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Does Viagra Make You Last Longer in Bed?

Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Reviewed by Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 07/17/2019

Updated 01/31/2024

Because brand name Viagra®, also known as sildenafil citrate, is thought of as a “cure-all” for sex ailments (but mostly for erectile dysfunction), many men turn to it as a solution to the oldest problem: how to last long in bed. 

But does Viagra make you last longer in bed? Viagra can definitely make you last longer in bed if you’re struggling to keep an erection. And research also suggests it might be beneficial for the management of premature ejaculation (PE), even though it isn’t specifically FDA approved for that purpose. 

Want to see what the science says? Below, we’ve explored the evidence for and against sildenafil citrate for boosting sexual stamina, and shared other science-backed options for improving your sexual stamina and performance.

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Will Viagra make you last longer? Some reports actually suggest that Viagra for premature ejaculation might actually be an effective treatment.

Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is a type of erectile dysfunction medication called a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor. PDE5 inhibitors such as Viagra, Cialis® (tadalafil) and Levitra® (vardenafil) are designed to treat ED by increasing blood flow to the soft erectile tissues and blood vessels of your penis. 

The effects of these erectile dysfunction medications can help you get an erection or maintain a firmer erection to improve the sexual experience for you and your partner. 

On average, Viagra lasts for up to four hours after you take your dose. So, if you tend to lose your erection during sex, Viagra’s effects could help you have sex for longer without being affected by erectile dysfunction during that period of time. 

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Why Viagra Could Help with PE

Does sildenafil make you last longer? There are a few interesting studies about Viagra’s effects on sexual dysfunction that are worth mentioning:

So, how does Viagra possibly help with PE? There are a number of potential ways. These include its effects on the nervous system and the sensitivity of the penis, its effects on smooth muscles involved in ejaculation, and the fact that it can increase confidence — especially in those who have both PE and ED.

Why Viagra Is Not an FDA-Approved Treatment for Premature Ejaculation

The reason Viagra isn’t an FDA-approved treatment to help you last longer in bed gets into a complex issue of the time and cost of running clinical trials and applying for FDA approval. It’s possible that if these trials were done, sildenafil — the active ingredient in Viagra — could be shown to be safe and effective for PE. It’s also possible that wouldn’t be the case. We will probably never know. Viagra is already commercially available because of its approval for ED, and providers can already prescribe Viagra off-label to treat PE. So we’ll likely just need to rely on studies like those mentioned above to know how effective it can be for the condition. 

Things Viagra can’t do, though, include boost your sex drive, prevent you from getting tired, reduce performance anxiety or make your penis larger than normal — that’s not what Viagra does.

The Risks of Using Viagra to Last Longer

And then there are the side effects of Viagra — headaches and blurred vision, and potentially dangerous interactions with other drugs. 

You’ll need to tell a healthcare professional if you currently have any medical condition or are treating heart disease or hypertension, and you’ll want to avoid medications for high blood pressure like nitrates, alpha-blockers and others that could cause low blood pressure when combined with Viagra.

Sorry, but it's highly unlikely that Viagra will increase the size of your penis on its own. One possible side effect of Viagra is that your erection will be firmer when you're sexually stimulated, giving it the appearance of being larger.

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Does Viagra help with premature ejaculation? Maybe! But it’s best you discuss all of your options with a healthcare provider to see what’s best for you.

There are other options available for PE that can help you delay ejaculation and last longer in bed, including:

  • Premature ejaculation sprays, wipes and creams

  • SSRI antidepressants 

  • Non-medicinal techniques for reducing sexual stimulation

So, let’s dig a little deeper into these. 

Premature Ejaculation Sprays, Wipes and Creams

Studies show that lidocaine-containing sprays are extremely effective as treatments for premature ejaculation by reducing sensitivity.

In a 2003 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, men with PE were able to increase their ejaculation latency from one minute and 24 seconds to 11 minutes and 21 seconds after applying a lidocaine-prilocaine-based spray. 

That kind of return on investment is what made Warren Buffett a billionaire.

We offer an OTC delay spray, delivered right to your door, if you want to give this PE treatment a shot.

