Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 7/16/2022
Satisfying sex is an important part of any romantic relationship. As a man, your sex drive plays a critical role in how frequently you and your partner have sex, as well as how sexually compatible you feel with each other.
It’s far from uncommon to sometimes go through days, weeks or even months when sex simply isn’t on your mind.
Sometimes, these periods occur when you’re distracted by your career or education. But others could be caused by an underlying lack of interest in sex caused by a weaker-than-normal libido, or sex drive.
If you’ve searched online for information about increasing your sex drive, you’ve probably come across recommendations for libido increasing pills.
While the science behind many of these supplements is lacking, there are some proven options out there that can potentially improve your sex drive and help you maintain better function when you’re spending quality time with your partner.
These include erectile dysfunction medications like sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®) as well as hormonal medications that increase your testosterone levels.
Below, we’ve explained everything you need to know about medications for increasing sex drive and improving your sexual performance.
We’ve also busted a few myths about common supplements for “boosting libido” that aren’t very likely to help you.
Finally, we’ve shared a few simple techniques that you can use to increase your level of interest in sex and have a more enjoyable time in the bedroom with your partner.
Before we get into the specifics of medications for improving your sexual performance, let’s get one thing out of the way: there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all, “normal” sex drive for men or women.
As we’ve covered in our guide to how often couples have sex, people’s interest in sex can vary hugely. For some couples, having sex once every couple of weeks is the norm, while for others, sex might be an everyday (or more than once a day) event.
Put more simply, you shouldn’t panic if you and your partner occasionally go through periods in which you just don’t have sex as often as you usually do, or if you sometimes have sex more or less than the “normal” amount.
However, if you rarely feel interested in sex, or if you find it difficult to have satisfying sex due to issues like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, it could be a signal that something isn’t quite right.
There’s one more thing to get out of the way before we go into detail on pills for increasing male sex drive.
If you’ve ever searched for pills for increasing male sex drive, you’ve probably seen suggestions for “male enhancement” supplements. These are typically over-the-counter, herbal supplements that are promoted as being able to increase sex drive and improve sexual function.
Some male enhancement pills also claim to boost your penis size, increase ejaculation and generally enhance your ability to have sex.
As we’ve covered in our guide to the efficacy of male enhancement pills, the scientific evidence to support these claims is very limited. More worryingly, many over-the-counter pills for boosting sexual performance are tainted with hidden ingredients, including some that may be harmful.
One reason these pills are so widespread is because as supplements, they can be sold without any need for a prescription. This makes them a quick, easy-to-access option that people can try without investing any time into a doctor’s visit.
However, the results usually aren’t impressive, and the risks associated with these products are very real.
Our recommendation? Stick to evidence-based, FDA-approved medications and leave the male enhancement pills where they belong -- on the gas station shelf.
So, if male enhancement supplements generally aren’t effective at increasing your sex drive and improving sexual function, what products are?
Currently, only a few medications have been proven to increase sex drive or improve aspects of sexual function in men. These include ED medications, over-the-counter and prescription drugs for premature ejaculation and hormonal medications like testosterone.
Some of these medications are only available with a prescription, meaning you’ll need to talk to a healthcare professional before you can use them.
ED medications have been around since the late 1990s, when Pfizer first launched Viagra onto the market.
Viagra was initially developed in the 1980s as a treatment for cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure and chest pain associated with coronary heart disease. During early tests, researchers found that it caused penile erections in trial participants.
Realizing the medication’s potential, Pfizer redeveloped and rebranded it, patenting Viagra and bringing it onto the market in the late 1990s as the first oral medication for treating ED.
Since sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) became available to the public in 1998, the FDA has also approved three other medications for ED:
Tadalafil (the active ingredient in Cialis®)
Vardenafil (the active ingredient in Levitra®)
Avanafil (a newer ED medication available as Stendra®)
All of these medications belong to a class of drugs referred to as PDE5 inhibitors, which work by inhibiting the action of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE5) and improving blood flow to the erectile tissue inside your penis.
By increasing blood flow, these medications make it easier to get and maintain an erection when you feel sexually aroused.
Although ED medications don’t directly increase your sex drive, they can have a positive impact on your self-confidence in bed, especially if you often struggle with erectile dysfunction.
Since sex drive is partly psychological, this confidence boost may result in you and your partner having sex more often.
We offer several ED medications online, following a consultation with a licensed physician who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Related Post: Is Viagra Over The Counter?
Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common sexual performance problem that can have a negative impact on your self-confidence in bed, potentially reducing the amount of sex you have.
In fact, research has found that men who are affected by PE are more likely to report low levels of sexual satisfaction, as well as feelings of shame, anxiety and low self-esteem.
Like ED medications, treatments for premature ejaculation don’t appear to directly increase your sex drive. However, by enhancing your sexual performance, they could offer a confidence boost that makes you more motivated to have sex with your partner.
Currently, several options are available for preventing PE and improving your sexual stamina:
Topical premature ejaculation treatments. These treatments work by reducing your level of sensitivity during sex, helping you to last longer in bed. For example, our Delay Spray for Men uses lidocaine to control sensitivity and increase your stamina.
