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Does Cialis Make You Last Longer?

Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Reviewed by Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Written by Geoffrey Whittaker

Published 10/28/2021

Updated 01/07/2024

Picture this: Things are getting hot and heavy, and then suddenly…

Don’t you hate a rude interruption? It’s especially annoying when it comes in the form of premature ejaculation (aka PE).

Sure, you can help your partner reach orgasm without penetration, but PE can be pretty devastating when you’re in the throes of passion.

How do you know if you’re dealing with PE? If you’re “reaching the finish line” in under three minutes, it’s possible you have the condition known as premature ejaculation — even more likely if that time is under a minute.

Climaxing quickly can bring about feelings of shame and embarrassment, but know you’re not alone. PE is one of the most common male sexual disorders.

Premature ejaculation also often goes hand in hand with erectile dysfunction (ED). According to one 2017 study involving 937 Taiwanese males between 20 and 60, about 76 percent of those with PE also had ED.

So, how can you control ejaculation and deal with PE in your relationship? Cialis® (the brand name for tadalafil) isn’t a go-to treatment for PE. However, it might help you last longer in bed and improve sexual performance.

Below, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of Cialis, including why healthcare professionals prescribe it, how it works, its side effects and whether it can help with PE. We also discuss alternatives to Cialis and whether they’re more or less effective for use in treating PE. 

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Cialis, which is the brand name for the generic medication, tadalafil is part of a class of medications known as phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors). It works by inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme, which helps relax blood vessels and improves blood flow to the penis. Other popular PDE5 inhibitor medications include Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra (vardenafil), and Stendra (avanafil).

Your healthcare provider might prescribe tadalafil to help with medical conditions like:

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED). This is likely the most common reason healthcare professionals prescribe Cialis. Erectile dysfunction means you have trouble getting or keeping an erection long enough for penetrative sex. Cialis and similar ED treatments help by improving blood flow to the penis — and voilà! — erection resurrection.

  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Did you know you can have high blood pressure, specifically affecting the arteries that supply oxygen to the lungs? Yep. Tadalafil and its other brand name, Adcirca, can help chill out the blood vessels in your lungs so your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood.

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Cialis is also approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) to treat symptoms of BPH, a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. The medication targets the prostate and bladder muscles, relaxing them and making it easier to drain the hose.

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While the list of FDA-approved uses of Cialis doesn't include premature ejaculation, there are studies that show tadalafil and other PDE5 inhibitors used off-label could help with PE.

One on men with PE between 18 and 65, for instance, found that those who took sildenafil (the generic version of and an active ingredient in Viagra) were able to last slightly longer than those who took a placebo. The difference wasn’t statistically significant, but participants in the sildenafil group reported better sexual satisfaction and increased confidence.

Another study involving 180 men with PE looked at the effectiveness of three treatments: 50 milligrams (mg) of sildenafil, 20 milligrams of paroxetine and the squeeze technique (which we’ll dive into a little later). Researchers split the men into three treatment groups and followed them for six months. Those taking sildenafil saw the greatest improvements in PE.

Because PDE5 inhibitors treat ED, they may be a good call for those who suffer from both ED and PE symptoms.

Does Viagra make you last longer? Learn more about Viagra and PE in our guide.

You won’t necessarily experience side effects when taking a medication like Cialis. Still, it helps to have an idea of what they are so you know what’s typical versus what might be something to worry about.

It’s also important to follow your healthcare provider’s medical advice and take the dose of Cialis they prescribe — whether that’s a daily dose or as needed.

Here are a few common side effects of Cialis:

  • Headache

  • Flushing

  • Stomach issues like indigestion 

  • Muscle aches

  • Stuffy nose

  • Dizziness

  • Back pain

More serious side effects can occur, such as:

  • Vision changes

  • Hearing loss

  • Prolonged erections (priapism)

  • Allergic reaction

Definitely seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these severe side effects while taking Cialis.

And FYI, combining Cialis with some medications like nitrates can cause dangerously low blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack. If you feel dizzy or have chest pain after taking Cialis, seek immediate medical attention.

You also shouldn’t take Cialis if you’ve recently had a heart attack or stroke or if you have angina (chest pain) or heart failure. Make sure to give your healthcare provider a full picture of your medical history.

Okay. You talked to a professional and decided together that Cialis isn’t the smartest option for you. That’s okay! There are plenty of alternatives to Cialis for premature ejaculation for you to consider. 

Let’s break them down.

