Why I wrote The Science of Sex
Introduction: Sex sells. Sex has been used to sell countless things, including cars, real estate, beer, cigarettes, and travel. I used sex to sell health by attracting readers who came looking for sexual information and left with much more, including some crucial topics their personal physicians know little about. Has your doc ever discussed endothelins with you? Probably not, but they affect your sex life and life in general.
Knowledge is power. Knowing about endothelins and the many other topics I discuss will help forestall your last trip: to the grave. As a physician dedicated to preserving life, I'll do anything I can to help others, including writing about sex and topics allied to it, which is everything pertaining to health.
This article is part of the
$100,000 Challenge Series
People often think they are enlightened even when they believe things that should have been left in the Dark Ages.
In this series, I will challenge conventional wisdom and explore some odd and unjustifiable beliefs that persist, offering $100,000 to the first person who can solve each challenge, proving me wrong. My opinions are bound to ruffle some feathers and make you think.
Like many people, my life didn't unfold as neatly as I planned. Following the suggestion of the physician/professor who interviewed me during the admissions process, I put serious dating on the back burner so I could put my nose to the grindstone during medical school. Then I'd graduate, find Mrs. Right, and live happily ever after.
That was my dream; my reality was something else.
I wanted to be a dermatologist, but my severe acne problem would make me appear as credible as a 400-pound weight loss specialist. Then I had a bright idea: take Accutane®, then a powerful new drug made to seem like a dream come true for people like me.
At that time, I believed what the medical journals and professors said, but now—decades later—it is clear that pharmaceutical manufacturers use chicanery to make their drugs seem more helpful and less risky than they really are. They cherry-pick studies and pay doctors to hype their products. The latter docs are so common there's a name for them: medical whores.
Oh, but in my twenties, I knew nothing of medical whores. Back then, anyone in a white coat with an M.D. after his name was a saint as pure as the wind-driven snow. I'd be like them and save the world with my frigging prescription pad.
I was naïve.
Accutane proved to be less effective in erasing my acne than erasing my affinity for sex. The latter became less pleasurable than stroking my forearm. Oh, but Accutane was indeed powerful: it replaced the normal sensations with even stronger ones that felt like pins-and-needles: what people experience when they hit their “funny bone” (ulnar nerve at the elbow).
Suspecting Accutane as the culprit responsible for this nightmare (dream-come-true, my foot!), I discontinued it. Sure enough, the pins-and-needles dysesthesias subsided and more normal sensation returned, along with my acne. Patients want dermatologists with clear skin, right?
I wasn't off Accutane long enough for my sensation to normalize, or anything close to it, but my rebound suggested that I could later recover more after permanently stopping that drug. Thus, I was alarmed, but not enough to keep me from taking it again, which exacerbated the dysesthesias. I discontinued Accutane once more, had less pins-and-needles, and again more zits. Wasn't this miracle drug supposed to permanently suppress acne?
Sheesh, just what the world wants: a dermatologist with acne resistant to Accutane. My acne was primarily attributable to my genes, something I couldn't control, but that excuse would do nothing to inspire confidence when I'd later introduce myself to a patient with acne, who'd likely wonder why he or she was paying me to help them when I couldn't help myself.
Back to Accutane, hello pins-and-needles, and goodbye pleasure. No problem, I figured, the Accutane would eventually deliver its miracle cure and I could stop it for good. The partial normalization of sensation led me to think—or hope—that I'd recover several months to a year later.
Several years later, the dysesthesias were indeed long gone, but so was the pleasure. It rebounded a bit but then plateaued. It is difficult to quantitate pleasure, but I'd estimate mine was 5% of what it once was—about as much fun as replacing the tastiest sandwich I'd ever eaten with a stale Saltine® cracker.
My libido took an even bigger hit. My sex drive was virtually nonexistent. When some elderly patients in the ER told me about their sex lives, I was jealous. They were going strong at 70+, and I felt sexually dead. I felt fine otherwise and was bursting with energy, but not in the bedroom.
Let me jump ahead for a minute. A physician/attorney/publisher read my book The Science of Sex and said it was so superior to competitive books that he was eager to publish it. Just one request: he wanted me to delete every reference to my experiences.
That was a deal-breaker for me. I went to a medical school that stressed sex more than most others, and the foremost lesson they inculcated was the importance of making patients feel free to open up about their sexual problems.
What was the best way to do that? To act as if I were just another cold robot in a white coat? Who wants to open up to a cold robot? Anyone?
Certainly not me. When people have sexual problems, it is easy for them to feel alone, as if they are the only ones with those difficulties. I was in the same boat. I preferred to suffer in silence for a decade rather than reveal my most intensely personal problem to anyone, even a doctor in a private room.
