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Does Viagra Keep You Hard After Coming?

Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Reviewed by Mike Bohl, MD

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 10/21/2022

Updated 03/29/2024

Cards on the table, fellas: a lot of folks are sketchy on their Viagra® facts. Many men wrongly believe, for instance, that Viagra can cause erections without sexual stimulation — that if you take one you’ll just pop a tent. And some men even mistakenly believe that erectile dysfunction medicines like Cialis® (tadalafil) and Levitra® (vardenafil) can make your penis bigger.

Does Viagra keep you hard after ejaculation? It’s honestly not an unfair question, especially when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns of four-hour erections. Between the urban legends and the horror stories, it’s no wonder that a guy who’s not already taking “the little blue pill” might misunderstand what it does and doesn’t do.

We’ve cleared a lot of this up below. Starting from the basics, we explain what Viagra actually does, what happens after you orgasm on Viagra and whether it keeps you hard after coming.

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Viagra (the brand-name version of sildenafil citrate) and other oral ED treatment medications are called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. They are indeed designed to treat erectile dysfunction by keeping you harder for longer, and they’re effective at doing so. 

PDE5 inhibitors essentially block an enzyme produced in your tissues, allowing your blood vessels to relax and widen to increase blood flow to your penis. While Viagra was first created as a treatment for chest pain and hypertension, it was found that the active ingredient in this blood pressure medication could address the blood flow issues in ED.

By continuing to increase your blood flow to your penis, Viagra gives you a window of several hours in which you can get hard with sexual stimulation. 

But let’s not forget: it’s not a cure-all for good sex. It can’t cure performance anxiety (though it can help), and it can’t increase your sex drive. 

Before we answer your pressing question, though, we need to explain just one more thing.

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Nothing great lasts forever, boys. You finished, climaxed, popped the champagne — and now the bottle is empty. We know what comes next: the deflated Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man. 

Every male orgasm is immediately followed by something called the refractory period — a sort of reset/reboot phase after you climax. During the refractory period, it might be possible for your penis to still be harder than normal, but — generally — you are not responsive to sexual stimuli, and it is impossible to orgasm again. Some guys get minutes (which can feel like hours), and some get hours (that can feel like days). Every guy is different, and honestly, experts don’t really understand the specific functions of the refractory period. 

What we do know is that this period may get longer as you age. 

The nearly nonexistent teen phase becomes a longer commute sometime in your 20s and your reboot gets longer as more time passes.

Long story short: you lose the ability to ejaculate again after you finish because your body needs to reboot, and the older your internal computer is, the more agonizingly slow the ol’ hard(ening) drive runs.

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Okay, we’re ready to answer the big question on your mind: does Viagra work to help you skip the refractory period entirely? No, it doesn’t. Might it shorten the refractory period? Maybe. And might it help you stay harder than normal or get hard again sooner after ejaculating? Maybe again.

If you were thinking about using your Viagra (or even someone else’s prescription medication or a non-prescription “sexual enhancement” supplement) to go all night, we’ve got some news for you.

Experts don’t really agree what the refractory period is, but they know it doesn’t go away entirely.

That said, there is some evidence suggesting sildenafil may reduce the refractory period (hooray!). An eight-week study of men between the ages of 18 and 65 who had premature ejaculation found that those who took sildenafil saw a decrease in their refractory time.

Meanwhile, another study of 20 men also found that sildenafil reduced the “reboot” phase in all subjects. That's certainly worth popping a bottle of champagne (a real one, not the metaphorical erectile one we mentioned)!

The bottom line? Your refractory period isn’t going anywhere — but it could potentially be shortened.

There is something you want to look out for, though — an erection that lasts too long. Erections lasting longer than four hours could be a serious medical condition known as priapism, which can do permanent, irreversible damage to your penis. 

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If there’s one takeaway we can leave you with, it’s to keep your safety in mind. While using the active ingredient sildenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction is safe, doing so for recreational reasons is dangerous. 

We say this mostly as a disclaimer: when people search for “does Viagra make you last longer,” they should actually be seeking medical advice for ED (a widespread problem that affects millions of men worldwide) or premature ejaculation — not a stamina power-up.

Erectile dysfunction medication is designed to treat erectile dysfunction, not enhance sexual performance. 

  • If you’re struggling to get hard, stay hard and finish hard, you should talk to a healthcare provider. Many problems with erectile function can be solved with the support of a medical professional.

  • Tell them about health conditions like heart disease or mental health issues that may be affecting your sexual satisfaction, and be honest.

  • Overdoing it with Viagra to try to skip your refractory period is dangerous.

  • Too much Viagra can lead to a higher risk of side effects or drug interactions, like chest pain and dangerously low blood pressure. You can read more in our guide to the side effects of Viagra.

  • Seek medical advice immediately for an erection longer than four hours or if you have painful erection symptoms.

And if you don’t want to look a healthcare professional in the eye to talk about any sexual dysfunction, consider having the conversation remotely via our sexual health consultation.

So take care of your sexual health (and issues like premature ejaculation), but don’t do anything unsafe. Start working on those things today.

11 Sources

  1. HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION: VIAGRA® (sildenafil citrate) tablets, for oral use . (n.d.-b). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/20895s039s042lbl.pdf.
  2. Dhaliwal A, Gupta M. PDE5 Inhibitors. [Updated 2023 Apr 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549843/.
  3. Evans, J. D., & Hill, S. R. (2015). A comparison of the available phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: a focus on avanafil. Patient preference and adherence, 9, 1159–1164. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542406/.
  4. Alwaal, A., Breyer, B. N., & Lue, T. F. (2015). Normal male sexual function: emphasis on orgasm and ejaculation. Fertility and sterility, 104(5), 1051–1060. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4896089/.
  5. Ferrini, M. G., Gonzalez-Cadavid, N. F., & Rajfer, J. (2017). Aging related erectile dysfunction-potential mechanism to halt or delay its onset. Translational andrology and urology, 6(1), 20–27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313305/.
  6. What is the refractory period? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.issm.info/sexual-health-qa/what-is-the-refractory-period/
  7. 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://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16422868/
  8. Aversa, A., Mazzilli, F., Rossi, T., Delfino, M., Isidori, A. M., & Fabbri, A. (2000). Effects of sildenafil (Viagra) administration on seminal parameters and post-ejaculatory refractory time in normal males. Human reproduction (Oxford, England), 15(1), 131–134. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10611201/
  9. Ekmekçioğlu, O., Inci, M., Demirci, D., & Tatlişen, A. (2005). Effects of sildenafil citrate on ejaculation latency, detumescence time, and refractory period: placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover laboratory setting study. Urology, 65(2), 347–352. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15708051/.
  10. Silberman M, Stormont G, Leslie SW, et al. Priapism. [Updated 2023 May 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459178/.
  11. Sooriyamoorthy T, Leslie SW. Erectile Dysfunction. [Updated 2023 May 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562253/.
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

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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