Topical Treatments to Last Longer

Topical treatments work by desensitizing your penis and reducing sensations during sexual activity, thus delaying ejaculation. They essentially make your penis less sensitive to touch so you can last longer in bed. Common desensitizing agents include benzocaine and lidocaine

Desensitizing agents come in a few forms, including creams, sprays and wipes. And they’re typically available over the counter (OTC). 

You should follow the manufacturer’s directions when using topical treatments like Delay Spray or Clockstopper benzocaine wipes. But typically, these products should be applied to your entire penis, from tip to shaft.

And in many cases, they need time to work their magic (actually, it’s science). After a few minutes, you can get down to it.

Quick caution: if you want to try out desensitizing agents, be sure to wipe off excess product to prevent it from affecting your partner’s parts and impacting their sexual stimulation.

PE Medications

There are no FDA-approved medications for premature ejaculation, so “PE pills” is a bit of a misnomer. That said, healthcare providers may prescribe the following as off-label treatments for PE:

  • Antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications for depression, like sertraline, fluoxetine, and paroxetine, may help delay ejaculation. Here’s the thing: They might work for PE, but they can also impact your libido and cause ED symptoms as a side effect.

  • PDE5 inhibitors. Cialis is a PDE5 inhibitor, but it’s not the only one sometimes used to help with the symptoms of PE. Other PDE-5 inhibitors, like sildenafil (Viagra) and vardenafil (Levitra), might help with your quick-to-orgasm problem.

Techniques for Lasting Longer

There are also a few non-medication tricks to help control ejaculation:

  • Stop-start technique. This method involves bringing yourself close to the big O and stopping right before orgasm until the urge goes away. The idea is to gain greater awareness of that phase right before ejaculation so you can recognize and stop PE

  • Squeeze technique. This is similar to the stop-start method, except it involves squeezing the head of your penis to limit arousal and prevent orgasm. Research suggests both the stop-start and squeeze techniques can be effective short-term solutions, but it’s unclear how well they work in the long run. Need a step-by-step guide? Check out our blog on the squeeze technique

  • Pelvic floor exercises. Aside from pregnant folks who do kegel exercises, we’ve all been sleeping on beefing up our pelvic floor — the layer of smooth muscles that supports your urethral sphincter. Learning to control those muscles can help you get a handle on your too-soon orgasms.

  • Distraction. Thinking about something other than sex might help curb your arousal and keep you from finishing too quickly.

  • Condoms. Since condoms can reduce sensation and put pressure around the penis, they may help keep you from going over the edge, so to speak. It definitely helps that they help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

  • Mental health counseling. PE is a physical issue, but it can stem from emotional roadblocks, like performance anxiety. Talking to a qualified sex therapist can help you learn coping tools for sexual dysfunction.

Also, heads up: You might be able to find supplements that promise to make you better in bed. But supplements don’t go through the same regulatory processes as prescription meds with FDA approval.

Actually, there’s really not much oversight at all, making the supplement aisle kind of like the Wild West. If you’re curious about these “treatments,” be sure to talk with a healthcare provider before giving them a try.

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While occasionally reaching the finish line early isn’t a big deal, recurring PE can mess with your confidence, sexual function, self-esteem and relationships.

It can feel shameful to talk about, but you’re not alone. It’s one of the most common sexual issues facing men.

Here’s the bottom line:

  • Premature ejaculation can be frustrating to deal with and even cause you to feel embarrassed about your sexual performance. But thankfully, it’s treatable.

  • Erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation can show up together. ED drugs may help with both issues by improving erectile function. 

  • The best solution? Talking with a healthcare professional. They can help you determine the root cause of your symptoms and find a treatment that’s right for you.

Medication and behavioral strategies, including therapy, are potential treatment options that can help with PE.

Some erectile dysfunction treatments, like tadalafil (generic Cialis), sildenafil (generic Viagra), avanafil (generic Stendra) and chewable ED hard mints, may indirectly help improve your ejaculatory latency — a fancy word for the ability to last longer.
To get started with treatment, consult a licensed healthcare provider online about premature ejaculation treatments. You can learn more about putting the brakes on PE in our guide on how to stop premature ejaculation.