When men and women begin dating, they don't immediately open up in all ways. There's usually a slow process in which revealing a personal tidbit prompts the other to reciprocate. As they take turns letting their hair down, they become more comfortable opening up and revealing ever more personal secrets.
Patients don't have this luxury with doctors. Minutes after meeting one, a woman may be in stirrups as the doctor performs a pelvic examination searching for why she feels discomfort if she inserts her vibrator too far, or something even less mainstream. As an ER doctor (the zits didn't clear up in time), I've seen things in vaginas that were as out of place as deep-fried Twinkies® in a health food store.
Many patients said they felt as if they could tell me anything—including things they'd never told their spouse or the family doc they had for decades—even five minutes after meeting me in a very busy ER!
What's my secret? I don't act like a cold robot. As the patient's secrets spilled out, I often got information vital to solving the problem. After I moved and worked my last shift in one hospital, the head nurse on the night shift (my usual shift) took me aside and said that I was the best diagnostician he ever met. In medical school, I was taught that a patient history is 80% of the diagnosis. Hence, eliciting more information gave me an edge.
Virtually every doctor would agree he or she has a professional obligation to do everything possible to maximally benefit the patient. While doctors would say that, few of them have the guts to do it. Instead, most prefer to act like cold robots because it seems so distant, so detached, so professional. In short, it helps them feel better about themselves.
Is that why patients pay doctors so much money? I don't think so.
A true professional puts patient interests ahead—far ahead—of his or her own concerns. If that meant acting down-to-earth instead of coldly robotic, so be it.
Examining young children can be difficult. Many harbor fears generated by prior coldly robotic doctors, so an approaching white coat, stethoscope, otoscope, or tongue depressor can make them scream bloody murder and fight with every ounce of their often surprising strength. This resistance makes the physical examination and procedures more difficult. A child is now walking around with one less eyeball after one of my ER colleagues did a third-rate examination that led to a nightmarish result. Perhaps he tried to blame the child's lack of cooperation during his malpractice trial, but blaming kids for acting like kids is as silly as blaming my chickens for acting like chickens.
My professors gave advice on dealing with resistant pediatric patients:
- Take off the white coat.
- Lower and soften the voice.
- Inflate a rubber glove and draw a funny face on it.
That was it. Since those tips usually didn't work, what then?
In the various emergency departments I worked in—from prestigious ones affiliated with a medical school to a Yuppie Town USA hospital to a friendly, hometown one in Nowhere USA—the standard procedure was to have a parent and often a couple of nurses or ER techs forcibly restrain the child, who'd now be screaming louder than ever, thrashing more violently, and more fearful than ever of the next doc he or she would see. If that didn't sufficiently immobilize the child, we'd put them in a papoose, which is more or less a pediatric straitjacket—just what kids don't need to overcome their fear of doctors. (See Papoose Boards Make Child Restraint ... Easy? Inhumane?)
There had to be a better way.
There was. After a nurse gave me a stuffed animal (ALF) as a gift, I wondered if I could use “him” to turn my interactions with young patients into what they would perceive as a game. ALF was just part of the solution; the rest was the voice I gave him and the things I made him say. After a suitable period of play, I asked if ALF could examine their ears, or listen to their chest, or whatever. Every child said yes gleefully, and as ALF looked or listened, I did, too.
ALF was surprisingly effective even for babies too young to know what he was. A nine-month-old baby was crying so inconsolably that I wondered if he had meningitis. You know what that means: a spinal tap. However, the second he saw ALF and heard his goofy voice—my animated voice—his face lit up in a smile and he made happy baby sounds, which was music to my ears. He didn't cry after that; his mood went from cranky to happy. I needed a stuffed animal, not a spinal needle, to tell me this child did not have meningitis.
In response, adult patients and the parents of pediatric ones sent notes to the hospital administration praising me, giving surprisingly lavish compliments. I never thought that what I did was so great, but it may have seemed that way when compared with what other doctors were doing, which often was little more than patting themselves on the back for acting like a cold robot—just as they were taught by their professors, who never saw the need to innovate even when they had kids screaming for better treatment.
I never had to tell patients about my experience with Accutane, or anything comparable; they just sensed that they could tell me anything, and they did.
I've seen patients die and almost die because they did not feel comfortable opening up to their doctors, or doing that too late to do any good. One woman with breast cancer waited until her breast began oozing pus and rotting before she summoned the courage to see a doctor. I asked her why she waited so long, and she explained that her doctor seemed uptight about anything dealing with sex.
That's an extreme example, of course, but there are plenty of people with sexual or other very personal problems who postpone or permanently avoid medical evaluation because opening up to a robot is more difficult than opening up to a warm, down-to-earth human being. Even I waited many years before I summoned the courage to see various doctors, none of whom knew how to reverse the damaging effects of Accutane. Frustrated by what modern medicine did for me (primarily lighten my wallet), I spent years searching for a solution, eventually finding it and thousands of tips beyond the usual stuff in typical sex books, most of which seem to be thrown together in less than a week by authors who bore readers by rehashing basic info that most adults already know.
