The present report relates to pharmaceutical composition for the treatment of male impotence. The transdermal application of a potent derivative of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) coupled to a suitable hydrophobic moiety (e.g. stearyl-VIP) in a suitable ointment composition (e.g. Sefsol) enhances sexual activity and erection formation in a variety of impotence models in rats (sterile rats, diabetic rats, and animals with high blood pressure). Furthermore, exchange of the methionine in position 17 with norleucine enhances biological activity. Thus, stearyl-Nle17-VIP may be considered useful for the treatment of impotence.