14 Sources

  1. McMahon C. G. (2007). Premature ejaculation. Indian journal of urology : IJU : journal of the Urological Society of India, 23(2), 97–108. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721550/
  2. Tsai, W. K., Chiang, P. K., Lu, C. C., & Jiann, B. P. (2019). The comorbidity between premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction-a cross-sectional internet survey. Sexual medicine, 7(4), 451–458. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6963126
  3. PDE5 inhibitors. (2023, April 10). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549843/
  4. Highlights of prescribing information: Cialis (tadalafil) tablets, for oral use. (2018). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2018/021368s030lbl.pdf
  5. Yafi, F. A., et al. (2016). Erectile dysfunction. Nature reviews. Disease primers, 2, 16003. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027992/
  6. Wang WF, Wang Y, Minhas S, Ralph DJ. Can sildenafil treat primary premature ejaculation? A prospective clinical study. Int J Urol. 2007 Apr;14(4):331-5. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17470165/
  7. Mohee, A., & Eardley, I. (2011). Medical therapy for premature ejaculation. Therapeutic advances in urology, 3(5), 211–222. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3199591/
  8. Questions and answers for Cialis (tadalafil). (2015, August 13). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/questions-and-answers-cialis-tadalafil
  9. What is premature ejaculation? (2023, June). Retrieved from https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/p/premature-ejaculation
  10. Arafa, M., & Shamloul, R. (2007). A randomized study examining the effect of 3 SSRI on premature ejaculation using a validated questionnaire. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 3(4), 527–531. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2374931/
  11. Symptoms & causes of erectile dysfunction. (2017, July). Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/symptoms-causes
  12. Bearelly P, et al. (2021). The role of benign prostatic hyperplasia treatments in ejaculatory dysfunction. Fertility and Sterility, 116(3), 611-617. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028221017982
  13. Alpha-blockers. (2023, July 3). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556066/
  14. Premature ejaculation: What can I do on my own? (2019, September 12). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547551/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

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. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Dr. Mike Bohl is a licensed physician, a Medical Advisor at Hims & Hers, and the Director of Scientific & Medical Content at a stealth biotech startup, where he is involved in pharmaceutical drug development. Prior to joining Hims & Hers, Dr. Bohl spent several years working in digital health, focusing on patient education. He has also worked in medical journalism for The Dr. Oz Show (receiving recognition for contributions from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences when the show won Outstanding Informative Talk Show at the 2016–2017 Daytime Emmy® Awards) and at Sharecare. He is a Medical Expert Board Member at Eat This, Not That! and a Board Member at International Veterinary Outreach.

Dr. Bohl obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine from Brown University, his Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and his Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies—Journalism from Harvard University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership at Cornell University. Dr. Bohl trained in internal medicine with a focus on community health at NYU Langone Health.

Dr. Bohl is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, Medical Writer Certified by the American Medical Writers Association, a certified Editor in the Life Sciences by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and a Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist by the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs. He has graduate certificates in Digital Storytelling and Marketing Management & Digital Strategy from Harvard Extension School and certificates in Business Law and Corporate Governance from Cornell Law School.

In addition to his written work, Dr. Bohl has experience creating medical segments for radio and producing patient education videos. He has also spent time conducting orthopedic and biomaterial research at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland and practicing clinically as a general practitioner on international medical aid projects with Medical Ministry International.

Dr. Bohl lives in Manhattan and enjoys biking, resistance training, sailing, scuba diving, skiing, tennis, and traveling. You can find Dr. Bohl on LinkedIn for more information.

Publications

  • Younesi, M., Knapik, D. M., Cumsky, J., Donmez, B. O., He, P., Islam, A., Learn, G., McClellan, P., Bohl, M., Gillespie, R. J., & Akkus, O. (2017). Effects of PDGF-BB delivery from heparinized collagen sutures on the healing of lacerated chicken flexor tendon in vivo. Acta biomaterialia, 63, 200–209. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1742706117305652?via%3Dihub

  • Gebhart, J. J., Weinberg, D. S., Bohl, M. S., & Liu, R. W. (2016). Relationship between pelvic incidence and osteoarthritis of the hip. Bone & joint research, 5(2), 66–72. https://boneandjoint.org.uk/Article/10.1302/2046-3758.52.2000552

  • Gebhart, J. J., Bohl, M. S., Weinberg, D. S., Cooperman, D. R., & Liu, R. W. (2015). Pelvic Incidence and Acetabular Version in Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. Journal of pediatric orthopedics, 35(6), 565–570. https://journals.lww.com/pedorthopaedics/abstract/2015/09000/pelvic_incidence_and_acetabular_version_in_slipped.5.aspx

  • Islam, A., Bohl, M. S., Tsai, A. G., Younesi, M., Gillespie, R., & Akkus, O. (2015). Biomechanical evaluation of a novel suturing scheme for grafting load-bearing collagen scaffolds for rotator cuff repair. Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 30(7), 669–675. https://www.clinbiomech.com/article/S0268-0033(15)00143-6/fulltext

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