However, I wasn't satisfied by merely giving interesting unique tips; I also wanted to help erase the “sex is shameful” message that pervades American culture. Oh, we're very open about sex as long as we act like immature teenagers ogling a bouncing bikini babe in a beer commercial. It is perfectly OK to have risqué T&A oozing out of every television program and commercial, movie, magazine ad, product packaging—you name it. Yes, it's completely acceptable to have sexually suggestive material fed to you 24/7/365, as long as your retina is focusing on images of hot young airbrushed strangers who model for corporations that hope to sell you something. But real sex with a real person is somehow so shameful that it can't be discussed in public, or often even in private (as with a spouse or personal physician), without evoking uneasiness, apprehension, dread, and shame. Isn't this a strange inversion of acceptability? Cheap, inescapable, in-your-face sexuality is routinely exploited by companies that hope to profit from you, but real sex—the kind that makes babies, bonds men and women together, and makes life more enjoyable—eewww!
Sexual problems are often manifestations of diseases that require medical treatment, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, pernicious anemia, atherosclerosis, liver or kidney disease, hemochromatosis, and various genetic disorders. Therefore, a sexual symptom may be just the tip of an even bigger problem. Doctors have a professional and ethical obligation to ferret out disease every way possible. Optimally doing that requires openness from patients, which in turn requires doctors to treat sex as matter-of-factly as they would anything else.
Seeking to fight the inhibitions that keep too many people from getting the help they need, I knew that people reading my book couldn't sense my personality as patients did, so I had only my words to convey the message that it is fine to freely discuss sex. What better way to do that than to actually do it, right?
Hence, when the physician/attorney/publisher eagerly wanted to publish The Science of Sex after I stripped it of every personal story of my problems and how I overcame them, I thought that would lessen the effectiveness of my book, which prompted many readers to reciprocate by telling me things they'd never told anyone else. That helped me help them and others with similar problems. Along the way, I've uncovered previously undiagnosed medical conditions, such as genetic disorders (most treatable), pernicious anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, and much more.
Some sexual problems are just about sex, but many are manifestations of more general problems. Our sex drive is one of our most intense, basic instincts. Decimating that often requires significant problems, many of which can prematurely kill you or make your life much less enjoyable than what it should be. Doctors are thus professionally and ethically obligated to help patients in every possible way, but many are not willing to do what it takes. They'll be damned if they'd say the things I made ALF say; they'd rather hold their head—and their nose—high as they reached for the needle to do a spinal tap.
For them, looking like a good doctor was more important than being one. I saw alarming evidence of this when I walked in on my boss (the dumb one) one day while he had his arms crossed, just waiting for a child to die, so he could later lie to his parents that he did everything possible. I stepped in and saved the child's life. I've had some very challenging saves, but that one was so easy I'd be surprised if a beginning intern couldn't do it. If Dr. Dumb Boss struck out on that easy case, how could he possibly help others? And why was such a nincompoop head of the ER? He married the daughter of one of the richest men in town and hobnobbed with the elite at the local ski resort. He was Hollywood handsome but hellaciously hazardous to patients. He stood so far from the child nearing death that one might have thought the kid was radioactive. I've seen ER doctors botch cases before, but I'd never seen one give up on a patient who as, as I proved, quite saveable.
In my next book of ER stories, I'll present my longest story ever about one of the most out-of-control ER patients I'd seen. I won't spoil your surprise about what happened, but Dr. Dumb Boss opined that it was better to risk her life than to risk the doc not looking good. Bizarre priority, in my opinion.
When a patient matters less than their self-assessment, there's clearly a problem. They're patting themselves on their backs when patients or their parents would love to be kicking them in the butt, yet too many docs still love the congratulations they give to themselves for acting like cold, professional robots.
When I did many radio interviews years ago to promote my first book of ER stories, I asked the hosts in advance if they wanted me to euphemize the adult terms. Almost none did; instead, they told me to use anatomically appropriate language. The most common explanation they gave was that people expect physicians to matter-of-factly use the correct terminology and sound like a doctor.
Thus, I will sound like a doctor in completing the above story of what Accutane did to me. Not only did it decimate my libido and sexual pleasure, but it affected my performance, too. I needed 45 minutes to get a partial erection that would soon vanish. If it were that bad now, I wondered, how much worse would it get when I aged?
