All articles

Does Cialis make you bigger? What the science says

Medical review by
Dr. Kelly Anderson
Family Physician, MD, CCFP(EM)
View full bio

The effect that Cialis and similar medications have for treating Erectile Dysfunction is, by now, pretty well established.

But does it do anything for that other source of guys’ sexual anxiety, namely size? Can Cialis really make you bigger?

As welcome as that may or may not be, it just isn’t the case. Cialis and similar ED medications affect the blood flow to your penis, not its physical size.

Yet men taking medication for erectile dysfunction sometimes get a feeling of being bigger. So what’s happening here?

First, we need a closer look at how medications like Cialis work.

What is Cialis?

Cialis is the brand name for a drug called Tadalafil that, like other ED medications, is a PDE5 inhibitor.

What does that mean? In short, PDE5 inhibitors are a group of medications that improve blood flow to certain tissues, including the penis. (Although they were initially, developed to treat cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure).

Cialis comes in a few different doses: 10mg, the recommended starting dosage. 20mg, the highest available dose, and a daily 2.5 mg or 5mg dosage. The daily form of Cialis is designed for those with ED who are looking to have more spontaneous sex without the medication planning.

How does Cialis work?

Cialis increases blood flow to the tissue of your penis. To get a little scientific, PDE5 inhibitors block something called cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5, or PDE5 for short. This is an enzyme that’s responsible for regulating the flow of blood to the penis (and other areas of the body).

By inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme, Cialis can increase blood flow to the penis, helping you get and keep an erection when you are sexually aroused. 

This last point is important.  You do still need to be sexually aroused for Cialis, and other PDE5 inhibitors to do their thing. Usually, Cialis will start to work within 30 to 60 minutes, so take it at least a half hour before you plan to have sex.

Is effective? In many cases Cialis can be effective. In one study looking at Tadalafil 10 mg and 20 mg, 71% and 84% reported improved erections compared to 33% in the group that received a placebo. 

Does Cialis make you bigger?

Now you know a little more about how Cialis works you can see why Cialis wouldn’t increase penis size.

By relaxing the blood vessels around the penis, Cialis and other PDE5 inhibitors may help you get and maintain an erection, but this process will do nothing for your size.

Having more blood flowing in there might make it feel bigger. More blood flowing to the penis can give you a firmer erection that may alter the sexual experience for your and your partner.

What about lasting longer?

Another common Cialis question is whether taking Cialis will make you last longer before reaching orgasm. Again, this isn’t something Cialis or other PDE5 inhibitors were developed to do.

As you now know, they work by increasing the ability of blood to flow into the soft, erectile tissue of your penis. This makes it easier for you to get and keep an erection.  

This means they usually won’t have any effect on the amount of time that you can have sex before you ejaculate. There also shouldn’t be any impact on the amount of sensitivity you experience during sex.

That said, there are several studies out there that suggest that PDE5 inhibitors (or which Cialis is one) can help with premature ejaculation. One piece of research analysed various studies, and though it concluded that PDE5 inhibitors did perform better than a placebo for treating premature ejaculation, urged caution about the methodology of some of these studies.

If you’re concerned about your stamina, remember that you’re far from alone. If premature ejaculation is a major issue for you, treatment is available and you should discuss this with your doctor.

If you’re looking for help with ED specifically, Cialis is one of several options available here in Canada.

You can seek advice from a healthcare professional as part of the Felix online assessment - and you can start one here.

Disclaimer

The views expressed here are those of the author and, as with the rest of the content on Active Ingredients, are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider.

All articles
Cialis and alcohol: What you need to know
Read