Cockring cleaner or clandestine drug?

NOTE: this post can now be found at Skepchick’s Tumblr.


DrRubidium is an analytical chemist that spends her days finding needles in needlestacks. Also a science communicator, she focuses on the the science behind everyday stuff and pop culture.

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  1. It is a drug.

    If you combine it with something like Viagra or Cialis, you could easily end up dead because the phosphodiesterase inhibitors potentiate the action of things related to nitric oxide, but only for some pathways.

  2. A group of votalile alkyl nitrites and alkyl nitrates are often referred to as “poppers”, with some nitrates eliciting similar biochemical responses as the nitrites. The press surrounding Lockerroom’s lawsuit mentioned only the nitrites.

    1. I think most folks call the drug amyl nitrate because nitrates are more familiar. I must admit to having done that myself sometimes, though I should know better. Whatever, that link was trying to point out the potential dangers.

      How come daedalus has appeared up top all of a sudden? I mean, I know the topic of NO is his specialty, but the comment wasn’t there before. Weird.

  3. I’m also not finding nitrates on ingredient lists for other leather cleaners:

    Anecdotally, when I was using, porn shops were the place to get ‘air fresheners’ and ‘upholstery cleaners’ that were made for huffing (brand names like Medusa and Rush), and ephedrine tabs (trucker pills).

      1. The plot thickens!
        The funniest thing, to me, is that the Canadian government is asking nicely that they stop selling it. Nobody in jail, no closing down the shop – it’s so foreign and polite!

        1. Yeah, I know, they all seem so Nice and Decent, don’t they? You wonder if you should even be talking dirty in front of them! I find all that fascinating as only a few hundred years separate them from us – less than 10 generations.

  4. Um, I’m pretty much 100% lurker here, but I can’t let “a few hundred years” go past without correction. My inner nerd is refusing to allow me to move on with my day.

    I’m not clear on when the first human inhabitants arrived in the area that’s now the US, but I’m pretty sure it was after what’s now Canada. I think, though, that you mean the colonial and post-colonial periods. Canada had European contact around the same time as the US (and there are some suggestions of contact before Columbus, but I’m not a history gal so I don’t know how credible this is). It effectively became a country in 1867, just less than a hundred years after the US. There were other constitutional changes, but in terms of having a cultural identity distinct from England, 1867 is probably the most significant date.

    As an aside, I don’t think we’re all Nice and Decent, but every time I hear about crazy drug raids down your way my reaction is basically “it’s so foreign and draconian!” Seriously, as far as I can tell your law enforcement needs to chill right the hell out.

    As another aside, I’m pretty sure we have more dirty talk up here, at least on network television!

    1. Sorry, but where do we disagree? I was saying that the Anglo cultures have diverged in subtle yet sometimes profound ways in a relatively short time, starting from the earliest European migrations as an upper limit. This is not to disregard the real influence of the indigenous peoples, and it could be argued that the Land itself has an influence. Even if I was being a bit facetious, no slur was intended – I simply recognise that perhaps the US (Punch) and Australia(me) may have somewhat “rougher” cultures in comparison.

    2. But Canada actually feels bad about what they did to their First Nations. And you have public healthcare. Sometimes it feels like we could split North America into Good America and Bad America.

  5. You know what would probably make it safer? If it was made in somebody’s bathtub and sold in high schools. And distributed by people that provide their own police services.

  6. Sodium nitrite is used as a cyanide antidote. Does anybody know whether amyl nitrite can be used in the same way? It could be a potential loophole (Yes, Your Honour, I had a litre of amyl nitrite in my posession, but it was to restock my First Aid kit”)

    1. Amyl nitrite can be used as a cyanide antidote, but if you need a cyanide antidote, you really need to be in an emergency room. There is a fine line between the dose of nitrite that is therapeutic and the dose that is toxic, and that depends on how much cyanide you were exposed to and other things. There are other treatments that can assist in cyanide detoxification and also in nitrite detoxification.

  7. Jack99, I totally misunderstood – I thought you were saying America had been an independent country for a few hundred years more than we had. An amazing number of people are under that impression!

  8. Funny thing, my partner works at a store that sold – ahem – “leather cleaner”. I’m all for regulating harmful substances, and the few times I ever tried poppers I got giant headaches that would…um…kill the mood. I wonder, though, that this legislation is affecting the gay male community disproportionally. A lot of small businesses here in Toronto used poppers as a reliable income stream, and there are a lot of guys who feel they need them to enjoy sex. My partner tells me that a blackmarket trade basically sprang up overnight. There was very little warning, and so far as I know, there’s been no investment in the people affected by going cold turkey. I might be wrong about that, but with Harper’s government in power, I always seem to find a downside to anything new….

  9. You guys might be interested to know that we came really close to having a Sex Party candidate in our Senate!
    This is one of their campaign ads (NSFW)

  10. Well, the thing that strikes me about the company’s refusal to pull the cleaner is, it wouldn’t be a huge deal to sell a different brand of leather cleaner that doesn’t contain any nitrites instead. That, is of course, if they aren’t selling this kind of leather cleaner primarily as a Popper. If people are buying it mostly because it is a popper, than of course they won’t want to switch to a cleaner that doesn’t get anyone high.

    Maybe it would be a big deal if this was a formula they developed themselves, and would have to spend big $$$ to reformulate the stuff, but I kind of doubt that that.

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