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What Does Viagra Do to Your Sexual Experience?

Kristin Hall, FNP

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 6/21/2021

Viagra®, which contains the active ingredient sildenafil, is one of the most popular medications available for treating erectile dysfunction (ED).

Since it came onto the market in the late 90s, Viagra has grown from a niche medicine into an ED treatment used by millions of men around the world. 

One of the most common Viagra-related questions, particularly from younger men interested in using Viagra, is how Viagra affects sexual experience. 

Does it change the way sex feels? Does it have any impact on sexual enjoyment? Can it boost sexual performance? Will you last for longer in bed after using Viagra?

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of how ED medications like Viagra work, as well as how they can change the experience of having sex.

We’ll also bust several of the most common myths about how Viagra works to clear up what this type of medication can and can’t do for your erections and sexual performance.

What Does Viagra Do for ED?

Like other ED medications in its class, Viagra works by making it easier for you to get and maintain an erection when you feel aroused by improving blood flow to your penis. Pretty simple stuff.

All you have to do is take your prescribed dose about an hour before sexual activity, and the medication does the rest — for a timeframe of about four hours, give or take.

How Does Viagra Affect Your Erection?

While explaining what Viagra does is simple, explaining the mechanism behind it is a little more complicated.

Erections require a combination of stimulation and blood flow. When you feel sexually aroused, whether it’s due to visual stimulation, physical stimulation or both, impulses from your nervous system cause blood to flow to your penis.

The corpora cavernosa -- a pair of sponge-like areas of tissue inside your penis -- relax, letting blood flow freely. This blood fills the tissue and causes your penis to expand and harden.

To keep your penis firm during sex, a fibrous membrane called the tunica albuginea contracts, trapping blood inside your penis until you either no longer feel stimulated or reach orgasm and ejaculate.

Viagra and similar ED medications work by making it easier for blood to flow to your penis and produce an erection.

They do this by inhibiting the effects of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5, or PDE5, which controls blood flow to the tissue of your penis.

As a PDE5 inhibitor, Viagra prevents PDE5 from working. This causes the blood vessels that supply blood to your penis to relax, increasing blood flow and letting blood flow into your penis more easily.

The mechanism behind Viagra (as well as other ED medicines, like Cialis® and Levitra®) is fairly simple once you understand it.

There’s no “magic” to how Viagra works, and contrary to popular belief, it won’t make you get an erection spontaneously unless you’re already sexually aroused. 

Instead, Viagra simply makes it easier for you to get and keep an erection by improving the rate of blood flow to your penis.

Does Viagra Change Your Sexual Experience?

If you have erectile dysfunction, Viagra can have a significant impact on your sexual experience and enjoyment.

This is because even a relatively modest dose of Viagra can make it significantly easier for you to get and maintain an erection during sex.

In a long-term study, more than 95 percent of men with erectile dysfunction who used sildenafil (the generic form of Viagra, generic Viagra) reported that they were satisfied with its effects on their erections.

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How Does Viagra Make You Feel?

Viagra isn’t a psychoactive medication, meaning it won’t have any noticeable effect on the way you feel, think or perceive things during sex. 

Its effects are purely physical, meaning it will help you to get and maintain an erection, but won’t change your emotions.

With this said, if you have erectile dysfunction, Viagra’s effects on your sexual performance can potentially provide a confidence boost or make sex more enjoyable.

Does Viagra Make You Last Longer in Bed?

This question is tough to answer with a simple yes or no, since it depends on a variety of factors that can affect your sexual performance.

First, there’s currently no scientific evidence linking Viagra with a slower time to ejaculation. This means that using Viagra won’t necessarily make you last longer in bed before you reach orgasm and ejaculate.

However, if Viagra or similar medication improves your sexual confidence, you may find it easier to last for longer in bed. 

Interestingly, there are a few studies that suggest Viagra may be a potential treatment option for men that suffer from premature ejaculation (PE). 

In a 2007 study, researchers noted that Viagra is “effective and safe” for treating PE, and that it had a higher efficacy level than the SSRI paroxetine or the “squeeze” technique.

A different study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that while Viagra didn’t have any significant impact on intravaginal ejaculatory latency (the amount of time until ejaculation), it did improve men’s confidence, sexual satisfaction and perception of ejaculatory control.