Desperate to find a solution to my problem, I dug deep and uncovered ways to not only reverse the damaging effects of Accutane, but to make sex better than ever. My improvement is not due to the effects of Accutane (finally) wearing off, because I generally must take or do something to go from neutral to overdrive. I suspected, and later proved, that the many tips I acquired to help men and women reverse the sexual effects of Accutane would help others, too, so I began writing about sex. I included a sex chapter in Fascinating Health Secrets, intentionally placing it last, yet I found most people would skip straight to that chapter. Sensing an unmet demand for good sexual information—not the insultingly obvious and usually unhelpful stuff in most sex books, I decided to write a book focused on that topic.
Around that time, I was contacted by a famous sex author who was impressed by my material. She had an interesting proposal: we'd collaborate on writing a book, which we'd market using her celebrity and good looks. She was so eager to complete the book she suggested that she temporarily move in with me as we worked on it day and night. That was more than tempting. She wasn't dating anyone at the time, and neither was I. I was no longer an Accutane sexual cripple, and she was smoking hot and loved sex. Use your imagination to think of what my imagination was imagining. If not a dream come true, then at least an opportunity to have a chance most men never get. She never explicitly said we'd have sex, but what she verbalized was equivalent to dangling a glass of lemonade in front of a man in a desert dying of thirst. We discussed the healthy meals we'd make, and I suggested occasional R&R on my Sea-doo—the same one I'm now selling (along with my Ski-doo and shed) to help a deported person reenter the United States. Sex or no sex, it sounded as if we would have a great time together.
Just one not-so-little problem: her idea on how to divide the profits: 85% for her, 15% for me. That struck me as an insult, especially considering some of her amateurish ideas. To truly understand sex and solve sexual problems, one must know neurology, physiology, anatomy (including neuroanatomy), biochemistry, pharmacology, endocrinology, nutrition, urology, gynecology, and much more. I probed the depth of her knowledge and found a very shallow stream. I wasn't eager to float my boat in her stream despite her mouth-watering appearance and revelations in phone conversations that could awaken dead men.
I calmly objected to her proposed 85/15 split, and she blew a fuse in such a way that I instantly knew her impossibly yummy body had kept other men from ever challenging her. She was used to getting her way, and she wasn't going to budge: 85/15 or hit the road, Jack.
I hit the road and kept writing. A urologist glanced at one of my manuscripts in the middle of the night in the hospital, and he was glued to it for hours, as if he'd found the Holy Grail of sex.
If I could mesmerize an expert, I had something worth reading. The time it took for people to read and digest the info in my 500+ pages was a good investment with many rewards: better sex, often better than they ever thought possible, but also better health, improved appearance, more energy, and a better mood, too.
From what my professors said, they were clearly proud of the sexual education they gave us, which they said was considerably more than what most medical students received. However, even though I graduated in the top 1% of my class (and hence learned almost everything they taught, and then some), what I learned in med school wasn't enough. Although it would make your jaw drop and your eyes bug out, even that was woefully inadequate to help most patients. I needed to know much more to help myself and others, so I kept learning, performed research, and even serendipitously stumbled on ways to do things I'd never thought about, such as increase penis size.
“From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth, from the laziness that is content with half truth, from the arrogance that thinks it has all truth—O God of truth deliver us.”
— Hugh B. Brown quoting an ancient prayer
“Scientific inquiry is a hit and miss proposition, subject to constant checking and rechecking.”
Comment: That isn't always true. In the real world, scientists are often just as hidebound and close-minded as others.
Like other doctors, in medical school I was taught that penis size is fixed at the end of puberty. Who could argue with that? The evidence seemed overwhelming. Then, completely by accident, I did something that triggered what amounted to a “second puberty” of penile growth. In terms of size, the only difference between this “second puberty” and real puberty is that the penile growth was much more dramatic the second time.
At that time, I wasn't trying to increase my size. I didn't have a girlfriend to impress, so size was the last thing on my mind. I was just trying to stay alive. I'd taken a medication that triggered a cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat) as a side effect. My cardiac output (the amount of blood the heart pumps per minute) was so low that I'd often need to rest three times on my 350-foot journey to my mailbox. My arrhythmia was so severe that I'd often almost lose consciousness and I'd always go to bed wondering if I'd be alive in the morning. Without medical insurance yet with a fear of dying, I spent one Christmas Eve day in an ER waiting room after asking the nurse to code me only if I collapsed. (I told more of that day in another article: My ER story: From ER doctor to ER patient … almost.) I stared at the ground for hours, fearing the monumental hospital bill I'd surely get if I did code. I was an ER doctor, thus I knew how to treat arrhythmias, so I treated this one, hoping I wouldn't die before the effects of that second nightmarish medicine wore off a few years later.
Drug companies and some doctors are reluctant to admit that the drugs they love so much often trigger problems that are worse than the original one and last much longer than they should based on simplistic assumptions of drug elimination half-life. Oh, what medical schools don't teach students, but should.
