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Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Sex drive is important to many men, and we’re willing to bet this includes most coffee drinkers. From antioxidants and occasional claims about a lower risk of this or that disease, it’s no wonder the pick-me-up beverage of choice is associated with health benefits and performance enhancement.
From late-night essay writing to overnight shifts, most of us have leaned on the benefits of coffee to stay awake. Some research has also suggested that coffee is one of the drinks for ED that may give you the stamina to stay up in a different way.
Can drinking coffee make you last longer in bed? Can it improve your stamina and help you and your partner have a more satisfying sex life? Not so fast.
Though we’re all about a great cappuccino, coffee isn’t a medication for ED. Its potential benefits are a bit more limited than that.
Below, we’ll explain how a cup or more of coffee may help your sex life, discuss what the research says about coffee, erectile dysfunction (ED) and lasting longer in bed, and go over other benefits your cup of joe may bring in the bedroom.
Coffee does offer some potential sexual benefits — at least, according to a few studies — though they might not be what you think.
One 2015 study looked at the effects of caffeine intake on more than 3,000 men with ED. It found that two to three cups a day was associated with better overall erectile function — even among obese, overweight and hypertensive men.
However, the researchers stated that more studies are necessary to determine whether the association was actually a correlation — in other words, whether the erectile function benefits were actually because of the coffee.
Many experts also claim that, alongside chocolate, coffee can be a powerful aphrodisiac. However, a 2013 paper noted that there’s no actual science to back this up in the current body of literature.
Unfortunately, we’ve essentially reached the end of the proven research about the benefits of coffee for sex. Claims that coffee might boost testosterone production, increase libido or reduce premature ejaculation are individualized, and none have been backed by science.
It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that a few cups of coffee or energy drinks will spike the same energy levels in bed that they do when you’ve crammed for an exam. But those benefits may not trickle down to your penis.
In other words, coffee probably can’t make you last longer in bed. We’ve all imagined a fully alert evening grinding it out until the break of dawn, but unfortunately, coffee can only help with the alert part.
In theory, coffee seems like a great marital supplement. Caffeine is a stimulant that can temporarily increase alertness and reduce fatigue, which might indirectly provide sexual performance benefits. But that alertness often comes with negative side effects like anxiety or shaky hands.
It would be nice to have the alertness and hardness to go until sunrise, but that’s just not how this works.
Is coffee good for erectile dysfunction? Not really. Any benefits associated with coffee consumption and ED are fairly quickly eroded when you look at the details.
For starters, caffeine is a diuretic. This means it helps your body get rid of water, which might affect your blood pressure. Dehydration and high blood pressure are major no-nos if you want strong, healthy erections.
Some people might assume coffee (which increases blood flow) promotes sexual wellness by increasing blood flow to the penis. But those blood vessels may not benefit from an increased heart rate.
Coffee consumption can also lead to side effects that don’t mesh well with ED, including:
Fast heart rate
Dependency and withdrawal
Perhaps more importantly, coffee has been associated with depression and anxiety in some studies. While there are other factors to consider, we’re here to remind you that depression and anxiety are not great for your sex life.
Coffee is also associated with higher cortisol levels, according to one very small 2008 study. Elevated cortisol — the stress hormone — can have some pretty negative effects on your ability to function. So you might want to limit your caffeine intake to avoid sexual performance issues.
What you don’t want to avoid, however, are proven treatments like lifestyle changes, medications for ED and therapy. All of these have been shown to benefit men struggling with erectile dysfunction.
Medications. Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE-5 inhibitors) include Viagra, Cialis, Stendra and Vardenafil. These medications essentially work by inhibiting the testosterone-based compound that keeps your penis from becoming erect. They can be taken daily or as needed depending on what helps you most.
Lifestyle changes. Improving your daily habits — like sleeping better, reducing stress, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise — might support better erectile function. This is especially crucial for men with obesity or diabetes.
Therapy. Therapy comes in many forms, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help you deal with psychological triggers for ED. The triggers may include anything from low self-esteem to performance anxiety (which may be worsened by caffeine).
If you’re struggling with ED, these are the treatments you’ll want to investigate.
While coffee may offer some potential benefits for ED, it’s not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment, neither of which should give you the jitters.
Keep this in mind when considering coffee for improved sexual function:
There’s zero evidence to suggest that coffee can treat premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction or other forms of sexual dysfunction, despite what you may have read elsewhere.
If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance and recommend the most suitable treatment options for your specific situation.
Want some help? Our sexual health resources and medications for ED are available online. Not only that, but our therapy professionals can help with your mental health questions through our online therapy platform.
So switch to decaf (maybe), and focus on what can really get you back in the game.