Taking Viagra (Sildenafil) for the First Time: Your Guide & What to Expect

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Viagra is one of the most well-known and popular treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED), which can be caused by physical or psychological factors such as heart disease or stress. Taking Viagra can help overcome ED and can help result in an erection that is hard enough for sex. Taking Viagra for the first time can be a daunting experience as first-time users often have many questions. We’ve put together a guide about what to expect when taking Viagra for the first time which can help.


What to know about taking Viagra

Viagra will help you get an erection if you struggle to get or keep one, and you will notice that your erection will stay hard as long as you want it to, but usually lasts around 4 hours. But note that Viagra will not help you last longer than normal and after ejaculation, your erection will go down as normal. However, the refractory period between erections is likely to be shorter when taking Viagra.

If you’ve bought or ordered Viagra for the first time here are a few key points you should consider:

  • Take A Viagra Trial Run: Instead of taking Viagra to have sex, consider taking a trial run and taking it on your own to see what it’s like.
  • Timing: Viagra normally takes between 30 minutes to an hour to kick in so it will take some time to take effect before having sex.
  • Communicate: Talking to your partner is key to good sex, especially if it's your first time taking Viagra. Both partners should be prepared.

 

How much Viagra should I take the first time?

While there is a range of doses available, you should only take one tablet as instructed and should only take one tablet over 24 hours. When taking Viagra for the first time, the recommended dosage is 50mg. Viagra is also available in a lower strength of 25mg, or a higher strength of 100mg. The dosage you get prescribed depends on various factors such as side effects and your response. Read more in our article about Viagra Dosages.
 

How and when to take Viagra

You should take one tablet around one hour before sexual activity, as it can take up to an hour to kick in. You can swallow the tablet with water, just make sure not to crush or chew the tablet. It’s also best to take Viagra on an empty stomach as food can affect the absorption of the tablet.
 

How long does Viagra take to work?

On average, Viagra takes around 30-60 minutes to work. However, it has been known to take effect in as little as 12 minutes. If you have eaten close to the time of taking Viagra, it can take up to 2 hours to work, as food can affect the absorption of Viagra.
 

How long does Viagra last?

Viagra usually lasts for around 4 hours before the effects start to wear off. Some men find that they can keep an erection for up to 6 hours after they have taken Viagra. Viagra doesn’t stop your erection from going down after you ejaculate, so it will only last up to 6 hours if you don’t orgasm. For more information, check out our article on How Long Does Viagra Last?.
 

How long does Viagra stay in your system?

Viagra can stay in your system for up to 24 hours but it takes about four to five half-lives for a drug to be fully eliminated in your body. But it’s not likely to be effective past the 6-hour mark; as the amount of the drug in your blood is too little to have an impact.
 

Does Viagra work the first time you take it?

While the success rate is high, Viagra may not work the first time and is not guaranteed to always work. This may be down to not being aroused or other factors such as the dosage. Viagra will only work when you are sexually stimulated, so try to get into the right frame of mind and feel relaxed as this will help to increase the chances of Viagra working the first time. If you think it may be the dosage, it’s recommended that you try taking it on 8 separate occasions before deciding to increase the dose or try another medication.

Relevant Guide: Here’s What To Do If Viagra Isn’t Working.
 

Does Viagra make you last longer?

No, it will not make you last longer, Viagra works by helping you to achieve and maintain an erection and does not have any effect on the time taken to ejaculate. The mechanism of the body that causes an erection is different to the mechanism that causes ejaculation.

If you are losing your erection too quickly, or not lasting as long as you would like because your erection will not stay hard, then Viagra can help. However, if you are ejaculating too early, then Viagra will not help. Our guide to What To Do When Losing An Erection can help you.

Also, Viagra will not help you to stay hard after you have had an orgasm. However, it can allow you to get an erection soon after ejaculation, although you may have to wait a short while. The refractory period before getting another erection is also quicker after taking Viagra. Read our article on Does Viagra Make You Last Longer for more information.

 

Does Viagra make your penis bigger?