Correlation does not prove causation, so even though I suspected Nightmare Drug #2 triggered my arrhythmia, I was so enamored with its positive effects that I took it again (just one dose), resulting in an arrhythmia flare that lasted a few days.
OK, two correlations do not prove causation. My fondness for Nightmare Drug #2's positive effects led me to take it twice more, just one to a few doses each, a few more times over the next several years. Each time, more arrhythmia.
I scoured the Internet and found others with abnormal heart rhythms triggered by Nightmare Drug #2, but no mention of this in the scientific literature. Of course, medical whores and the drug companies they work for are often remarkably deaf when people try to tell them about problems with their drugs. I'd reported the adverse sexual effects of Accutane to its manufacturer and then called them years later to discuss the same problem, at which time they claimed they'd never heard of such a thing.
What planet are they on, I wondered? I'd reported it to them, and they'd never heard anything of the sort? Hogwash. I've heard from hundreds of men and women whose sexual lives were shattered by Accutane, which richly deserves the black eye it has received on the Internet, where individuals are free to say what the medical whores will not.
With that as a preface, and with my medical school lessons convincing me that safely enlarging the penis without surgery was a pipe dream, it should be clear that my mind was on surviving my arrhythmia, not my size or any of the associated effects, such as skyrocketing libido and sensation that easily surpassed my best teenage day. Every minute of every day, constant arrhythmia made me perpetually fearful of dying. The treatment for it helped somewhat, but even talking could make me short of breath.
I'm now (years later) 99% better and wise enough to realize that I and other doctors aren't going to save the world with our frigging prescription pads. Many drugs are less helpful and more harmful than what they are commonly believed to be, often treating one problem and creating another. Of course, when even drug companies put on rose-colored glasses and file adverse effects reports in a wastebasket, it is easy for them to hide their heads in the sand until an attorney comes along and gives them a message they can't brush off.
Doctors are humans who are bound to consider their personal experience, and that of their patients, with various drugs. That data is generally insufficient to draw firm conclusions, so we're taught to refer to textbooks and journals to see what works, and what doesn't. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that when there is a lot of money to be made, medical whores will say whatever their bosses want them to say. Doctors who get on the team can live like kings on the piles of money they make by lying, distorting the truth, and suppressing evidence that doesn't please their masters: drug companies, not patients.
In another article, I explained why I went from being an influenza vaccine advocate to one who thinks that its avid proponents are either poorly informed (as I once was) or insufficiently intelligent to connect the dots. That article also reveals how drug companies use things—from money to sex—to get doctors to prescribe their products.
If you're intelligent, that should tell you something. Doctors aren't stupid; if a drug works, or if they think it works, they'll use it. Do doctors with many years of education really need to be educated by former cheerleaders or models? Believe it or not, that's what drug companies love to hire. Many drug reps look like Hollywood stars on good days in their prime. People who work in sales are often attractive, but drug reps leave them in the dust in terms of appearance. It is that supreme appearance, and the charm that often accompanies it, that earns them fat paychecks that some doctors would envy. If drug companies were more confident in the value of their products, they could reduce their expenses and boost their profits by being less selective in terms of appearance. Women who look like Heather Locklear often won't work for the peanuts given to Plain Janes, but to drug companies, the expense of hiring supermodel clones is just passed along to consumers, who pay for those drugs in more than one way.
Drug companies love to brag about how much they spend on research, but they spend even more on marketing and the foxes who do it. One study estimated that “the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development, contrary to the industry’s claim.”
“Contrary to the industry’s claim.” Translation? Pharmaceutical manufacturers lie, and have been lying for years, using exorbitant research costs to justify exorbitant drug prices.
As much as I wanted to believe in the value of my frigging prescription pad, I've seen a mountain of evidence suggesting that medicine, as it is currently practiced, is the wrong approach to health. Even if I overlook every side effect of every drug and treatment, something just doesn't add up. When you consider all of the supposedly miraculous medical advances, you might think that people would enjoy radiant health and live to 120. Instead, I see people in the local upscale tourist town—denizens and visitors alike—who often look like malformed marshmallows with premature aging, have all the zip of a tortoise, and once-in-a-blue-moon smiles. If the medical cure isn't killing us, what is?
Perhaps it is our increasingly abysmal lifestyles and diets. Doctors give lip service to prevention, but they do a reasonable job only for a few diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Yet even for those common diseases, doctors routinely omit countless helpful things proven or suspected to be helpful by researchers who aren't medical whores. I've spent many thousands of hours keeping up with that research, while most doctors can only keep up with the meager continuing medical education (CME) requirements, many of which are based on medical whore propaganda.
