Can Viagra Make You Last Longer in Bed?

By Terez Malka, MD
Medically reviewed
November 27, 2021

Approximately 50% of adult men over the age of 40 experience some amount of erectile dysfunction (ED), and the prevalence increases with age.

Viagra, a prescription drug that contains the active ingredient sildenafil, is one of the most popular medications available for treating this condition. 

Over the decades that Viagra has been available, some myths about the “little blue pill” have grown about its effects.

So it’s natural to have some questions about the drug.

How does Viagra affect sexual activity?

Does it boost sexual performance?

Will Viagra help you last longer in bed?

In this article, we tackle those questions and cover information like what Viagra is used for, how it works, and alternative treatment methods for those struggling with conditions like premature ejaculation.

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What is Viagra Used For?

Viagra is a medication commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), a condition characterized by the inability to get or keep an erection.

Viagra is a small, blue pill taken by mouth. Other treatments for ED include sildenafil (the generic version of Viagra), Cialis, or tadalafil, the generic version of Cialis.

Can you use Viagra to treat premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation (PE), which is when a person ejaculates sooner than desired during sex, is another condition that Viagra may help with—though current research is not conclusive at this time. 

A study that observed 180 men with PE found that sildenafil had a higher efficacy rate compared to other treatment methods like the squeeze technique (which is when pressure is manually applied to the penis to decrease arousal and prolong orgasm).

Another study found that when patients with PE took sildenafil, they experienced increased confidence and the perception of ejaculatory control.

While studies show that Viagra may have several effects that can be useful for treating PE, there isn’t enough evidence to determine whether it truly has an impact on time to ejaculation, or that it can stop premature ejaculation. 

What Viagra should not be used for

There are many misconceptions about Viagra.

Some common myths about Viagra are that it’s suitable for anyone to use and that it increases sex drive.

Neither of these are true.

Viagra should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor or licensed healthcare professional.

If you are young and healthy, you should not take Viagra recreationally to try to improve sexual performance.

In fact, research shows Viagra may not improve sexual function in men without ED.

Viagra does not:

  • Boost your sex drive
  • Increase sexual desire
  • Prevent you from getting tired during sex
  • Prevent performance anxiety
  • Increase penis size

The medication should not be taken for any of these reasons.

How Does Viagra Work?

Viagra is a type of medication called a phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor.

PDE5 inhibitors work by expanding the blood vessels that go into the penis, improving blood flow. When blood flow to the penis is increased, it helps improve the ability to get and maintain erections. 

The active ingredient in both Viagra and the generic version, sildenafil, is sildenafil citrate.

Some people worry about the effectiveness of generic brands.

The main differences between a well-known brand and a generic version are the inactive ingredients used and the cost of the drug.

Both work equally well for ED. 

This means you don’t have to worry about converting dosage amounts if you choose the generic brand—20 mg of sildenafil works exactly as effectively as 20 mg of Viagra. 

You should always stick to the dosage amounts prescribed by your doctor.

There are many reasons your doctor or provider has prescribed a specific dose.

For example, if you have heart issues, a family history of heart disease, or a medical history of heart attacks or other cardiovascular issues, your provider may prescribe a lower dosage.

If you think you need a higher dose, consult your provider before making any changes. 

Can Viagra Make You Last Longer?

Possibly. While it isn’t what the drugs are designed to achieve, there is some evidence that suggests Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors can help you last longer in bed. 

Viagra works by increasing blood flow to the penis to make it easier to get and keep an erection—which is why it’s typically prescribed to treat ED.

It does not usually affect the length of time you can have sex before you ejaculate, the amount of sensitivity you experience during sex, or when you orgasm and ejaculate.

Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors have been shown to shorten the refractory period.

The refractory period is the time right after an orgasm when the body doesn’t respond to sexual stimulation and it’s physically impossible to get an erection.

A reduced refractory period—or recovery time—means that you can have sex again more quickly after you have orgasmed.

This can contribute to increased sexual stamina.

And depending on your dose, the effects of Viagra typically last anywhere from 4-8 hours

Keep in mind that while the effects of Viagra can last for hours, an erection should not last for that long.

If you experience an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours, it’s important to seek medical care immediately.

Prolonged erections are a medical condition known as priapism, when oxygen-deprived blood in the penis causes permanent tissue damage.

If a four hour erection can be dangerous, how long should an erection last?

One study says that on average, it takes 5-7 minutes for a man to reach orgasm and ejaculate.

The overall range can be from one minute to over 30 minutes. 

How To Treat Premature Ejaculation

If you suffer from PE, there are alternative treatment options you can explore instead of Viagra.

One of the most common methods used to help with PE is masturbating before sex. 

You may also want to consider the following healthy lifestyle changes to improve your ability to stay hard longer:

  • Eat a healthy diet: Incorporating more heart-healthy foods like berries and leafy green vegetables can keep your circulatory system strong. Some research also suggests that a Mediterranean diet can help prevent ED.
  • Exercise regularly: This can be as simple as taking a daily 30-minute walk. The important thing is to build consistent healthy habits. Kegel exercises, which strengthen the pelvic floor, can also improve your sexual responsiveness.
  • Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption: Both of these lifestyle choices can have a negative impact on your ability to get or maintain an erection.
  • Reduce stress: This can trigger ejaculation dysfunction conditions like PE. Find ways to reduce stress in your life. Consider meditation, journaling, or going to therapy. Experts say that a combination of psychological assistance and medical intervention is one of the most effective approaches towards treating premature ejaculation.

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When to See a Doctor or Healthcare Professional

Viagra can be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, and even for premature ejaculation in some cases.

However, like any other medication, Viagra comes with its own set of risk factors.

It’s critical to keep an eye for any abnormal side effects and to alert your doctor as soon as you experience anything that flags your attention.

Some side effects of Viagra may include:

Serious side effects that warrant immediate medical attention include:

  • Sudden decrease or loss of vision
  • Sudden decrease or loss of hearing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain

How K Health Can Help

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will Viagra make you come?
Viagra will not make you come or prevent premature ejaculation. Viagra is primarily an erectile dysfunction medication and does not directly impact time to ejaculation.
Can Viagra be used to cure premature ejaculation?
Viagra is not usually prescribed to treat premature ejaculation. There are some studies that suggest taking Viagra can improve the perception of ejaculatory control and decrease the refractory period to achieve a second erection after ejaculation.
Can Viagra increase your libido?
No. Erections require a combination of stimulation and blood flow. While Viagra helps with the blood flow, you will also need to feel sexually aroused to get and maintain an erection.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Terez Malka, MD

Dr. Terez Malka is a board-certified pediatrician and emergency medicine physician.