In general, it’s best not to think of Viagra as something that can help you delay ejaculation while having sex.

However, if you frequently lose your erection during sex, Viagra could have a positive effect on the amount of time you can last in bed. 

Viagra and similar ED medications make it easier to develop and sustain an erection, meaning you’re less likely to lose your erection during sex due to anxiety or lack of stimulation.

In short, the answer to this question could be either “yes” and “no,” depending on your personal circumstances. 

While Viagra isn’t linked to delayed ejaculation and generally won’t make you last longer in the sense most people think of, it could potentially improve your general sexual performance.

Related Post: Is Viagra Over The Counter?

Does Taking Viagra Immediately Result in an Erection?

This is another common Viagra myth -- that taking Viagra will result in you immediately getting an instantaneous, uncontrollable erection.

The reality of Viagra is very different. Viagra and other ED medications don’t directly cause you to get an erection or provide any kind of sexual stimulation on their own.

Instead, all these medications do is improve the rate of blood flow to your penis when you feel aroused. 

This makes it easier to get and maintain an erection, but it won’t cause you to get an erection spontaneously.

Without any type of sexual stimulation (whether it’s visual, physical or psychological), you won’t get an erection after taking Viagra. 

Your sexual arousal process will still be the same as normal. However, when you feel sexually aroused, you’ll find it easier to get an erection due to Viagra’s effects on blood flow.

Does Viagra Help You Recover Faster After Orgasm?

Another common belief about Viagra is that it can reduce your refractory period -- the amount of time that needs to pass for a man to recover after having sex and reaching orgasm.

In this case, the common belief about Viagra is actually true. Scientific studies usually show that ED medications such as Viagra reduce the amount of time needed to recover after sex, often by quite a significant amount.

For example, a small study of 20 people into Viagra’s effect on post-ejaculatory refractory time found that a 100mg dose of sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) reduced the average recovery time from 10.8 +/- 0.9 minutes to 2.6 +/- 0.7 minutes.

A different study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine also found that some men with PE were able to recover in less time after sex after using Viagra.

However, it’s worth noting that not every study produces these results. For example, one study found that healthy men who took Viagra had a longer average ejaculatory time, but didn’t show any changes in refractory period.

Does Viagra Affect Your Sex Drive?

Another common myth about Viagra is that it can increase your sex drive and cause you to feel more motivated to have sex.

Viagra is designed to improve your physical performance during sex -- that is, your ability to get and maintain an erection.

However, it isn’t associated with any increase in your level of sexual interest, sexual arousal or your sex drive in general.

For the most part, the male sex drive is controlled by hormonal factors, from adrenal hormones to androgen hormones such as testosterone. 

For example, a common sign of low testosterone is a weaker-than-normal sex drive.

Viagra isn’t a hormonal medication. As such, it won’t have any significant effects on your levels of androgen hormones or sex drive. 

Instead, Viagra simply makes it easier to improve your sexual performance when you’re already in the mood for sex.

Does Viagra Change The Way Sex Feels?

Although Viagra can make it easier to get and maintain an erection, it does not seem appear to have any effect on the way sex feels. 

Taking Viagra won’t make you feel more stimulated during sexual activity, nor will it result in any positive or negative change in the level of sensation you feel. 

There’s also no research showing that Viagra causes more intense or satisfying orgasms. 

With this said, if you suffer from ED, using Viagra may produce a noticeable improvement in the general level of enjoyment you get from sex due to effects on your sexual performance. 

Viagra can also have an indirect psychological effect by making you feel more confident in bed, which may improve your sexual experience overall. 

However, there’s no evidence to show that Viagra changes the way sex feels or has any impact on the physical sensations you experience during sex.

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The Viagra Experience

Viagra works by improving blood flow to your penis, making it easier for you to get and stay hard during sex. 

For many men affected by erectile dysfunction, medications like Viagra allow for a satisfying and fulfilling sex life that isn’t possible without medication. 

However, Viagra’s effects are primarily physical, meaning it won’t affect the way you feel during sex or cause the sensation of sex to become more intense. 

We offer a large selection of science-based ED treatments online, including brand name Viagra and generic sildenafil, after a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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