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Last updated: Feb 22, 2021
4 min read

Does Viagra make you last longer?

steve silvestro

Medically Reviewed by Steve Silvestro, MD

Written by Michael Martin

Disclaimer

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Not able to last as long as you’d like during sex? That can have several causes. You might be super-excited about a new partner or routine; you might just be off your game; you may just need to relax; or it may be that many forms of media depict unrealistic expectations of how long the average man actually lasts. But if it’s repeatedly causing concern, it could be a condition called premature ejaculation (PE). One of the strategies healthcare providers sometimes use to treat PE is to prescribe sildenafil (brand name Viagra; see Important Safety Information).

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Does Viagra make you last longer?

There isn’t conclusive scientific evidence that sildenafil can make you last longer. There have been a handful of studies on the subject, but they’ve reported conflicting results. 

In a 2007 study, researchers divided 180 men with premature ejaculation into three groups. One group was given sildenafil 50 mg to take as needed, the second group paroxetine 20 mg (brand name Paxil), and the third group was told to practice the squeeze technique (for a definition, see below). 

The scientists found that sildenafil was “very effective.” At three- and six-month follow-ups, the men taking sildenafil reported significant improvements in lengthening the time between vaginal penetration and ejaculation. Men in the sildenafil group also reported improved sexual satisfaction scores.

“Sildenafil is very effective and safe to treat PE, and has much higher efficacy than paroxetine and squeeze technique,” the authors wrote (Wang, 2007).

But an earlier study didn’t produce such a ringing endorsement. Researchers split 144 patients into two groups and gave half sildenafil and half a placebo. Time to ejaculation was longer in the sildenafil group, but it wasn’t statistically significant, meaning that it wasn’t clear that the change was a result of the sildenafil (McMahon, 2005).

It’s worth noting that sildenafil isn’t the only drug in its class (PDE-5 inhibitors), and studies have examined how effective other PDE-5s (such as tadalafil and vardenafil) are for PE. A 2017 meta-analysis of 15 randomized, controlled studies concluded that PDE-5s are significantly more effective than placebo for PE. It also found that PDE-5s combined with an SSRI antidepressant are even more effective than SSRIs alone in increasing IELT (Martyn-St James, 2017).

How long should you last, anyway?

The short answer: However long you and your partner want you to. But if you’re interested in what other people say and do:

In a 2005 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers asked a group of sex therapists how long sex should last (specifically, penetrative vaginal sex). The results: 1 to 2 minutes was judged “too short,” and 10 to 30 minutes “too long.” On the other hand, 3 to 7 minutes was rated “adequate,” and 7 to 13 minutes “desirable” (Corty, 2008).

Another study got right down to it: Researchers asked 500 couples to press a stopwatch at penetration, then again at ejaculation for one month. Reported durations ranged from 33 seconds to 44 minutes. But the average for vaginal sex was three to seven minutes, with 5.4 minutes the precise median (Waldinger, 2005).

What is Viagra?

Sildenafil (brand name Viagra) is an oral medication for ED (erectile dysfunction). It works by improving blood flow to the penis. Sildenafil is part of a class of ED medications known as PDE5 inhibitors; these include vardenafil (brand names Levitra, Staxyn), tadalafil (brand name Cialis; see Important Safety Information), and avanafil (Stendra). 

These drugs work by suppressing an enzyme in the body called PDE-5, which causes blood vessels to relax and dilate, allowing blood to flow more easily through the body (including to the penis) and causing an erection.

Sildenafil and other PDE5 inhibitors require a prescription from a healthcare provider.

Scientists aren’t sure why sildenafil may improve PE, but they think that the erection produced by a PDE-5 inhibitor may downregulate sensory receptors in the brain that are involved with ejaculatory latency time. 

What is PE?

Also known as rapid ejaculation, premature climax, or early ejaculation, premature ejaculation (PE) is a sexual dysfunction in which a man ejaculates sooner than he or his partner would like. It can be a distressing knock on your sexual performance, but it’s very common: PE affects about 30 percent of the male population (Parnham, 2016). 

Treatment options for PE

If you’re ejaculating too quickly for your or your partner’s satisfaction, there are several strategies you can try to last longer.

The squeeze method

In this technique, you begin sexual activity and continue until you feel almost ready to ejaculate. Then your partner squeezes the end of your penis at the point where the head (glans) joins the shaft. As they hold the squeeze for several seconds, the urge to ejaculate ideally subsides. 

The stop-start method

Also known as “edging,” the stop-start method is something you can practice with a partner or as you masturbate. When you’re masturbating and feel like you’re about to come, pause until the urge to ejaculate passes. Then resume stimulating yourself. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize when you’re approaching “the point of no return” and be able to extend intercourse.

Numbing condoms or creams

Some types of condoms contain a bit of numbing medication, such as lidocaine or benzocaine, on the inside. This can reduce sensation, which might make you last longer. Anesthetic creams are sold that have the same effect.

PE wipes

Some companies sell over-the-counter, disposable, moist towelettes you apply to your penis before sexual activity; they can reduce sensation and help you last longer.

Read everything you ever wanted to know about premature ejaculation here.

References

  1. Benoit, S. (2019, October 29). This Is How Long Sex Should Last (From a Woman’s Point of View). Retrieved from https://www.gq.com/story/how-long-should-sex-last-self
  2. Corty, E. W., & Guardiani, J. M. (2008, May). Canadian and American sex therapists’ perceptions of normal and abnormal ejaculatory latencies: how long should intercourse last? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18331255
  3. Martyn-St James, M., Cooper, K., Ren, S., Kaltenthaler, E., Dickinson, K., Cantrell, A., Wylie, K., Frodsham, L., & Hood, C. (2017). Phosphodiesterase Type 5 Inhibitors for Premature Ejaculation: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. European Urology Focus, 3(1), 119–129. Retrieved from https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S2405456916000158
  4. McMahon, C. G., Stuckey, B. G., Andersen, M., Purvis, K., Koppiker, N., Haughie, S., & Boolell, M. (2005). Efficacy of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) in men with premature ejaculation. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2(3), 368–375. Retrieved from https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1743609515311802
  5. Parnham, A., & Serefoglu, E. C. (2016, August). Classification and definition of premature ejaculation. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5001991/
  6. Waldinger, M. D., Quinn, P., Dilleen, M., Mundayat, R., Schweitzer, D. H., & Boolell, M. (2005, July). A multinational population survey of intravaginal ejaculation latency time. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16422843
  7. Wang, W.‐F., Wang, Y., Minhas, S. and Ralph, D.J. (2007), Can sildenafil treat primary premature ejaculation? A prospective clinical study. International Journal of Urology, 14: 331-335. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1442-2042.2007.01606.x