Viagra Doesn't Work? A Spider Bite Might Help

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Having a little trouble in the bedroom and Viagra doesn't work for you? Help may be on the way, courtesy of a creepy eight-legged creature.

According to a report in the British tabloid the Daily Mail, a bite from a species of spider called the Brazilian Wandering Spider has an interesting side effect -- a four-hour erection.

Of course, the other side effects include muscle control problems, severe pain, and difficulty breathing, which could lead to death. So don't run out and try to find this spider and have it bite you. 

But scientists at the Medical College of Georgia have been experimenting with the spider's venom, and they think it could lead to new treatments for erectile dysfunction.

Dr. Kenia Nunes, a physiologist at the college, gave erection-challenged rats a shot of some of the toxins in the venom and they responded -- in a very big way.

"We found the toxin responsible [for the erections] and performed experiments using hypertensive rats which have severe erectile dysfunction," Nunes told MSNBC. "The toxin was able to normalize the erectile dysfunction in these animals."

Perhaps most importantly, there were none of those pesky side-effects, like death.

Nunes, who published her study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, said she hopes the toxin could also help women who have sexual dysfunction, although that has yet to be studied.

The spider in question is native to Central and South America, usually found on tropical banana plantations -- hence its nickname "banana spider." However, a few of them have been found in some American supermarkets, likely getting here along with banana shipments.

According to spider expert Ron Crawford at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum, only ten people out of 7,000 who have been bitten by this spider have died.