ERECTIONS ∙ 4 minutes read

The do's and don'ts of taking Viagra

By Emily Cameron

Whether you’ve taken Viagra before or you’re a first-time user, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the basic do’s and don’ts. While Viagra is typically safe and effective, there are a few things you can do (and shouldn’t do) to get the most out of it. 

Do’s

1. Do take it at the right time

It’s recommended that you take Viagra about an hour before you plan to have sex, as it can take around 30-60 minutes to kick in. Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) can last for up to 4 hours, so you don’t need to worry about rushing a romantic evening. 

2. Do make sure you’re in the mood

It’s a common misconception that taking Viagra will supply you with an instant erection, but don’t worry - you will only get an erection when you are aroused and ready. Rather than giving you an erection that lasts 4 hours, it provides a 4-hour window where the treatment will be effective.

3. Do take the right dosage

Viagra comes in three doses: 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg. The recommended dose for most men is 50mg, however some men may require a different dose. If you feel like you need a stronger or weaker dose, you should speak to a clinician about having it adjusted. You shouldn’t exceed the maximum recommended daily dose of 100mg, as this will increase your chance of experiencing side effects.  

Don’ts

1. Don’t eat a heavy meal beforehand

Eating a heavy or high-fat meal before you take Viagra can mean that it takes longer for it to take effect, as a heavy meal can delay how quickly the body absorbs it. 

2. Don’t mix alcohol and Viagra

Alcohol-induced erectile dysfunction is common, as consuming alcohol can lower sexual sensitivity. Alcohol has also been shown to reduce testosterone levels, which might mean you have a lower hormonal interest in sex after drinking. It goes without saying that if you plan to have sex, it’s best to avoid anything that will actively work against your erection.

3. Don’t eat grapefruit 

Grapefruit contains a concoction of chemicals, including furanocoumarin, which is believed to alter the way medicine is absorbed into the blood. This chemical can delay the absorption of Viagra because it binds to specific enzymes in your intestinal tract and causes blood levels to rise.  

The bottom line

When used safely, Viagra is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction. There are a few do’s and don’ts that you should be aware of when it comes to taking Viagra, but once you understand how to use it safely you will be on your way to having stronger, firmer erections.  

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