Caffeine and Erectile Dysfunction

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and for good reason. It has been shown that coffee can improve energy levels, help with focus, and is rich in health-boosting antioxidants.

For men, a daily cup of coffee may do more than just wake up the brain. Some research suggests that men who drink two to three cups of coffee a day have lower odds of developing erectile dysfunction.

Erectile Dysfunction Risk Factors

Verywell / Jessica Olah

Erectile Dysfunction Causes

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or maintain an erection that is firm enough for sexual activity. ED is strongly related to both physical and psychological health.

Common causes of ED include:

  • Vascular disease: Reduced blood flow to the penis can cause ED.
  • Neurological conditions: Nerve damage from stroke, MS, or even diabetes can cause ED.
  • Mental health: Stress, depression, and performance anxiety can all contribute to ED. A traumatic injury could also lead to an onset of ED.

Other risk factors for ED include:

  • Age (over 50)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Drug use
  • Smoking
  • Obesity or lack of exercise
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor cardiovascular health (high cholesterol or high blood pressure)

ED Prevalence

ED is very common. Though the risk of ED increases with age, young men can also experience the condition. Estimates on the prevalence of ED vary, but it is estimated that one out of every 10 men will experience the condition at some point during their life.

Can Coffee Cause ED?

Moderate caffeine intake appears to have a positive effect on most people and does not seem to cause erectile dysfunction. In fact, one study found that drinking two to three cups of coffee per day can lower the risk of developing ED.

However, excess caffeine can cause side effects such as anxiety, sleep disruption, headaches, and heart palpitations, which may have a negative effect on your overall well-being and interfere with sexual function.

Coffee Benefits for Men 

In addition to providing a boost of energy, drinking a moderate amount of coffee each day can affect men’s reproductive health in other ways.

Erectile Function

Men who drink two to three cups of coffee per day may have an easier time getting and maintaining an erection.

In fact, one study found that men who consumed between 85-170 milligrams of caffeine per day were 42% less likely to experience erectile dysfunction. Those who consumed between 171-303 milligrams of caffeine a day were 39% less likely to report ED compared to those who didn't consume caffeine.

This may be due to caffeine relaxing the arteries and smooth muscle in the penis, allowing more blood flow and improving erectile function.

However, a more recent study found no association between caffeine intake and ED.


Research on caffeine intake and its effect on men’s fertility is mixed.

One study found that consuming caffeine in sodas and energy drinks may reduce male fertility. Other studies have found no association between caffeine intake and semen quality.

Another review found that caffeine intake may negatively affect male reproductive function, but concluded that more research is needed to determine what effect caffeine may have on male fertility.

Testosterone Boost

In addition to boosting energy levels, caffeine may also increase testosterone levels in men. Research shows that men who regularly consume caffeinated coffee have higher levels of testosterone than those who do not consume it.

One study found that consuming more than 4 milligrams of coffee prior to exercising boosts testosterone levels in athletes. An older study showed that chewing caffeine gum may elevate testosterone levels by up to 14%.

Heart Benefits of Coffee 

In addition to sexual health, coffee may help improve heart health as well. Research suggests drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk of heart failure.

Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which can protect blood vessels and may reduce damage to the heart caused by cholesterol. Due to its antioxidant properties that aid with circulation in the body, coffee may improve blood flow to the penis, helping men get and maintain erections. 

Possible Side Effects 

Though coffee may offer some health benefits, it’s important to drink it in moderation. Too much caffeine can cause a host of unwanted side effects, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Jitters
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Upset stomach
  • Dependency

The Food and Drug Administration recommends consuming no more than 400 milligrams (about four to five cups of coffee) per day to avoid side effects.

Caffeine Sensitivity

If you have caffeine sensitivity, even a small amount of caffeine can make you feel unwell. There are varying degrees of caffeine sensitivity: one person may be unaffected, while another can’t sleep hours after consuming it. Caffeine sensitivity tends to increase with age, so you may find you need less coffee as you get older.

Facts About Energy Drinks 

While caffeine consumed in coffee is generally well tolerated by most people, energy drinks can have a number of negative effects, and there is no evidence to show that energy drinks can help with erectile dysfunction.

Long-term consumption of energy drinks is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems, sleep disorders, dental problems, obesity, and calcium deficiency.

How Much Coffee Before Sex?

Coffee boosts energy levels, improves physical endurance, and increases neurotransmitters associated with elevated mood, which can all serve to help improve your sex life.

However, you don’t need to drink an excessive amount of coffee before sex to enjoy the benefits. One or two cups 45 minutes prior to sexual activity may help improve ED, boost testosterone, and give you the energy you need for a positive sexual experience.

Natural Ways to Improve ED 

There are a number of lifestyle modifications you can make to improve ED, including: 

  • Getting consistent good sleep
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein
  • Limiting alcohol consumption 
  • Counseling to address any mental health issues, like stress or performance anxiety, that may be affecting your sexual performance
  • Quitting smoking 

If you find that natural treatments are not helping improve your ED, talk to your healthcare provider. They will determine the cause of ED and recommend treatments.

A Word From Verywell

Coffee may be a natural way to help improve your sex life and issues with erectile dysfunction. More research is needed to determine the effects of caffeine on men’s sexual health, but it appears that consuming a regular amount of coffee can reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction. Discuss your symptoms and ED treatment options with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does drinking coffee before sex improve testosterone?

    Research suggests that coffee may temporarily boost testosterone levels, which may be beneficial before sex. Drinking coffee can also result in the relaxation of the cavernous smooth muscle found in the penis and improve blood supply through penile arteries to enhance blood flow to the penis.

  • What is the link between coffee and testosterone?

    Coffee may help boost testosterone levels in men. One study found that men who consumed caffeine five times a day had higher levels of testosterone than men who did not consume it. Researchers concluded that caffeine may act as an aromatase inhibitor (blocking estrogen), which may boost testosterone production. Another study found that caffeine may improve exercise and training outcomes due to its ability to moderately boost testosterone levels.

  • Does caffeine improve ED?

    Moderate levels of caffeine consumption may help improve erectile dysfunction. Research shows that men who consume between 85-170 milligrams of caffeine are 42% less likely to experience erectile dysfunction compared to those who don’t consume caffeine.

  • Do the symptoms of caffeine sensitivity increase with age?

    Yes, caffeine sensitivity increases with age. Young people metabolize caffeine much more quickly than older adults. One study found that it takes seniors 33% longer to metabolize caffeine compared to younger adults.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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