Prescription premature ejaculation pills. Some medications, such as sertraline and paroxetine, can give you more control over your ability to reach orgasm and ejaculate when they’re used as needed before sex.
We offer a range of premature ejaculation treatments online, with prescription products available following a consultation with a healthcare provider.
Testosterone is the male body’s main sex hormone, as well as the most important hormone for regulating your sex drive.
One of the most common causes of loss of sex drive is low testosterone -- a condition that can develop as you age as part of a general decline in hormone levels.
In addition to a weak sex drive, low testosterone can cause a decline in muscle mass, reduced bone density, increased body fat, smaller testicular size and lower red blood cell production.
Although testosterone isn’t typically available in pill form, your healthcare provider may suggest using a form of testosterone, such as testosterone cream or a testosterone injection, if you have clinically low testosterone levels.
Testosterone is a prescription medication, and it can potentially cause side effects. Our guide to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) goes into more detail about the benefits of testosterone therapy for your sex drive, as well as its potential risks and adverse effects.
All of the ED medications approved by the FDA have been through numerous rounds of clinical trials, as well as postmarketing studies. They’re safe and effective medications for most healthy men when they’re used as prescribed.
However, like with all drugs, ED medications can cause adverse effects, and they aren’t suitable for everyone.
For example, potential adverse side effects of sildenafil include:
Myalgia (muscle pain)
Many medications for sexual dysfunction can also interact with other drugs, including some that are used to treat common conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
For example, PDE5 inhibitors such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and avanafil can all cause dangerous symptoms, including a sudden, potentially life-threatening drop in blood pressure, if they’re used with nitrates, alpha-blockers and other medications for high blood pressure.
To reduce your risk of experiencing interactions while using any type of ED pill, it’s important to let your healthcare provider know about any medication, supplements or other substances you currently use or have recently used.
It’s also important to inform your healthcare provider if you have any underlying medical issues, particularly cardiovascular health or sexual health problems.
Our guide to sildenafil interactions provides more information about drug interactions associated with Viagra and similar medications for ED.
As we mentioned above, ED medications like Viagra, Cialis and Stendra don’t directly increase your sex drive, meaning they don’t appear to have any effect on testosterone or other androgen hormones that give you sexual desire.
Our guide to how Viagra works explains this in more detail.
However, the confidence boost provided by Viagra and similar medications may have a positive impact on your desire for sex and sex life in general.
Your sexual drive is at least partly psychological, and an increase in confidence may have a real impact on your sexual appetite and level of sexual energy.
Treating ED may also help to reduce your risk of dealing with recurrent depression, anxiety and other mental health issues that are associated with ED and PE.
A variety of factors all play a role in your sex drive, erectile function and general level of sexual performance. These include your physical health, your psychological wellbeing and the level of connection you feel with your partner.
While medication may help to increase your confidence in the bedroom and make you feel more interested in sex, it’s not the only piece of the puzzle.
In addition to using medication, try using the following techniques to improve arousal and boost your sex drive:
Get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Sleep plays a critical role in your sexual health. In fact, research suggests that sleep disorders are often associated with sexual performance issues such as erectile dysfunction.
Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Our list of sleep hygiene tips shares techniques that you can use to improve your sleep if you’re prone to issues such as late sleeping or insomnia.
If you don’t exercise regularly, start. Exercising regularly increases blood circulation throughout your body. Maintaining a regular exercise schedule is also associated with improvements in general sexual functioning.
Try to stay active by getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, as well as two muscle-strengthening workouts, per week.
Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Although the link between specific foods and sex drive isn’t very strong, eating a balanced diet can help you to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of common sexual performance issues such as erectile dysfunction.
If you smoke, try to quit. Smoking can contribute to sexual desire disorders in several ways, including by damaging your blood vessels and reducing your mental response to sexually stimulating material.
If you smoke, consider kicking the habit. Our guide to smoking and ED provides more information about the risks of smoking for your sexual health, as well as the steps that you can take to quit for good.
Avoid using illicit drugs. Many recreational drugs can have a negative effect on both your sex drive and your sexual performance. Try to avoid using illicit drugs and talk to your healthcare provider if you think you may have a substance use disorder.
Work on your connection with your partner. Sex is all about trust, and the closer you feel to your partner, the more interested you’ll likely be in having sex with each other on a frequent basis.
Try to set aside plenty of time to spend with your partner, whether it’s relaxing at home with a movie or setting aside a weekly date night.
Our guide to natural techniques for improving your erections lists other habits and changes that you can make for better sex and a higher quality of life.
A wide range of factors all play a role in your sex drive, from your levels of testosterone to your connection and past sexual experiences with your partner.
If you’ve recently noticed some degree of loss of libido, a mix of ED medication and changes to daily habits may help to reinvigorate your sex drive and improve your relationship.
We offer a range of ED medications and treatments for premature ejaculation online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if prescription treatments are appropriate for you.
You can also find out more about boosting your sex drive naturally in our full guide to increasing your sex drive as a man.