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Does Viagra Help with Premature Ejaculation?

Denise Asafu-Adjei, MD, MPH

Reviewed by Denise Asafu-Adjei, MD, MPH

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 08/29/2020

Updated 01/07/2024

The effects of Viagra® are pretty well known these days — the average guy understands that if you have erectile dysfunction (ED), Viagra works to help you get hard. But after the top-level stuff is covered, everybody’s expertise on the topic can start to waver.

What Viagra does is common knowledge. But how Viagra works, whether it has other effects on your sex life and other details of “the little blue pill” can get fuzzy if you ask your buddies or the internet — as can the effects of Viagra on premature ejaculation. 

Premature ejaculation (PE) is one of the most common types of sexual dysfunction, with 4–39 percent of men reporting they’ve dealt with it at some point (although reports are very subjective and estimates vary widely). So if you’re worried you’re coming too fast, you’re definitely not alone. And you’re also definitely not the first person to wonder if Viagra could help. Scientists have wondered this too. 

Below, we’ve cleared up the details about what Viagra does, whether Viagra works on PE and what treatments you should be aware of for PE if you’re struggling right now.

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What Is Viagra Used for?

Let’s get technical about Viagra for a second. 

Sildenafil citrate is the active ingredient in this brand name drug. Both the generic and brand name belong to a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5 or PDE5 inhibitors, which inhibit a type of enzyme that affects your blood vessels. This relaxes and dilates the blood vessels in your penis amping up the blood flow to your penis.

That extra blood flow is what makes it easier for you to get an erection.

As for how well sildenafil works? It’s a proven effective treatment for ED. Clinical study after systematic review, and all the PubMed and DOI studies you’ll find doing research alone on a Saturday night agree that this ED medication does what it’s supposed to.

Of course, people who don’t understand what it does may get things wrong — like whether it can treat PE. 

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Does Viagra Help With Premature Ejaculation?

We’ll make this quick, but it’s best to start from the beginning. Sildenafil citrate was originally developed for heart conditions. It can still treat those, but it’s now become the face of erectile dysfunction.

As for the effects of Viagra on premature ejaculation, there’s not nearly as much data, and no FDA approval for this use (in fact, no medication is FDA approved for the treatment of PE).

There are a few studies, though, that have looked at the potential effects of sildenafil on premature ejaculation versus a placebo and other treatments. One study published in 2007 of just 180 men looked at the effects of sildenafil and found that those men:

  • Experienced improvements in IELT (intravaginal ejaculatory latency time, or time to ejaculation after penetration)

  • Increased their sexual satisfaction  

  • Experienced a decrease in the severity of their PE 

  • Had sex more often

The study concluded that sildenafil is “very effective and safe to treat PE,” and may also increase confidence. 

An older clinical trial from 2005 also found that men using sildenafil for PE experienced increased confidence and ejaculatory control, a shorter refractory period — the time required to recover sexually after ejaculating — and improved overall sexual satisfaction. 

However, while they did also see improvement in ejaculatory latency time, it wasn’t a statistically significant increase.

And according to one study, sildenafil worked well in combination with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine, a type of antidepressant.

How Does Viagra for Premature Ejaculation Work?

Experts (the sexual medicine healthcare professionals who study this stuff for a living) haven’t really figured out why ED meds help with PE.

Don’t be too hard on them — it’s an extremely complicated system that we don’t fully understand yet. 

Some things experts think Viagra might do for PE include:

  • Inhibiting the connection between the brain and urogenital system

  • Dilating (opening up) smooth muscles near the vas deferens

  • Boosting the confidence of those with sexual performance anxiety

  • Affecting the nitric oxide in your body

There are a lot of possibilities, but there’s not one clear answer.

Other Premature Ejaculation Treatments

Sexual intercourse isn’t really supposed to have a timer on it, but if your intimacy feels stifled by stamina issues, there are a number of ways to potentially treat PE.

Treatment of premature ejaculation can take many forms, including desensitizing topical creams and sprays or mental health treatment, either with therapy or prescription medications such as antidepressants. There are even exercises that could help you add precious minutes onto the sexual intercourse part of the romantic evening.

Here’s what experts recommend.

Sprays, Creams and Topical Treatments

Mild or moderate premature ejaculation can sometimes be treated using a topical anesthetic that lowers sensitivity in your penis, like benzocaine or lidocaine.

For example, our Clockstopper Climax Delay Wipes and Delay Spray for Men are made using benzocaine or lidocaine to help you control sensitivity without reducing sexual pleasure.

Medications for PE 

We also need to talk about antidepressants. While the FDA has yet to approve them for delaying ejaculation, a range of existing medications are already prescribed off-label for PE, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like sertraline (generic Zoloft®) and paroxetine (generic Paxil®). 

We offer sertraline and paroxetine for premature ejaculation online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. 

Techniques for Treating PE

For guys wondering how to last longer in bed without medication, you’re going to want to learn to control ejaculation — mind over matter.

Techniques include:

  • Performing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen muscles

  • Using the squeeze technique to delay ejaculation during sex

  • Masturbating to take advantage of your refractory time

  • Thicker condoms to reduce sensitivity 

  • Relaxation techniques to avoid orgasm

Want to try the home remedies first? Our guide to stopping premature ejaculation goes into more detail about these tactics and how you can use them to improve your stamina and sexual function. 

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The Bottom Line on Using Viagra for PE

We’re going to be blunt: most people may want to start with the non-prescription at-home methods for premature ejaculation treatments like the squeeze technique or sprays. But if those aren’t working for you, it might be time to try medications. 

