Is Viagra Dangerous if You're Taking it for Fun?

Is recreational Viagra use safe? Find out the risks of taking viagra recreationally and why it's important for a doctor to prescribe it.

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Hands on, practical experience – this is our expertise
by The Promescent Team Last updated 12/11/2023
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ED medications like viagra can be helpful in treating erectile dysfunction. But are there any risks with recreational viagra use?

In 1998, the FDA approved the first oral medication for erectile dysfunction (ED). It only took six months for over five million prescriptions for sildenafil citrate (Viagra) to be written.

Quick FAQs

Many men try ED meds recreationally to see if it can increase their sexual abilities or enhance their athleticism.

While Viagra can make getting an erection easier to obtain, it does not make erections stronger or increase the size of the penis.

Users who take certain medications or have certain conditions are at a higher risk of severe side effects when taking viagra.

However, recreational Viagra use has grown to be a major issue. Can you take Viagra recreationally? Below is a look at the risks of using Viagra on a recreational basis.

How Do Erectile Dysfunction Medications Work?

The most common medications prescribed for ED treatment belong to a class of drugs known as Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors.

Other medications beyond Viagra that belong in this class include:

All of these medications work for ED similarly. However, the overall effects of each medication may be slightly unique based on when they start to work and how long they last.

PDE5 inhibitors cause erections indirectly by influencing how the male body responds to sexual arousal or stimulation.

When PDE5 inhibitors enter the bloodstream, they inhibit the action of PDE5 enzymes. It allows for more blood flow through the penis, which helps men to sustain an erection.

Pro Tip: VitaFLUX Nitric Oxide Booster helps to relax blood vessels and allow more blood flow through increased nitric oxide production.

Because medications do not have a direct effect on the muscles in the penis, the medication only works if an individual is aroused through stimulation.

Taking Viagra recreationally or otherwise does not cause a spontaneous erection. The medication simply makes it easier to get and keep one.

Why Are ED Meds Taken Recreationally?

While the recreational use of Viagra is not recommended, many men do take this medication even without being diagnosed with ED. There are a number of reasons why men may try using Viagra recreationally.

Sexual Enhancement

Viagra, or the profoundly well-known "little blue pill," is recognized for its ability to treat ED and help with erections. Therefore, many men try recreational Viagra because they are looking for sexual performance enhancement or are curious about its effects.

Research has been conducted to determine the extent of recreational ED medication use among men. A study published in 2011 in the Archive of Sexual Behavior found that 4 percent of respondents had used ED medications recreationally.

The questionnaire used in this study gave a list of motivations for using ED medications. All listed reasons were identified as motivators, including:

  • To see what it was like
  • To counteract the effects of other substances that affected the ability to achieve an erection
  • To increase the strength of erections
  • To impress their partner
  • To enhance their self-esteem
  • To heighten libido or sex drive
  • To reduce the refractory phase (how long it takes to get an erection after ejaculation)
  • To heighten sexual sensations

Of all motivators, the two most common were basic curiosity and to counteract the sexual effects of other substances. 

It should be noted that a majority of the men who took part in this study obtained ED medication from a friend or family member.

Recreational Viagra became prevalent in the pornography industry, as men used it to maintain erections during filming.

Athletic Performance

Athletes may use Viagra to take advantage of the proposed idea that the drug helps with exercise.

Sildenafil changes how blood vessels respond in the lungs in much the same way it changes how blood vessels act in the penis. 

The vessels open up, which allows more oxygenated blood flow to the lungs. Theoretically, this is thought to improve physical endurance.

However, while some studies have shown this mechanism of action may be beneficial to some degree, there is not enough information to make definitive claims.

Does Recreational Use of Viagra Improve Sexual Performance?

Viagra may enhance sexual performance in a few ways, but the effects are not worth the risk of taking the medication without medical recommendations.

Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors make it easier to achieve an erection for most men. Additionally, the medication may make it possible to achieve an erection faster after ejaculation.

Viagra is sometimes prescribed for PE but does not cause a significant difference in ejaculatory latency times (ELT). The reason the medication may be prescribed for PE is it may reduce the refractory period post-ejaculation, which may enhance sexual satisfaction.

