Sexual Health Q&A

Can medication for erectile dysfunction shorten a man’s refractory period?

The refractory period is a span of recovery time after orgasm. During a man’s refractory period, he does not become sexually aroused again until this rest time is finished. Younger men may only need a few minutes before they’re ready for sex again. But the refractory period tends to get longer as a man gets older. It may last 12 hours, a day, or even longer.

Many men are curious to know whether medication for erectile dysfunction (ED) can shorten the refractory period. Some studies have shown that this is possible. For example, research published in early 2000 found that sildenafil (Viagra) shortened the refractory period by an average of 11 minutes for a group of 20 men who were around 32 years old.

It’s important to remember, however, that medications for erectile dysfunction are meant to treat that condition. They work by increasing blood flow to the penis so that a man can get and keep an erection firm enough for sexual activity. They are not approved for men who do not have ED.

Also, they are not safe for all men. Those who take nitrates should not take ED medication, as the drugs can interact and cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

Men who are concerned about their refractory period are encouraged to speak to their doctor. While it’s possible that medication may help, there may be other ways to enhance sexual satisfaction.

Men should not take any erectile dysfunction medication without a doctor’s guidance.