ED Treatment

Better Sex? The Ins And Outs Of Recreational Viagra Use

February 28, 2021

Medically reviewed by

David Culpepper, MD

Viagra (sildenafil) gets credit – rightfully – for transforming the diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). Since its approval in 1998, this medication has helped millions of men with ED around the world return to a normal sex life and get their confidence back. 

As with most good things, it's also attracted men interested in recreational use. 

Does Viagra make you bigger? Can Viagra make for sex better?

Despite anecdotes to the contrary, clinical studies of Viagra in men who don't have ED has demonstrated that this powerful erection medication does little to improve pleasure or erection size in healthy men. 

Quick Facts About Recreational Viagra Use

  • Using Viagra (sildenafil) recreationally is not advisable. Healthy men should not be taking sildenafil for fun due to the health risks.
  • Viagra use in healthy men has also demonstrated no erection or pleasure benefit in multiple research studies, even compared to a placebo.
  • Viagra use in healthy men has, however, demonstrated an ability to shorten the time to a second ejaculation after sex.

Viagra (sildenafil) has been heralded as a profound advancement in medicine and men's sexual heath – and for their partners and relationships. Follow-on medications that work by the same mechanism of action, like Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) among others, have helped to carry that torch to millions of men globally.

But to no one's surprise, they've also attracted men who are interested in its potential for recreational use. For men who don't suffer from ED and have no clinical need for sildenafil, is there any benefit to taking Viagra?  

Despite all sorts of claims on internet forums, let's see what the scientific research says.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is when a guy cannot achieve an erection firm enough or long enough for penetrative sexual intercourse. It affects as many as 50% of men over the age of 40, and increases with age. By 70, it's estimated to affect over 70% of guys. 

ED symptoms has a lot to do with cardiovascular health and general well-being. Men who have diabetes, are overweight or obese, and who have serious vascular or heart conditions are often affected by ED. 

Lifestyle changes to address these underlying conditions can often alleviate the symptoms of ED.

How Does Viagra Work?

Viagra is a PDE5 inhibitor. PDE5 is an enzyme in the body that helps to reduce an erection after sex. It's like the braking system on the erection process. 

Viagra (sildenafil) works by reducing that enzyme, meaning that the erection process has fewer roadblocks in place to slow it down. It works really well for the majority of men who try it, and it's been used by millions of guys with ED over the last decade. Vaigra was approved by the U.S. FDA in 1998.

Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) work by the same mechanism of action.

Does Viagra Make Sex Feel Better? What The Research Says

At least two studies have evaluated whether sildenafil, used recreationally, improves sex or has any other benefits when use by men who don't need it or don't suffer from ED. 

Researchers in the early 2000s investigated the effect of sildenafil in young men without ED by splitting 60 healthy guys into two groups randomized in a double-blind fashion to receive either one 25 mg tablet of sildenafil (group 1) taken prior to intercourse, or an identical placebo tablet (group 2). Everyone completed before and after questionnaires relating to their erectile quality. Note that 25 mg is the smallest Viagra dose available.

Conclusively, there were no differences between the two groups in the reported improvement of erection quality.

Another randomized trial from the late 90s evaluated 20 healthy men who received sildenafil 100mg (the highest dose available) or received a placebo in a cross-over design (they got both at different times, but didn't know which was which).

The researchers found that sildenafil caused no changes in seminal or erection parameters when compared to placebo. They didn't have bigger erections nor did they have any changes in their semen during ejaculation.

Overall, these two studies indicate no evidence of an improved erection in healthy guys, and no change to their semen.

The One Thing Viagra CAN Do For Otherwise Healthy Guys

The one thing that both of the studies above did demonstrate, however, is that sildenafil can decrease the post-ejaculatory refractory time.

The post-ejaculatory refractory time is the amount of time required to get another erection and ejaculate. 

In the first study above, 40% of men in the sildenafil group reported a noticeable reduction in post-ejaculatory refractory time compared to only 13% in the placebo group. In the sildenafil group, the median refractory time was 14.9 min before taking the treatment and 5.5 after, a reduction of 9.4 minutes. For placebo guys, the median time only fell by 1.4 minutes.

In the second study, guys getting a placebo took 10.8 minutes to get another erection, compared to only 2.6 minutes on average for guys taking sildenafil. The researchers concluded that, "These results indicate that in normal subjects acute sildenafil treatment does not modify semen characteristics and has a positive influence over the resumption of erections following ejaculation in the presence of a continuous erotic stimulus."

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Should You Use Viagra Recreationally?

The answer is no. Full stop. You should not use Viagra recreationally. 

Viagra does nothing to make you bigger, nor does Viagra make sex better if you're a healthy man with no signs of ED to begin with.

In fact, the researchers looking into this phenomenon concluded that:

"Urologists can confidently inform healthy young men asking for the drug that they will not benefit from it. This may reduce the risks of casual usage in association with drugs like ecstasy or amyl nitrate, with the attendant dangers."

Due to the potential for adverse safety events depending on your medical history, medications you're taking, and other medical conditions, physicians will advise against any health guy taking sildenafil or other prescription ED meds for "fun."  

If you're actually dealing with ED, it's a different story. A medical professional can help you make the right decision about whether prescription treatment is right for you. And with RexMD, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

Rex MD makes ED treatment affordable, easy, and discreet. Get started with a free virtual visit today at RexMD.com.