A natural biological set of processes occurs when men have or prepare for sex, broken simply into three parts.
The first is arousal. To achieve an erection that's firm enough for sex, men have to experience mental and/or sensory stimulation. This causes more blood to flow into the penis than normal, resulting in an erection.
The second part is using that erection. Whatever the nature of your sexual activities, guys require continued stimulation to stay erect.
Lastly, you experience enough stimulation. You reach climax, experience an orgasm, and ejaculate. This is typically the final step, as the erection will begin to fade and the penis returns to normal, followed by a "refractory" period during which it may be harder to get another erection.
Can you stay hard after an orgasm? There are a few techniques that can help keep you hard even after an orgasm. It’s a different story after ejaculation has occurred, but there are a few ways you can reduce the time it takes to get hard again.
Can You Stay Hard After Having an Orgasm?
There's an important distinction between an orgasm and ejaculation. Although they're typically experienced at or around the same moment, they're actually two different physiological processes.
- An orgasm is the feeling of intense pleasure that's the result of reaching sexual climax.
- Ejaculation is the physical expulsion of seminal fluids from the penis.
It’s technically possible for you to experience an orgasm without ejaculating. This is, in fact, a technique known as semen retention and is a common practice for men who engage in tantric sex. It can be difficult to learn this technique and requires intentional practice.
One of the easiest ways to stay harder longer is to learn how to activate, strengthen, and train your pelvic floor muscles. By engaging in these so-called Kegel exercises and learning to control your flow of urine when peeing, you can become more aware of the muscles involved in ejaculation. If you're able to stop from expelling semen during sex you may be able to experience a “dry orgasm” and continue to stay erect.
Another technique is called edging. Again, edging requires discipline and some practice to perfect. Basically, pay close attention to your body in the 20 seconds before you ejaculate. Become familiar with this feeling, and as you recognize this sensation during sex or intimacy, try stopping all stimulation. This is intended to prevent ejaculation and allow you to stay erect to continue having sex.
With enough practice, you'll find you may be able to go up to the point of ejaculation, then stop. This is intended to prolong sex, with the near-pleasure of an orgasm without the finality of ejaculation.
What Happens After You Ejaculate?
The process of achieving an erection is essentially reversed after you’ve reached climax and ejaculated.
Your heart rate and breathing begin to slow to their normal rates. The tension in your muscles dissipates and they begin to relax. The extra blood in your penis is allowed to exit the penis and penile tissues, and your erection begins to soften. It’s common to feel sleepy or relaxed after ejaculation due to the release of "feel-good" hormones.
The official term for this post-ejaculation time is the “refractory period.” Although there's much to be learned about the refractory period, we know a few things about the body's response.
- It’s during this time that your body begins to “recover” from sexual excitement.
- During this time, it can be more challenging to respond to sexual stimulation.
- It's also difficult to orgasm again until after the refractory period.
- The duration of the refractory period can vary between individuals. This is one aspect of sex and climax that researchers haven't fully elucidated yet.
Researchers have concluded, however, that age does play a factor in length of refractory period. For younger men, it’s not uncommon for their refractory period to be over within 15 minutes and sex/erections possible once again; for older men, it can take several hours to be fully recovered for sex once again.
Can You Shorten the Refractory Period?
There is some scientific evidence to suggest that using Viagra® (sildenafil) can help to reduce the refractory period in men.
Viagra is a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor. It works by helping to keep blood vessels dilated and more blood flowing into the penis.
It blocks an enzyme that normally reduces blood flow – basically removing the body's usual "braking" system – and in doing so helps to keep blood flowing into the penis, even after you've ejaculated.
A man must be aroused for Viagra to be effective, as Viagra does not create spontaneous erections without the beginnings of this normal process. That can be difficult if you've just ejaculated and are in a refractory period, but because of Viagra's mechanism it can help guys maintain an erection for longer. Viagra is the most popular erectile dysfunction medication, almost all of which are in the same class of PDE5 inhibitors, including Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil).
Although often considered the same thing, experiencing an orgasm and ejaculating are not identical. A few techniques can help you enjoy multiple orgasms during sex and stay hard the entire time. However once you've ejaculated, your body will enter into a refractory period and it may take time before you can become erect again. This can vary based on age and physical fitness. Since erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra have such a significant impact on blood flow, it’s possible that taking Viagra may help to reduce the refractory period.
Curious if ED meds are right for you? Click here to get started with a free consultation from Rex MD.
Ejaculatory and Orgasmic Disorders
Semen Retention: Benefits & How To Orgasm Without Ejaculation
What is the refractory period? | ISSM
“Is It Normal, Doc?” Five Changes All Men Experience as They Age | Tower Urology
Sildenafil does not improve sexual function in men without erectile dysfunction but does reduce the postorgasmic refractory time | International Journal of Impotence Research
Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) Inhibitors In the Management of Erectile Dysfunction | NCBI