Medicated wipes and creams that contain ingredients like lidocaine, prilocaine, and benzocaine are also available OTC and can be used to reduce the sensitivity of the penis.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) 

One of the main side effects of certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — such as paroxetine and sertraline — is something called “anorgasmia,” or the inability to achieve orgasm. 

When treating PE, this “bug” is actually a feature. A feature which has prompted healthcare professionals all over the world to prescribe SSRIs off-label to treat this common sexual dysfunction.

Sertraline (the active ingredient in Zoloft®) is one of several SSRIs used to treat PE and improve sexual performance. According to a study published in the journal, Medicine, sertraline is effective at prolonging ejaculation latency time and improving rates of sexual satisfaction between patients and their partners.  

Additionally, a 2007 study published in the journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management found that men with premature ejaculation who used paroxetine, fluoxetine or escitalopram experienced a useful effect on ejaculation time.

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Non-Pharmaceutical Treatments

Managing PE might not require any medications, of course. Instead, you might simply have to exert some self-control — or some self-love. 

Beyond medications such as sildenafil, lidocaine and sertraline, there are several ways to increase your time before ejaculation and improve your sexual performance without using drugs. 

These include techniques like: 

  • The stop-start technique. It’s 100 percent a medical fact that if you stop before finishing, you can start again and still keep the clock running on your session.

  • The squeeze technique. Before you finish, pull out and squeeze the tip of your penis to reduce your urge to ejaculate before returning to activity.

  • Distracting thoughts. Thinking about something to momentarily take your head out of the game — baseball, cold showers, geometry, the weather, etc. — may actually help distract you long enough to overcome your urge to climax. We wouldn’t ordinarily suggest not keeping your eyes on the prize, but for PE, it could prove helpful.

  • Kegels. These not-just-for-women exercises can increase your muscle control, which could lead to longer performance windows.

  • Masturbating before sex. This is a pretty solid pro-tip. While there’s not much scientific research out there to corroborate the claim here, many men find that masturbating a few hours before sex helps them stay in the game a little longer. 

  • Getting into therapy. Another simple solution? Talking. If you’re experiencing PE as a result of sexual performance anxiety, talking about it with a professional might help. Not only will they be able to help you talk through some of your experiences, but they may also be able to make some helpful suggestions.

Our guide to stopping premature ej​​​​aculation covers these approaches in more detail, with scientific data to back up each treatment option.

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Today, a variety of options are available for premature ejaculation, ranging from SSRIs to lidocaine-based premature ejaculation spray to techniques like the stop-start strategy, the squeeze technique and masturbating before sex.

Then, there’s Viagra. Although the "little blue pill" is designed and marketed as a treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), a dose of Viagra can also be prescribed off label to help men last longer in bed.

Consider the following points about premature ejaculation:

Want to do more? We can help connect you to a healthcare professional to talk about sertraline for PE and paroxetine for PE.

You can also learn about the differences between Viagra and Cialis, your options for premature ejaculation pills and the available premature ejaculation treatments.

6 Sources

  1. Andersen, et al. (2005, May). Efficacy of sildenafil citrate (viagra) in men with premature ejaculation. The journal of sexual medicine. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16422868
  2. Arafa, M., & Shamloul, R. (2006). Efficacy of sertraline hydrochloride in treatment of premature ejaculation: A placebo-controlled study using a validated questionnaire. International Journal of Impotence Research, 18(6), 534–538. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijir.3901469
  3. Chen, et al. (2019, June). Efficacy and safety of sertraline for the treatment of premature ejaculation: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine. Retrieved January 14, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6571276/
  4. Di Loro, et al. (2003, July 18). Sildenafil does not improve sexual function in men without erectile dysfunction but does reduce the postorgasmic refractory time. Nature News. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from https://www.nature.com/articles/3901005
  5. Henry, R., & Morales, A. (2003, August). Topical lidocaine-prilocaine spray for the treatment of premature ejaculation: A proof of concept study. International journal of impotence research. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12934056
  6. Minhas, et al. (2007, April). Can sildenafil treat primary premature ejaculation? A prospective clinical study. International journal of urology : official journal of the Japanese Urological Association. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17470165
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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