If you have erectile dysfunction and are finding it difficult to get a full erection, Viagra can cause your erection to feel bigger than it normally is. While Viagra doesn’t physically make your penis size larger, it does allow more blood to enter it and stay there for a longer period. Our blog post ‘Does Viagra Make Your Penis Bigger’ has more information on this. But it can make your erection harder and appear bigger than normal, by allowing your erection to reach its full potential.

Related: How To Get Stronger Erections For Better Sex

 

Will I experience side effects?

Most men can take Viagra safely without experiencing side effects. If you do experience side effects, they are likely to be short-lived and mild. Common side effects of sildenafil include:

  • Headache
  • Stuffy nose
  • Facial flushing
  • Indigestion

 

Read more: What To Do If Viagra Is Giving You A Headace

If side effects are bothering you, speak to your prescriber about trying a lower dose, or an alternative treatment.

If you experience serious side effects such as chest pain or an erection lasting for longer than 4 hours, you should seek urgent medical attention.

You should make your prescriber aware of medication that you are taking or any medical conditions that you have. Certain medical conditions and medication can interact with sildenafil, increasing the likelihood of experiencing side effects.
 

Is it safe to take Viagra?

Yes, Viagra is a safe and effective medicine used to treat ED under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. However, not everyone is able to use Viagra due to certain health conditions such as an allergy, heart, liver or blood pressure problems. Talk to your doctor to make sure Viagra is safe for you to take.
 

Tips for maximising the effects of Viagra

Viagra (sildenafil) is most effective when taking certain factors into consideration. These include:

  • Take Viagra one hour before sexual activity. Taking Viagra sooner may mean not enough of the drug has reached your bloodstream to make an impact. Taking it more than 2 hours before may also have an impact on the effectiveness as it is likely to have passed the peak.
  • Take Viagra on an empty stomach. This will help the absorption process, but it doesn’t mean you can’t eat. Choose to eat a light meal or wait a few hours after you have eaten. A heavy meal or foods high in fat or carbohydrates can reduce the effectiveness of Viagra.
  • Avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice before consuming Viagra. This is because grapefruit increases the chances of experiencing side effects.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol. You can safely drink a moderate amount of alcohol with Viagra and this may help you to relax more, but you should limit it to 1-2 units. This is because drinking heavily can increase the chances of side effects, and also makes it harder to get and keep an erection. For more information, read our guide on Is It Safe To Mix Viagra And Alcohol.
  • Try to get in the mood and relax. Viagra will only work if you are sexually aroused and stimulated. Foreplay can help you get into the right frame of mind, help you relax and maximise the chances of Viagra working.

 

Viagra results

Before taking Viagra, you may be experiencing difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection during sex. If you are experiencing a lack of sexual desire, Viagra will not help. However, if you are finding it difficult to get and keep an erection during sex, Viagra can help to counteract these effects by encouraging an increased blood supply to the penis.

Read more: How To Maintain An Erection And Stay Hard For Longer

After taking Viagra, many men find that they are able to achieve a satisfactory erection, until the point of orgasm. After this point, you will lose your erection and your penis will revert to its flaccid state until you are ready to go again. If this is within 4 hours of having taken Viagra, you may find that the medication is still effective. The results of Viagra before and after are generally very good, with clinical studies suggesting that Viagra has a high success rate of around 70%. Viagra reviews also advocate its effectiveness, with most users experiencing little to no side effects. 

 

So, what should I expect when taking Viagra?

When taking Viagra for the first time, it is important to relax and get yourself into the right frame of mind. Remember, an erection doesn’t happen straight away, and you will need to be sexually aroused for Viagra to work. For the best results, you should take one tablet around one hour before sexual activity. Remember, it does not make you last longer and your erection will go down as normal when ejaculating. It’s to help you get and stay hard for sex, not for stamina.

If the tablets are successful but you’re experiencing side effects, you should speak to your prescriber about trying a lower dose.

Remember, if it doesn’t work the first few times, it’s not a big deal! It’s quite common and you should try taking sildenafil (Viagra) on 8 separate occasions, as it can take time for you to adjust and get used to the idea of taking a tablet to give you a boost. If you still have no success after taking Viagra one 8 separate occasions, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist about increasing the dose or trying another treatment. There are many erectile dysfunction treatments available which all have high success rates. If you need more help, contact our registered pharmacists by email or by phone.


Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.