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How Long Should Sex Last? The Research on Average Sex Time

How Long Should Sex Last Research On Average Sex Time

For many of us men, the moment we first became aware of sexual intercourse was also the moment we began to fret about it.

With all the sultry R&B songs crooning about going “all night” and the societal shame communicated through movies which poked fun at feeble guys who came “too fast,” it’s natural for there to be some trepidation regarding how long sex should last. This typically centers on two related questions:

  1. How long is enough?
  2. How long is too long?

These are internal questions that haunt men from puberty on through their later years. Associated with these are concerns over bedroom-related anxieties like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and even delayed ejaculation. We are seemingly always on the lookout for the best way to find the “goldilocks” answer to sexual duration.

Let’s get specific though—what does the science say about sexual stamina?

The Average Length of Sex Is Difficult To Determine

Firstly, it should be understood that there is no agreed upon method for measuring what constitutes “sex.”

For some men—and some studies—sex is strictly comprised of intercourse; lasting from insertion through the completion of the male orgasm. In other cases, it can include foreplay and the amount of time necessary for both partners to achieve climax. Again, there are two main questions that require answers:

  1. When does sex start?
  2. When does it end?

These are only two of the reasons there doesn’t appear to be general consensus for how long sex should last either among the scientific community or anecdotally.

The bottom line is there has been very limited research based on this particular question to date. Broadly speaking, the most cited studies consider only penile and vaginal intercourse, also known as intravaginal ejaculatory latency time, or IELT. This naturally only takes into account heterosexual relationships however, and also bases results only on the time leading to male orgasm.

Studies Conducted on The Average Length of Sex Have Varying Answers

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One of the most popular and substantial studies available was conducted across multiple countries in 2005. This study measured IELT specifically, and under these strict parameters found that the average sexual session lasted right around five and a half minutes.

A few years later, in 2008, a study which consulted therapists who diagnose sexual disorders distributed results into several categories based on their patients’ reported length of intercourse. The data further reinforced the idea that between three and seven minutes was adequate, while between seven and thirteen minutes was considered desirable.

This same study determined that less than three minutes may warrant clinical concern, while anything over ten minutes was generally “too long.”

This study also neglected to take into account foreplay or other kinds of sexual intercourse outside of penile and vaginal.

Most recently, a 2020 study which focused on heterosexual women found the average time to achieve orgasm was around thirteen and a half minutes—a period which might have fallen under “too long” under the 2008 study’s parameters.

Review enough of the available scientific research, and clarity becomes harder to reach rather than easier. The bottom line appears to be that, under the strict definition of penile and vaginal intercourse, sex (defined by the male orgasm) should only last for a few minutes.

Why Average Sex Time Isn’t the Only Measure of Pleasure

Where science fails about average sex time, personal experience and connection will succeed, however.

Understanding what you and your partner both desire, and working to achieve that satisfaction together is far more important than racing an imaginary clock. Pleasure for all parties involved should be your first and foremost concern in the bedroom, and keep in mind that preferences for shorter or longer sessions are as varied as the individuals participating.

While being too hard on yourself for your average sex time isn’t helpful. But it’s important to recognize if you’re facing sexual dysfunction that should be addressed. This includes erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low testosterone, among other dysfunctions that men commonly face. In fact, erectile dysfunction affects nearly half of all men over 40 to some degree.

With that in mind, there are several techniques that can be implemented to either shorten or lengthen the time you and your partner require for maximum enjoyment that can be practiced in tandem with the guidance of a sexual health professional. For example, those hoping to lessen the time to achieve orgasm might consider:

  • Masturbation: Both individual and mutual
  • Communication: Telling your partner exactly what you need in order to achieve orgasm
  • Shifting Positions: Concentrating only on those positions that feel best

On the other hand, men interested in lasting longer in bed should incorporate the following:

  • Edging: Stopping and starting in order to prolong the time prior to ejaculation
  • Squeezing: Briefly and firmly grabbing the tip of the penis until the feeling of orgasm subsides
  • Kegels: Pelvic floor exercises for men

At the end of the day, personal preference trumps everything else. Because there are so many ways to define what constitutes sex, as well as how long the act should last, it’s essential not to compare your performance with that of anyone else’s. The lack of clarity is a gift in this manner, allowing you to instead focus on what’s best for you and your partner.

Contact A Men’s Sexual Health Professional Today About Premature Ejaculation or Other Sexual Dysfunctions

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As with nearly everything having to do with our bodies, a consultation with a qualified medical professional will go a long way toward clearing up any concerns or addressing actual dysfunctions.

If you’re having issues with average sex time related to erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or other ejaculation problems, call the team at Priority Men’s Medical Center in Atlanta now to schedule an appointment to have a consultation with their experienced and specially trained medical staff. We are a leading men’s clinic providing ED therapy, PE therapy, Acoustic Wave therapy, hormone therapy, and much more.

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