaine increases dopamine in the brain's receptors — this is the main chemical in the brain that makes one feel pleasure,” Spanswick said. “There are multiple chemicals involved in pleasure but dopamine is by far the most powerful. Sex is often considered the most natural high, with the highest levels of dopamine being released.”
But add cocaine to the mix and users often end up killing the boner that sprung up in the first place.
“Cocaine in and of itself is very much about the brain, but generally in most men it promotes impotence,” Spanswick said. “It constricts and tightens veins needed for an erection.”
When the vessels necessary for popping a chub aren't dilated enough to allow them to engorge with blood, then…well…boners can't happen. And in the case of the above-mentioned penis-less cocaine fiend, Spanswick guesses that his cocaine-induced constriction may have been a bad mix with existing hypertension and ended up causing the priapism that later took his manhood.
“[Injecting in the penis] sounds peculiar, but it's not unusual as users are mostly looking for [suitable] veins,” Spanswick said. “And there's a certain amount of self-destructiveness that comes along with it. I must stress that people need to look at why they are using drugs [in the first place]. It's not just these extreme examples that are the problem — there are secondary effects, people usually pick up sexually transmitted infections when inhibited, and trauma can happen when people don't know how [a drug] is going to affect them.”
Spanswick said more than 50 percent of overdoses happen in people taking more than one drug at a time — alcohol included — as the combinations often change the nature of the substances and even heighten their toxicity levels. This can lead to serious life-threatening results, including respiratory depression and cardiac arrest.
And there's no way to know how that might affect your brain, let alone your plumbing, so chances are you're safer sticking to foreplay, mood music, and an aphrodisiac or three to get the party going.