Doctors also do a good job of pushing vaccines, some of which are a godsend, but others—such as the influenza vaccine—are not nearly as effective as their supporters claim.
If you read my article on the flu vaccine, you're bound to wonder why doctors and hospitals who profess to care so much about patients are so vehement about the flu vaccine and so silent about other things that do even more to prevent influenza and other infectious diseases.
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out why. Some of it is pure ignorance by people too lazy to do anything more than swallow drug company propaganda hook, line, and sinker. The other explanation is that the practice of medicine is heavily influenced by money.
Many doctors are too rushed to do a good job. A man with erectile dysfunction (ED) is often given Viagra® or a comparable drug as a Band-Aid cover-up even though ED is usually a red flag indicating the presence of a ticking time bomb such as atherosclerosis, hemochromatosis, or various endocrine disorders such as diabetes. If infectious disease specialists were similarly daffy, they would advise patients with scarlet fever to skip antibiotics and instead get a tan to help camouflage the rash.
Doctors do not have the training or the time to do even 10% of what they should do to augment patient health and happiness. We need a new medical specialty, but who would fund it? Drug companies? Ha! The clueless Congress that is filled with people enriched by drug companies? Medical schools filled with brainwashed drug whores?
Politicians are scratching their heads, wondering how to pay for healthcare without rationing it or drastically cutting payments to doctors. Instead of devoting energy into finding solutions, they brainstorm ways to make rationing seem like it isn't. However, it is inevitably coming, unless we focus on health, not treating disease.
The national myopia about health is so severe that few people even understand Basic Fact 101: 99.9% of what we get is medical and surgical care, NOT healthcare!
True healthcare could obviate the need for most medical and surgical care, hence medical and surgical care would be easily affordable.
Wouldn't the expense of healthcare just replace the expense of medical and surgical care? No.
People like things that are easy, fun, inexpensive, convenient, and save time, so I came up with a way for people to become healthy even if they and their doctors are too busy to learn about health. For most users, my pending advance won't cost them a penny; in fact, it will save them money, it will save their “health” insurance companies money (ultimately leading to more affordable premiums), and it will save the government so much money it might not go bankrupt.
Skeptical? I don't blame you. People are naturally skeptical when inventors come out of nowhere with grand promises. However, this is no pipe dream; I've already made it work. I even surprised myself by inventing a way to significantly reduce its expense and enhance its performance and reliability while slashing its size and maintenance. All of that will add up to more dollars in your pocket, better health, and more time to enjoy life.
After that, I will release another invention whose effect is so miraculous—another Holy Grail—that it seems to (but doesn't) defy one of the most basic laws of science.
So why did I write The Science of Sex? Because I was tired of putting my faith in experts who impressed me more with their wall of credentials than what they could do for me, which was next to nothing.
Experts are often slow to see the value in new ideas. Experts were not kind to the sages who introduced the germ theory of disease. Bullshit, said the experts, it's crazy to suggest that germs too small to be seen with the naked eye could possibly cause disease—but even schoolchildren now know they do. Experts have been so wrong about so many other things that they often seem less brilliant than they do hidebound and unimaginative.
Years ago, experts widely believed that it was impossible to significantly improve intelligence, but I serendipitously stumbled upon a way to do that. My sixth-grade teacher said I was “slow” and as late as the end of 10th grade, I had such difficulty in school that my plan to deal with it was to drop out and get a job in one of the Detroit auto manufacturing plants.
However, when I returned to school in the fall, I could equal or surpass the performance of the school Einsteins. I got all A's and changed my career plans from working on an assembly line to medicine.
I went to college and did so well in it and on the MCAT exam that I was the one person accepted into my medical school class with just three years of college. My classmates congratulated me after I was accepted into Alpha Omega Alpha—the med school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa—after my second med school year, which they said was a rare honor reserved for students with exceptional grades. I graduated in the top 1% of my class, the director of my residency program commented that I was the smartest resident they ever had, and one of my bosses said I was the smartest doctor he ever met. He had access to my educational records and said I had an IQ of 160, but that doesn't matter to me. You know what most eggheads with 160 IQs do? Not much. They fritter away their potential on things that don't amount to a hill of beans.
In any case, aren't these implausible accolades for someone who once was a class dunce? Sheesh, I would have flunked 10th grade if my teachers gave me the grades I deserved, yet a few months later I'd performed most of the mental upgrades I needed to go from dunce to doctor.
Thus, when I hear experts arrogantly acting as if they have the final answer on everything, I question their proclamations. In doing so, I've found several that are dead wrong: a man can't increase his size without surgery, a person cannot substantially improve his IQ, significant weight loss without willpower isn't possible, and healthcare can't be easily affordable. If there weren't an easy way to lose weight, I would still be the blimp I once was: too fat to see my feet when I stood up. A year later, with plenty of pizza and breadsticks, I looked like this:
The experts were wrong in every case, but they now realize the brain is more plastic than they once thought (neuroplasticity). Years from now, neuroscientists will finally accept what I learned in the 1970s about boosting brainpower. I helped myself, and I helped various struggling students, some of whom are now professors teaching the next generation of medical students.
