The Impact of Viagra in Men

29 December, 2020
For men, Viagra is a double-edged sword. Just as it can help to treat erectile dysfunction, it can also cause feelings of insecurity and low masculinity. We'll tell you more about its physiological and emotional effects.

Viagra has been one of the most revolutionary pharmaceuticals to treat sexual health in recent years. But what has been the impact of Viagra in men? In this article, we’ll analyze all of the factors.

On the one hand, it has enabled sexual relations and coitus with penetration not only for men with age-related sexual problems, but also for men that suffer from erectile dysfunction.

On the other hand, did you know that Viagra use entails an emotional impact in men that they don’t usually talk about? Read ahead to find out more.

What is Viagra?

Viagra (sildenafil) is a medication doctors use to treat erectile dysfunction. That’s not all it does either. Doctors also use it to treat pulmonary hypertension and high-altitude pulmonary edema.

Based on the data published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, we can say that it is a vasodilator that functions by inhibiting phosphodiesterase, in charge of the degradation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate in the corpus cavernosum.

The longer cyclic guanosine monophosphate remains in the interior of the corpus cavernosum, the more potent and long-lasting the erections will be, and the more dilated the helicine arteries of the corpus cavernosum will become.

It’s extremely important to keep in mind that Viagra makes cyclic guanosine monophosphate last longer – it doesn’t create it. There has to be sexual stimulation. Viagra isn’t a magic wand.

Also read: Drugs and Erectile Dysfunction: Is There a Relationship?

Epidemiology of the use of Viagra

A man with tablets.
Many cases of erectile dysfunction are associated with anxiety, depression, and a loss of self-esteem.

In Spain, for example, approximately 2 million men between the ages of 25 and 70 suffer from erectile dysfunction. Additionally, a large number of the cases are associated with anxiety, depression, and a loss of self-esteem.

Typically, primary care physicians provide treatment by prescribing sildenafil, vardenafil, or tadalafil, each under their respective brand names.

However, due to these imbalances in mood, treating erectile dysfunction shouldn’t be limited to an erectile solution, but should treat other areas in the patient’s life too.

The success of Viagra, therefore, is not measured only by the erection, but rather the patient’s quality of life, psychological well-being, satisfaction with their relationship with their partner, and general vitality.

Erectile dysfunction affects the well-being and quality of life of those who suffer from it.

Viagra’s impact on emotional health

The advantages of using Viagra are not only organic and visible to the naked eye. By promoting fast, long-lasting erections, there are a variety of emotional benefits. 

One that stands out is the confidence of being able to be involved in a satisfactory sexual relationship, and to satisfy their partner. As a direct effect, mood and self-esteem are significantly improved.

A study conducted by John Dean showed that using sildenafil not only improved erectile dysfunction, but also symptoms of depression. Furthermore, they proved that these improvements were stable in a specific therapy for depression.

This doesn’t mean that sildenafil acts directly on symptoms of depression. This type of medication has no known effect on the central nervous system. After taking Viagra, the men who participated in the study had increased erections and attempted to form full sexual relationships.

This appears to have positive effects on the men’s mood, self-esteem, and confidence. In turn, this increased sexual desire, and consequently improved their relationships and general life satisfaction.

According to a number of studies, regardless of age, men associate the health of their relationships with sexual well-being. When they suffer from erectile dysfunction, they feel less masculine.

This will affect their relationship. It causes a vicious cycle, affecting their social circle, causing low self-esteem and feelings of loneliness, or the thought that they’ve become old before their time.

Disadvantages of using Viagra

Problems in bed.
Using Viagra can have some disadvantages for men.

The problem arises when doctors present Viagra as a magical cure for the man’s broken masculinity. As we explained earlier, it’s not a magic wand.

The main emotional issue related to its use is assuming that sildenafil and erections are enough to help men to regain satisfaction in general, and particularly in their relationships.

A study conducted at the University of Canterbury by Annie Potts, called “Viagra Stories“, suggests that in some couples, the use of sildenafil can be associated with tension in the relationship, as well as anxiety and a rift between partners.

On the other hand, many studies like John Dean’s reflect that, despite the emotional advantages, many patients who use sildenafil to treat erectile dysfunction should also go to couples therapy or psychosexual therapy.

This can be particularly important for couples who haven’t been sexually intimate for a long period of time. They need to re-establish sexual intimacy.

Additionally, when unresolved problems exist in the relationship, it can affect sexual intimacy. Viagra will not solve the problem.

You might enjoy: Advice for Couples with Sexual Frustration

The big problem with Viagra: the myths about sexuality

One of the biggest issues when using Viagra is the emotional impact around a man’s masculinity. Although it increases self-esteem by allowing men to perform coitus, he can also feel like he’s doing it artificially, and that he can’t satisfy his partner without chemicals – almost like he’s a broken toy.

This highlights the need for therapy together with the medication. The medication is valuable, but it isn’t enough. Without addressing these myths about manhood, masculinity, and sexuality, Viagra can have good effects physiologically, but be damaging at an emotional level.

Some of the sexual myths that have the biggest influence on Viagra’s emotional impact in men are:

  • Viagra will repair my broken relationship
  • Viagra improves sexual relations
  • For erectile dysfunction, Viagra is a quick fix
  • Erectile dysfunction is a medical condition, an illness, or abnormal
  • There is a directly proportional relationship between a man’s erection and his masculinity
  • If I take Viagra, I’ll depend on it for the rest of my life to have sexual relations
  • Full sexual relations are only achieved by penetration
  • I can only satisfy my partner by means of penetration

The benefits of debunking the myths

Debunking these myths, particularly those associated with masculinity and sexual relations, can help men to obtain a positive effect from Viagra. That’s why, depending on the use of Viagra, it may be advisable to include the following:

  • That the man understands that erectile dysfunction isn’t an illness.
  • Show them that there is no real link between erections and masculinity.
  • Teaching them that there are more ways to sexual satisfaction than just by heteronormative sexual relations (coitus with penetration). Talk about the idea that the role an erection plays in a sexual relationship doesn’t have to be important.
  • Teach about communication in sex, and discussing preferences and accepting those of your partner
  • Practice social skills in the relationship, such as communication of feelings or resolution of conflicts.

Keeping an eye on Viagra’s impact in men not only involves monitoring erections and their sex lives. In fact, addressing the emotional aspects is almost as important as the physiological ones. 

  • Delgado, J., Blázquez, J., Silmi, A. & Martínez, E. (2008). Factores determinantes de la satisfacción del paciente con el tratamiento para la disfunción eréctil. Actas Urológicas Españolas, 32(10), 995-1003.
  • Melnik, T., Soares, B. & Narsello, A. (2007). Psychosocial interventions for erectile dysfunction (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3.
  • Potts, A., Grace V., Gavey N. & Vares, T. (2004). “Viagra stories”: challenging “erectile dysfunction”. Social Science & Medicine, 59, 489-499.
  • J Sex Med. 2016 May;13(5):852-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.02.166.
    Efficacy and Safety of Sildenafil by Age in Men With Erectile Dysfunction.
  • European Association of Urology (2006) 773–778. Psychological, Social, and Behavioural Benefits for MenFollowing Effective Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Treatment:Men Who Enjoy Better Sex Experience ImprovedPsychological Well-Being. https://www.eu-openscience.europeanurology.com/article/S1569-9056(06)00203-X/pdf
  • Nicola Gavey. Annie Potts. Viagra stories”: challenging ‘erectile dysfunction. https://www.academia.edu/23858494/Viagra_stories_challenging_erectile_dysfunction