If you’re new to Viagra, here’s the lowdown on how to pop the little blue pill.

It depends on a few factors, including your age and why you’re taking it, since Viagra isn’t only used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).

Your healthcare provider will tell you how much you should take.

For help with erections, the recommended dose for adults 18 to 64 years old is 50 milligrams (mg). Adults older than 65 often start with the lower dose, 25 mg.

The dose could be increased to 100 mg depending on how effective it is and how well it’s tolerated.

Ideally, take it an hour before sexual activity. But it can be taken 30 minutes to 4 hours before sexual activity, too.

How you take Viagra matters when it comes to getting the most, ahem, bang for your buck.

Eat a light meal beforehand

Viagra can be taken with or without food, but if you like to fuel up before getting busy, try to keep your meal choice light.

Eating a large or high fat meal before you take it can delay absorption, meaning it’ll take longer to take effect.

If time is of the essence and you’d prefer your stiffy sooner rather than later, eat a lighter meal.

Already ate a large meal? You might want to wait a couple of hours to allow enough time for digestion before taking it.

Give yourself time for it to work

Don’t pop the pill and expect to get down to business right away. Plan on giving yourself some time for it to work.

You can take it up to 4 hours before having sex, so no need to rush or stress about it.

Don’t drink alcohol after taking

If you like a glass of wine or another alcoholic bev to unwind before sexy time, you should be fine.

But drinking more than that after taking Viagra could put a major damper on your rendezvous.

Moderate to heavy drinking can make it — er — harder for you to get an erection. Also, Viagra can lower blood pressure. Combining it with alcohol can increase this effect.

If your blood pressure drops, symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, and headache could also hinder your hard-on and mood.

Get in the mood

Viagra won’t work if you aren’t sexually aroused.

If you’re going to take it before then, you’ll need to help it along by getting in the mood.

Need a little help? Enjoy anything that you find sexually stimulating — as long as it’s legal and between consenting adults, of course.

Try these to get your juices flowing:

Viagra normally starts to work within 30 to 60 minutes but can take as long as 2 hours.

If you’re relaxed and sexually aroused, it could take effect sooner.

It depends on individual factors. Your age, overall health, and what’s in your stomach when you take it can all affect how long it lasts.

Typically, Viagra can last up to 4 hours, but many users say it begins to wear off within 2 or 3 hours. Some have reported it lasting up to 5 hours.

In case you’re wondering, you won’t have a boner the entire time. It just means you’ll be able to get hard during that window.

Usually, your erection will go away after you ejaculate.

Like Viagra, most ED drugs can be taken 30 to 60 minutes before sex.

The exception is Stendra (avanfil), which is the fastest-acting ED medication available. It only takes 15 to 30 minutes to kick in, depending on the dose.

When it comes to duration, Cialis (tadalafil) is the longest lasting and works for up to 36 hours.

Viagra works by increasing blood flow to the penis so you can get hard enough, long enough to engage in sexual activity.

Everyone is different, but it’s definitely possible.

Your stamina, natural refractory period, and level of arousal are just some things that can determine how many times you’ll be able to come before the medication wears off.

Yes, as is the case with all meds.

Below are the most common side effects of Viagra. Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms for an extended period of time:

  • headache
  • feeling sick
  • back and muscle pain
  • dizziness
  • rash
  • flushing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • vision problems, such as blurred vision or a blue hue

Though not common, some serious side effects have been reported.

Stop taking Viagra and call 911 or your local emergency services, or go to the nearest emergency room, if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • an erection that doesn’t go away (priapism), which can cause permanent damage
  • sudden vision loss in one or both eyes, which may be a sign of a serious condition called nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy
  • sudden changes in hearing, including tinnitus, decrease in hearing, or hearing loss
  • chest pain or other signs of a heart problem or stroke, such as shortness of breath, confusion, trouble speaking, or nausea and vomiting
  • signs of a severe allergic reaction, which may include fever, trouble swallowing, skin blisters, or swelling of the face, eyes, or tongue
  • seizures

No. Stick to your prescribed dose to avoid any unpleasant and potentially serious effects.

You can try masturbating or other methods of sexual stimulation to see whether it helps. If it still doesn’t work, talk to your doctor about adjusting your dose.

There are other ED treatments available if needed, including lifestyle changes that may help.

There’s no hard and fast rule here. It really comes down to you and your doctor.

According to the manufacturer, Viagra’s been found to help approximately 4 out of 5 people get and keep erections hard enough for sex, but it’s not for right for everyone.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend trying it over the course of a few weeks or months, depending on your condition.

If you’ve tried it a few times and feel you’ve done your part to make it as effective as possible, then definitely have a talk with your doctor.

Just once a day if it’s being used for ED.

Taking more than a single prescribed dose in the same day increases your chance of a perma stiffy and other serious side effects.

Yep. Resist the urge to take Viagra recreationally. Be sure it’s prescribed by a doctor who’s aware of your medical history.

Recreational Viagra is a thing, and so is counterfeit Viagra. Both are risky and can lead to a lot bigger and scarier side effects than a ranging monster of a hard-on.

A doctor will prescribe the safest and most effective dose based on your health and needs. An online retailer or some dude at the bar, not so much.

When taken as prescribed, Viagra can help you get hard so you can engage in sexual activity, but don’t expect it to do all the work.

Take it as directed, and make sure to help it along by being sufficiently turned on when you use it.

If you’re not happy with your results, talk to your doctor about other available treatments.


Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.