Experts were even wrong about one of the most basic drug types they prescribe and recommend as if they are candy. A radio talk show host bitterly complained about how doctors at the local Top 100 hospital repeatedly missed chances to tell him that the high-dose Motrin he took (800 mg three times daily) delayed his healing. On October 4, 2010, ScienceDaily published an article entitled Surprise: Scientists Discover That Inflammation Helps to Heal Wounds. That was no surprise to me. I figured it out years ago and discussed that in my book, Fascinating Health Secrets, published in 1996. The ScienceDaily article was based on research published about a year ago, so how did I know that over 15 years ago? By thinking logically (instead of blindly accepting what drug companies say), I figured out many things before mainstream medicine and science woke up. If I have time, I will eventually publish a comprehensive list of the things I knew before the experts did.
Years ago, as virtually everyone was convinced that the United States was destined to be the world's indomitable economic superpower, in the late 1980s I read the writing on the wall and concluded that we were headed for an economic collapse. When I published that opinion in my second book in the 1990s, when the U.S. was still riding high, people likely thought I was dead wrong, but now I appear as if I had a crystal ball. I know very little about economics, so how could I see what even Nobel Prize-winning economists could not? By opening my eyes and seeing what is utterly frigging obvious.
If you would stop letting experts and leaders think for you, you would likely be surprised by what you would dream up. The experts know less than what they think they do, and you know more than you think you do. Anyone smart enough to read this article is a light-year ahead of where I once was. If you followed my dunce-to-doctor tips, you could leave me and the experts in the dust. When others like you did the same, the U.S. economy would roar to life, and collectively we'd leave China in the dust.
The experts were wrong about Accutane, Motrin (and drugs like it), sex, brainpower, weight loss, examining pediatric patients, the economy, making healthcare affordable, and so many examples in history that they'd fill a book. They and our leaders abused the trust we placed in them, so it's time we think for ourselves.
I went to college at a time when there was fierce competition to get into medical school. Things were so bad that some pre-med students sabotaged others, such as by intentionally screwing up their work in organic chemistry lab or quantitative analysis lab. I thought this was nuts and made as little sense as a soldier shooting the man next to him in a foxhole because they were both competing for women. With one exception, I am not competitive with others, just with myself, forever trying to improve my performance in absolute terms, not relative to others. The exception: I love to combat the kind of small-mindedness that makes people ridicule good new ideas and incorrectly say that something is impossible when it isn't.
I read a book in the 1970s that said it was impossible to make an airplane or tank (etc.) transparent to radar. Roused and even electrified by such pessimistic close-mindedness, I immediately thought of a way to do that. I told one of my engineering professors about my idea, and he suggested I submit it to the government, which led to me connecting with the researchers then developing what we now know as stealth technology. I later stumbled upon a substance that absorbs radar and other microwave energy like a sponge. My first idea required some esoteric knowledge, but the second would be utterly obvious to anyone with eyes connected to a brain that could put 2 and 2 together. Probably hundreds of millions of people have seen the same phenomenon I did that led to my radar sponge idea, but they didn't make the small mental leap from seeing that to considering its relevance to radar.
If you scour my websites and books, you'll see I've done many things besides becoming a doctor, and my most notable achievements won't be publicly known for a few more years. I simply don't have time to mention 99% of what I do, but the 1% I do mention should suffice to prove that by keeping an open mind, one can do what others deem impossible. You could do it, too. But the experts? Too many of them are too busy patting themselves on their backs.
Here's my advice to overcome the tendency to rest on one's laurels: pretend as if your past achievements don't matter; that you must prove yourself anew every day. 1% of the population receives a doctorate degree, and 1% of them graduate in the top 1% of their class, as I did. That means 1 in 10,000 students will do what I did, and 99.99% will not. If I wanted to rest on my laurels, I could have spent my time golfing as other doctors do, but resting on my laurels is stagnation tantamount to death. I'm going to keep moving forward and do things that make what I did in med school seem like a piece of cake. You could do it, too.
Commenting on my Fascinating Health Secrets book, an Information Technology worker for the Air Force Space Based Laser program in Los Angeles, CA wrote:
“I'm speechless. Well, as speechless as I get. ;-) Fascinating Health Secrets is simply a fantastic book. I can't begin to tell you what a pleasure it is to read — my brain gets such a great workout it feels like drinking 5 cups of coffee. Rarely do I find something so mentally stimulating that I can actually feel my IQ rising as I read it. Apart from the health tips themselves, there is so much killer material in the book. From your forays into discussing medical insurance and healthcare, to the observation that it is exceptional individuals who drive society and technology forward, I found myself laughing out loud, and nodding in total agreement. Please accept a virtual handshake and hearty slap on the back for such a wonderful piece of work.”