It should be noted, many assumptions that lead people to try Viagra recreationally are simply rooted in myth, not factual information. There are things Viagra will not do when it comes to enhancing sexual performance, such as:

  • Change your interest in sex
  • Cause a spontaneous erection
  • Prevent premature ejaculation
  • Make your erection more rigid than usual if you don't have ED
  • Enhance the size or length of your penis if you don't have ED

If you are struggling with getting an erection, it is important to speak with your doctor before taking any medication to obtain a proper ED diagnosis.

If you are taking Viagra recreationally to help you with issues with PE, there are safer options. For example, using a product like Promescent Delay Spray for Men is safe for most men and clinically proven to prolong the time until ejaculation.

What Are the Dangers of Taking Viagra Recreationally?

Taking Viagra recreationally to improve sexual performance may be common, but doing so comes along with a long list of risks.

Viagra is known to cause several side effects, interact with other medications, and even be dangerous for men with certain health conditions.

When an individual visits a doctor about ED, the doctor goes through an extensive process to make sure the individual is a safe candidate to use ED medication. This process usually includes:

  • Examining the patient's medical history
  • Discussing the use of other medications
  • Evaluating health conditions that could be causing ED
  • Conducting blood tests, urinalysis, or an ultrasound
  • Performing a physical examination

When someone takes the medication without this prior evaluation, they could put themselves in a dangerous situation. 

PDE-5 can be dangerous for men who take nitrates, have heart disease, or have issues with low blood pressure, for example.

Taking Viagra when you do not need it for ED may also come along with negative sexual side effects. 

In one study of healthy men, using recreational Viagra led to lower sexual confidence and satisfaction, and possibly lower natural erectile function with regular use.

Side Effects of ED Meds

While many men take PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra for ED, these medications do not come without a risk of side effects.

Side effects of sildenafil occur in at least 1 of 100 people who take the medication.

The most common side effects of Viagra include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Nasal congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Skin flushing

In rare cases serious side effects may occur. Contact a doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Sudden decrease or loss of erection
  • Painful or prolonged erections
  • Cardiovascular problems

An allergic reaction to sildenafil is also a possibility. A serious allergic reaction can be life-threatening and characterized by effects like trouble breathing, tightening of the throat or chest, or swelling of the tongue, throat, or face.

If you have taken recreational Viagra without a doctor's prior evaluation, reaching out to a medical provider for advice if you experience serious side effects is critical. You could have underlying health issues at play that can make your situation more concerning than usual.

Lastly, taking Viagra recreationally with other substances may heighten your risks of side effects or adverse events.

Takeaways

Even though Viagra and similar ED medications are heavily prescribed, these medications should never be taken without a prescription.

Viagra may enhance sexual performance to some degree, but not to the extent that many men assume.

While there’s some studies that suggest viagra can improve athletic performance, more research is needed to make a definitive conclusion.

Further, taking recreational Viagra when you don't have ED could pose significant safety issues or even lead to detrimental sexual effects with prolonged use. Be sure to consult with a doctor first before taking Viagra.

The Promescent Team

The Promescent Team

Our team has over a decade of experience in the sexual wellness field and are experts in sexual dysfunctions, like premature ejaculation. We help couples and individuals better understand treatment options available for different types of sexual needs and educate the public on all things related to intimacy. All of our authored content is medically reviewed for accuracy and reliability.

Sources:

Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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  • Perret C, Van Biesen D, Strupler M, Pit-Grosheide P, Vanlandewijck Y. Effect of Sildenafil Citrate on Exercise Capacity in Athletes With Spinal Cord Injury. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2020 Mar 15:1-5. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2019-0421. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32176866. Accessed on Apr, 13, 2023.
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  • "How to Talk to Your Doctor About Viagra - GoodRx." Goodrx.com, 2023, www.goodrx.com/conditions/erectile-dysfunction/how-to-talk-to-your-doctor-about-erectile-dysfunction-medications. Accessed on Apr, 13, 2023.
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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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