Think and Grow Rich: Sexual Transmutation Demystified

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 4-Hour Body" by Timothy Ferriss. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want to know how to improve sex drive in men? How can The 4-Hour Body help improve libido and sex drive?

A man’s sex drive is largely tied to his testosterone levels. If you want to know how to improve sex drive in men, focus on the hormones.

Read on for how to improve sex drive in men, including two protocols for increasing testosterone.

Overview of How to Improve Sex Drive in Men

Men’s testosterone levels have a huge impact on their libido and sex appeal (testosterone affects pheromone production). However, improving your sex life isn’t as simple as just injecting your body with external testosterone.

There are two major hormones related to testosterone production:

  1. Luteinizing hormone (LH), which tells the testicles to make testosterone. 
  2. Sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which makes testosterone inert. When it’s inert, your body can’t use it.

To increase your bioavailable (usable) testosterone levels, you’ll increase LH and decrease SHBG.

Two Protocols for Increasing Testosterone

Through self-experimentation, the author developed two protocols to increase testosterone levels, leading to higher libido. While he was experimenting, he increased his total testosterone from 245 to 653 ng/dL and his bioavailable (non-inert) testosterone from 150 to 294 ng/dL. One night when he was on a dinner date, all the women in a restaurant were interested in him, and he had great sex with his date later.

The first protocol is for maintenance and the second is for a boost right before sex. (Shortform note: The protocols are covered in two of the book’s chapters and the dosages vary between chapters. We’ve included the range given by both chapters.)

Protocol #1: Maintenance

Protocol #1 for how to improve sex drive in men involves diet, using supplements, and temperature manipulation.

Diet and Supplements

To keep your testosterone levels high, before bed and every morning, eat the following:

1. 3,000-5,000 IU of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D helps build muscle, which makes you stronger and improves your performance. Once your blood contains 50-55ng/mL (after approximately four weeks) maintain it at that level. Increasing it further may be dangerous—more than 150ng/mL is toxic.

2. Two capsules of fermented cod liver oil. Cod liver oil contains, among other things, vitamin A, which increases testosterone production.

3. Vitamin K(2) via butter fat (cook your eggs in it) and/or lacto-fermented foods such as kimchi or sauerkraut. Vitamin K(2) helps prevent vitamin D toxicity and strengthens the effects of vitamins A and D.

4. Three Brazil nuts (only if you’re deficient in selenium). Selenium increases the quantity and quality of sperm (up to a point—if you get more than 400 mg a day, it actually harms sperm, and, according to the author’s experiences, causes acne). You might be deficient in selenium if:

  • You eat meat (which is normally rich in selenium) that comes from animals who grazed on selenium-poor soil.
  • You’ve spent time in the metabolic state of ketosis, which is when your body gets most of its energy from burning fat. The Slow-Carb Diet puts you in a state of non-permanent ketosis (cheat day avoids the diet being permanently ketotic).
  • You have high mercury levels. Selenium binds to mercury. To decrease your mercury, you might try chelation, but it hasn’t had much effect on the author so far.
How to Improve Sex Drive in Men With Temperature Manipulation

In addition to using diet and supplements, take two 10-minute cold showers or ice baths a day, one before bed and one after waking. The author believes this is effective because the area of the brain that’s stimulated by cold exposure is the same area that produces most of the body’s GnRH, a hormone that triggers the release of LH.

Protocol #2: Short-Term Boost

Protocol #2 for how to improve sex drive in men is purely diet- and supplement-related. The day before you plan to have sex, consume one of the following:

  • Option #1: Consume at least 800 mg of cholesterol all at once within two to three hours of going to sleep. (Cholesterol is mainly produced at night.) Cholesterol decreases SHBG, and decreased SHBG will result in more bioavailable testosterone. 
  • Option #2: Drink a shake made of the following ingredients at 4 pm and then again before going to sleep:
    • 2 raw egg yolks
    • 4 tbsp almond butter
    • 12 oz whole milk, organic or raw
    • ½ tsp cinnamon
    • 3 tbsp chia seeds
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Four hours before sex, eat the following:

  • 20 almonds. The author has a higher sex drive after eating almonds and suspects it’s due to their high vitamin E content. Vitamin E has three relevant characteristics:
    • Combined with vitamin A and selenium, vitamin E is a treatment for androgen deficiency (low male sex hormones).
    • It combats oxidative stress, which can decrease sperm and testosterone production.
    • It stimulates the hormonal chain that eventually results in the release of LH. 
  • 4 Brazil nuts
  • 2 capsules of fermented cod liver oil and vitamin-rich butter fat

Side Effects

The protocols for how to improve sex drive in men involve eating a lot of cholesterol and protein, which the author thought might cause side effects because:

  • The Lipid Hypothesis suggests that cholesterol is bad for your heart. The author is skeptical of this hypothesis because there’s scientific evidence to the contrary and when he tried to lower his cholesterol, he became tired and his testosterone levels decreased.
  • Too much protein can affect kidney function.

After following Protocol #1 for four months and eating a lot of red meat and additional protein for another experiment, the author got tested. To his surprise, he found that his diet hadn’t caused any problems:

  • His cholesterol actually lowered.
  • His creatinine and BUN, which indicate kidney stress, were slightly elevated but still within normal values.
How to Improve Sex Drive in Men Using Testosterone

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Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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