viagra_orgasm

Why Can’t I Orgasm on Viagra or Cialis?

For the last time: Boner pills make you hard, but they won’t make you cum

Like an estimated 30 million men in the U.S. alone, 54-year-old Sam (a pseudonym) recently began suffering from erectile dysfunction. In hopes of rediscovering his boner, he’s popped nearly every pill imaginable and regularly injects his penis with erection-enhancing drugs like TriMix. And while they’ve helped him achieve some degree of wood, one issue remains: They’ve made it impossible for him to cum. “None of the medications have helped with that,” he says.

He has plenty of company. From frustrated girlfriends and husbands to trans women on hormones, the internet is filled with concerned citizens desperate to know why ED medications like Viagra and Cialis — which are supposed to be quick fixes for sad dicks — are robbing them of the orgasms they so badly want.

It’s not just dudes either. In some cases, the drug is also given to people with clits to boost arousal and sensitivity, but many of them report the same frustrating problem: They’re engorged, but climax evades them.

What gives?

When Viagra, Levitra or Cialis Doesn’t Work

“The main myths surrounding erection pills serve as bookends with the truth lying in between,” explains Paul Turek, a urologist and founder of The Turek Clinic, a medical practice dedicated to male sexual health. “One is that they don’t really work, and the other is that they work all the time. The truth is that the class of PDE5i medications including sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil [that’s doctor code for Viagra, Levitra and Cialis respectively] work very well with common causes of erectile dysfunction — including stress — but can fail to help in more extreme cases due to nerve injury, advanced age or diabetes.”

In other words, they’re not going to work for everyone all the time, and if you have a deeper, more underlying issue, a harder cock or clit isn’t going to make much of a difference.

That’s especially true considering that ED drugs aren’t even designed to help you get off — all they’re meant to do is inflate your genitals. “They’re literally penile stimulants,” Turek explains. “They prevent the breakdown of energy molecules in the penis, allowing molecular energy to remain there longer.” That’ll obviously make you hard, but it won’t make you horny, and without the mental or emotional arousal you need to orgasm, all you’re left with is a rock-hard dong — a physical body without the spirit to make it move (or cum).

Losing Sensitivity, and Ability to Orgasm, on Viagra

In fact, one frequent complaint seems to be that boner pills can actually make your dick so hard that it loses sensitivity. “I’ve had patients tell me that their erections feel ‘woody,’” Turek says, explaining that for some people, their boners might be so firm that it becomes uncomfortable. “This kind of stress is a great distractor from climax and good erections, because the ‘fight or flight’ nervous system is activated. Who wants to have an erection and climax when you’re running for your life from a woolly mammoth?!?!”

Comparing a raging boner to the blind fear of a prehistoric animal attack might be a bit of a stretch, but if you’re willing to put the Ice Age fanfic aside, his analogy does hold weight — for people who can’t get off on boner pills, the problem really can be mental. “A lot of men take ED drugs to help with sexual issues stemming from performance anxiety,” explains Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and author of Tell Me What You Want. “These drugs provide a physiological treatment that doesn’t address the underlying psychological issues — it’s a classic case of treating the symptom rather than the cause.”

Basically, then, it’s unrealistic to expect meds to do all the heavy lifting in solving your performance anxiety and the orgasmic troubles that may originate from it. “Most sexual problems actually have their roots in psychology,” Lehmiller continues. “If we don’t bother to treat the underlying issues like anxiety, stress and shame, we’re going to find that they keep popping up.”

Viagra and Cialis’ Sexual Side Effects

Another factor in the apparent battle between erections and orgasms on boner pills is dosage and side effects. Take too much of a drug like Cialis or Viagra, and you could wind up with side effects that make it even harder to get off — Sam says his have ranged from nasal congestion and heartburn to facial flushing, nausea and fatigue. Side effects can also include headaches, an upset stomach, blurred vision, rashes and sudden hearing loss, none of which make it particularly easy to get off.

Meanwhile, TriMix, which (again) needs to be injected, has been known to cause bruising, but that’s really the least of some people’s problems — for example, while Sam has never experienced it himself, he’s heard countless horror stories of TriMix-induced priapism. (Priapism, for those who don’t know, is a painful, prolonged erection that persists despite a lack of sexual arousal.) Still, Turek insists that the side effects of these drugs are usually “mild” and their risk profile is “quite low.”

Nevertheless, negative reactions have pushed many wary erection-seekers into the dangerous territory of unregulated drugs. In particular, many forum users wax lyrical about a substance called Phenibut, a Russian “smart drug” branded as a catch-all solution to depression, anxiety and just about everything else. There’s a Scientology-level obsession to their posts, which cite the drug as being able to boost orgasms, induce euphoria and transform wives into “animals.”

Scratch the surface, however, and you’ll find tales of psychosis, addiction and general chaos tied to the “litty” new drug. And so, rumors that it can be mixed with boner pills to heighten orgasm should be treated with extreme caution — nobody I spoke with recommends it, and the effects can be disastrous.

In fairness, though, it’s just the latest myth in a long line of misinformation about ED and the drugs meant to solve it. The good news: Bust the myths, and you’ll be sure to bust a nut.