How Long Should Sex Last? Men's and Women's Perspectives on Duration

May 7, 2018

How Long Should Sex Last? Men's and Women's Perspectives on Duration

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How long should sex last? This is one of the most common questions men & women have about sex. Find out what medical experts and sex therapists have to say.

A common question: How long should sex take? Answer: It depends. Several factors go into understanding how long sex should be…the answer varies depending on who you ask, gender, age, libido and overall health. You’ll likely get answers across the board – and perhaps the widest variation in answers will depend on if the person answering is male or female. Medical experts, sexual health therapists and researchers have been tackling the age-old question for years.

What we do know is that on average, women take far more time to reach climax than men do. This is a biological difference in the sexes. Men typically reach orgasm in a much shorter period. It’s what we call the Orgasm Gap. Men on average will take approximately 5 ½ minutes to orgasm during intercourse, while women can take up to 17 minutes or more!

In a recent Fox News survey, 80 percent of men and women want sex to last 30 minutes. But How long should sex take? In his late-1940s studies on how long sex should last, Alfred Kinsey found that a whopping 75 percent of men lasted just two minutes before having an orgasm. More recent studies have shown men are lasting longer these days, perhaps adapting behavior to fit expectations.

The Female Perspective on How Long Sex Should Take

Historically, women have a much different experience when it comes to sex. It takes them longer to achieve orgasm, they don’t always reach climax, and for some women, it’s harder to let go of the emotional connection (or disconnect) involved in sex. As the stereotypical woman may be “a pleaser” in life, so too are some women when it comes to their sexual experiences. As such, they may worry a little too much about their partner or other stresses in their lives, perhaps forgetting what they actually want and need in the bedroom.

Still, women do want sex. According to a 2012 study conducted by researchers from University of New Brunswick, the average time of foreplay and sex is 11-13 minutes and 7-8 minutes, respectively. But when researchers asked how long should you last in bed or how long do you want to spend having sex, women overwhelmingly wanted more. On average, the women surveyed wanted foreplay to last 8 minutes longer than it does, and they indicated they’d like the actual act of sex (penetration to climax) to last 7 more minutes than what they’re typically getting.

The Male Point of View

Today’s man has a bit of a different view on their sexual experiences. Still, like the women, most men surveyed want more sex, and they want it to last longer. Overwhelmingly consistent in response on this, they seem to all want “it” more.

How long should sex last

In that same University of New Brunswick study, men reported wanting foreplay to last 5 minutes longer (3 minute less than their female partners), but they wanted actual intercourse to last 11 minutes longer than it typically does (4 minutes longer than the women reported).

When we look at the steady reports showing that despite wanting to last longer in bed, the average time men actually do last is only between 5-6 minutes, it’s easy to see that there may be some frustration when it comes to being on the same page between the sheets. If the average sex session is only 5-6 minutes, but most men want to last 18-19 minutes, there is clearly a gap between expectation and reality. The bottom line is clear. In general, it seems neither men OR women are getting what they want (for how long they want it) in the sack.

Summary

Even when we know there’s this gap between what men and women want in terms of length of experience in bed, one thing is evident: both want it to last longer. So how do we achieve this? Experts, doctors and sex therapists have varying degrees of advice here – perhaps the truest, most effective advice you can get is try a combination of therapies. Experts have different responses when men come to them asking how long should I last and how can I last longer. Some say to take a pill to last longer, some say to think about grandma (eww), some say to wear a condom to dull the erotic nature of thrusting, and some say try a cream or spray to help last longer.

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