Exceptional individuals do drive society and technology forward. I don't want to be one of those folks whose idea of technology is purchasing it at Best Buy; I want to be (and am) one of the ones creating the next generation of products that will knock your socks off. To repeat myself once more, you could do it, too.
To do that, you will need a spine in addition to a brain. Anyone who goes where no man (or woman) has gone before is bound to be ridiculed by small-minded people who, bereft of imagination and suffused with jealousy, cling to the past instead of looking to the future. Polymath Nathan Myhrvold remarked that a friend of his said that “you can’t do anything new in the world without being misunderstood.” True. History abounds with examples of how brilliant innovators were scorned and ridiculed. For all the lip service we give to valuing new ideas and those who generate them, we're often allergic to the former and eager to lambaste the latter, preferring to reserve our adulation for cute dysfunctional celebrities and professional athletes skilled at playing children's games.
Most people simply don't like creative ideas. They say they do, but researchers found that creative ideas elicited strongly negative reactions. They said that creative ideas “can trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortable.” Even when there is a desperate need for change and the creative solution is wholly positive, most folks prefer the old way of doing things.
Analogous to coating a vitamin pill with candy
Imagine that you want to help people become healthier and happier.
Imagine you know that people are much more likely to read a sex book than a health book.
Imagine that you know how to integrate health information into a sex book without making it health-book-boring.
Imagine that I figured this out years ago. No need to imagine that, because I did. People seeking sex info got more than they expected along with health information that will make them happier, healthier, more attractive, and more likely to live longer.
Now you know why.
The $100,000 challenge: Persuade me that doctors who act like cold robots can possibly do as much as down-to-earth doctors to make patients open up. If that seems impossible (and it is), persuade me that it is preferable for patients to not open up. Good luck.
- Andrea Kuszewski: The Sexing Up Of Science (I'm Coming Out! And So Can You!)
- Science Cheerleaders Perform at the USA Science and Engineering Festival
- (Finally!) Medical Education Needs More of a Public Health and Prevention Focus Excerpt: “Historically, the public health, population health, and prevention aspects of medical education were often omitted from physician training.”
- Evidence of Nerve Damage in About Half of Fibromyalgia Patients
Comment: I never believed it was “all in their heads,” but many physicians do. Despite the professional image doctors like to project, many of them mock patients (behind their backs, of course) when the docs are clueless about the true cause of the problem. Rather than admit they don't know, or science doesn't know, they maintain their self-image as know-it-alls by ridiculing patients.
- Plastic Brain Outsmarts Experts: Training Can Increase Fluid Intelligence, Once Thought To Be Fixed At Birth
- Brain-Training To Improve Memory Boosts Fluid Intelligence
- Of Mice and Memory: 'Working Memory' of Mice Can Be Improved
- U.S. Public May Not Be Aware of Important Uncertainties About Drug Benefits and Harms
- Pharmaceuticals: A Market for Producing 'Lemons' and Serious Harm, Analysis Finds
- Patients and Doctors Are Being Misled by Published Data On Medicines, Germany Study Suggests
- Should Doctors Be 'Selling' Drugs For The Pharmaceutical Industry?
- Selective Reporting Of Antidepressant Trials Exaggerates Drug Effectiveness, Report Finds
- Publication Bias Found Among Trials Submitted To FDA: New Study
- Is It Right for Drug Companies to Carry out Their Own Clinical Trials?
- Do Financial Interests Result in Positive Results in Scientific Research?
- Sponsoring by the Pharmaceutical Industry Can Bias the Results of Drug Studies, Study Suggests
- Financial Conflicts of Interest Are Associated With Reporting of Positive Study Outcomes, Research Reveals
- Better Transparency Needed On Medical Journals' Competing Interests, Experts Say
- Positive Results More Likely From Industry-Funded Breast Cancer Trials
- Drug Trials Funded by Industry Are More Likely to Publish Favorable Results, Researchers Find
- Drug Company Funding Of Drug Trials Greatly Influences Outcome
- Disclosing Financial Conflicts Of Interest To Research Participants May Not Be Enough
- Drug Company-Sponsored Events For Health Professionals Fail To Disclose Financial Ties, Analysis Finds
- Pediatric Clinical Studies Appear Prone to Bias, Review Shows
- Medicine's Secret Archives
- Testosterone Production Study Challenges 25-Year-Old Scientific Dogma
Comment: One of many examples illustrating how scientists are often darn sure of things that may not be true.