If you’re ready to go this route, sildenafil and other medications for erectile dysfunction like tadalafil (Cialis®), vardenafil (Levitra®) or avanafil (available as Stendra®) may help. SSRIs are also another off-label option that could be effective. 

But it’s important to note that these treatments are prescribed off-label for PE, meaning they haven’t been approved by the FDA for this use. They can also carry a risk of side effects or drug interactions for people with certain medical conditions or who are taking other medications.

Remember, there aren’t actually any FDA-approved medications for PE, so here’s what you need to know:

  • Research for the use of sildenafil for premature ejaculation is promising, especially when used in combination with those at-home treatments we mentioned. But more research is needed before any sort of official approval.

  • It’s unclear exactly what Viagra does in addressing PE. It may help calm you down or boost your confidence, or it may decrease sexual stimulation, among other possibilities.

  • Taking Viagra without a prescription or against medical advice — for any reason, both ED and PE included — is dangerous. Always talk to a healthcare provider before taking Viagra.

PE can be lifelong (meaning it has happened since your first sexual experience) or acquired. It can also happen in all sexual activity, or only affect you during certain types of sexual activity or with specific partners.

It doesn’t matter when it started. What matters is getting it treated — safely and soon.

6 Sources

  1. Crowdis M, Leslie SW, Nazir S. Premature Ejaculation. [Updated 2023 May 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546701/.
  2. McMahon C. G. (2007). Premature ejaculation. Indian journal of urology : IJU : journal of the Urological Society of India, 23(2). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721550/#CIT113.
  3. Chen, J., Mabjeesh, N. J., Matzkin, H., & Greenstein, A. (2003). Efficacy of sildenafil as adjuvant therapy to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in alleviating premature ejaculation. Urology, 61(1), 197–200. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=5153405c825bf20e987ac5168faa2f05642d1390.
  4. Wang, W. F., Wang, Y., Minhas, S., & Ralph, D. J. (2007). Can sildenafil treat primary premature ejaculation? A prospective clinical study. International journal of urology : official journal of the Japanese Urological Association, 14(4), 331–335. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1442-2042.2007.01606.x.
  5. 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/.
  6. 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.
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.

Denise Asafu-Adjei, MD, MPH

Dr. Denise Asafu-Adjei is a trailblazing, dynamic, award-winning urologist and researcher. A proud first generation Ghanaian-American, hailing from Bronx, NY, she graduated from the world-renowned Bronx High School of Science. She went on to attend the esteemed Carnegie Mellon University, earning a Bachelor of Science and Minor in Healthcare Policy and Management. During her college years, she solidified her dedication to medicine and scientific research and developed a strong interest in health policy and broader health system issues. She obtained her M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School (Go Blue!).

During medical school, she took a year off to obtain a Master’s in Public Health from the prominent Harvard School of Public Health, with a focus on Healthcare Management. Urology proved to be the perfect intersection for her passion for surgery, general love for engaging with people, and unique ability to connect with others on sensitive issues. She completed her urology residency at the distinguished Columbia University Irving Medical Center, becoming the first Black woman to complete this residency in 2020. She joined the ranks of the 2% of Black urologists in the United States. Dr. Denise completed a competitive Fellowship in Andrology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), becoming an expert in male infertility and sexual dysfunction.

Dr. Denise is currently an Assistant Professor of Urology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, where she serves as the Medical Director of Male Reproductive Medicine. She also holds a dual appointment at the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health.

Dr. Denise strives to utilize her clinical research to help healthcare systems achieve equitable access for patients and high-quality healthcare for male reproductive and sexual dysfunction services. She is also passionate about mentorship and continues to actively mentor medical students and residents. Finally, she seeks to ultimately create and expand urological exchange programs and partnerships in her family’s homeland, Ghana, and other African countries.

Dr. Denise is an active member of various professional organizations and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She serves on the Alumni Board of Carnegie Mellon University and is on the Medical Advisory Board for Hims & Hers.

Dr. Denise enjoys leisure international travel, golf, musicals, political history, and cooking. She also loves spending time with family and friends.

Publications

  • Nam, C. S., Campbell, K. J., Acquati, C., Bole, R., Adler, A., Collins, D. J., Collins, E., Samplaski, M., Anderson-Bialis, J., Andino, J. J., Asafu-Adjei, D., Gaskins, A. J., Bortoletto, P., Vij, S. C., Orwig, K. E., & Lundy, S. D. (2023). The Deafening Silence of Male Infertility. Urology, S0090-4295(23)00837-3. Advance online publication. https://www.goldjournal.net/article/S0090-4295(23)00837-3/fulltext

  • Khera, M., Langston, J. P., Pollard, M. E., Asafu-Adjei, D., Edwards, N. C., Nitschelm, K. D., Patel, M., & Bhattacharyya, S. K. (2023). Implantable Penile Prosthesis for Erectile Dysfunction: Insurance Coverage in the United States. Urology practice, 10(5), 501–510. https://www.auajournals.org/doi/10.1097/UPJ.0000000000000416

  • Gurayah, A. A., Mohamed, A. I., Rahman, F., Bernstein, A. P., Asafu-Adjei, D., Ezeh, U. C., Willey, B. C., Balumuka, D., Yarholar, L. M., Gosman, A., & Ramasamy, R. (2023). The Revolving Door of Residency: Predictors of Residency Attrition for Urology Matriculants Between 2001 and 2016. Urology, 177, 21–28. https://www.goldjournal.net/article/S0090-4295(23)00309-6/fulltext

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