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How Long Should Sex Last?

Learn more about how long sex should last including what the preferred lengths are from the man's and woman's perspectives.

Read on

The internet asks no shortage of questions when it comes to the norms of the bedroom. In this article let’s talk about how long sex ‘should’ last.

Some men get self-conscious that they finish too quickly, while some women feel guilty that they might require more time/effort to orgasm. However, the data actually shows that men and women have very similar preferences on how long sex should last.

How do you define sex

The term sex is extremely broad. If we are asking the question “How long should sex last?” we must also consider “What constitutes sex?” What if there is no penetration -- is it still sex?  

Does sex also incorporate foreplay time as well? What about mutual masturbation? The definition of sex is often dependent on your sexual orientation. We all vary, so it’s safe to say it’s sex if you are expressing your sexuality and arousal with another person.

However, when studies and surveys seek to answer this “how long should it last” question, they tend not to incorporate foreplay and focus on heterosexual vaginal intercourse.

What are the expectations of vaginal intercourse duration?

In a recent survey polling more than 3,000 people they found some very interesting information. Keep in mind that there are some limitations to self-reported internet polling.

Women’s expectation: The survey showed that women would like vaginal intercourse to last an average of 26 minutes.

Average intercourse duration: The survey found that the real average penetrative sexual encounter lasts 16 minutes.

The bad news: The obvious difference between a woman’s expectation and reality is sizeable. Even with US men lasting the longest at 17 minutes, it’s still short of expectations by 9 whole minutes.

Age: This survey also collected age data points that showed sex lasts the longest around ages 28-29. This duration begins to dip around age 45.

Also Read: Premature Ejaculation Pills: How Do They Work To Help You Last Longer?

How long do sex therapists think sex should last?

In a study, Canadian and American sex therapists were asked to quantify what is considered normal and abnormal when it comes to vaginal intercourse duration.

The therapists averaged opinions were: 1 - 2 minutes was considered “too short”3 - 7 minutes is “adequate”7 - 13 minutes is “desirable”10 - 30 minutes is “too long”.

Let’s take this self-reported data and sex therapist’s opinions with a grain of salt because people vary greatly as we will see in this next study.

Stopwatch study for how long men last during sex

The best study we have on this topic is one in which 500 couples agreed to time their vaginal intercourse down to the second using a stopwatch. (The term intravaginal ejaculation latency time describes the period between penetration and male ejaculation.)

The range of results in this study are extremely varied with some couples reporting as little as 55 seconds and at most, 44 minutes. However, the study found the median ejaculation latency time to be 5.4 minutes.

  • The men in the 18-30 years old group had a median time of 6.5.
  • While the men in the 51+ group had a median time of 4.3 minutes.

How long does it take for a woman to orgasm?

We’ve seen the data on male stamina but how long does it take for a woman to reach orgasm? How long does the average woman last in bed?

In a study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, more than 2,000 women participated to offer data on female orgasmic latency (the time it takes a woman to orgasm). They studied both the latency of partnered orgasms and masturbation orgasms.  

This study found:

  • It takes women an average of 14 minutes to orgasm with a partner.
  • While it takes an average of 8 minutes to orgasm during masturbation.

The percentage of women noting they did not reach orgasm was much higher during partnered sex vs. masturbation. (15.6% vs. 3.8%)

The researchers found the orgasm latency to be longer with partners and mentioned the need for complementary stimulation to increase the woman’s arousal.

These researchers also note that male stamina is widely researched, while female orgasms are “poorly documented” by contrast.

You don't have to measure yourself against what is "normal"

Each couple should communicate about what they want or need in the bedroom. We are varying creatures in every way. This includes sexual preferences and needs.

How long should sex last?: Key Takeaways

Sex should last as long as you and your partner want it to last.

The best way to determine how long sex should last is to communicate with your partner. That communication should be the determining factor.

Penetrative stamina should not make or break female pleasure possibilities.

Ask your partner what they want and perhaps try longer periods of foreplay, edging techniques, or stimulating lubricants.

Learn more about Strut Health sexual health prescriptions online

Sertraline is sometimes used off-label to help men delay ejaculation. Many men worry about how long they last in the bedroom -- this is where Sertraline comes in.

If you want to last longer in the bedroom with the help of Sertraline, complete a questionnaire-based online doctor's consultation to see if our treatments are right for you.

If our doctors find Sertraline is a good fit for you, we’ll discreetly ship your prescription to your doorstep.

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