A man's ability to last in bed has been a talking point in thousands of different relationships throughout the years.
In fact, men's desire to last longer in bed to better satisfy their partners has spawned a multi-million dollar industry of different products, creams, and pills all touted to make men last astronomically long in the bedroom. Most of these products are just blowing smoke up your keister in the hopes that you'll end up buying their product.
This article is entirely based from the perspective of heterosexual women having sex with heterosexual men. The individual desires and tastes vary largely within this kind of relationship and it really complicates things when you have to factor in same sex or intergender couples so for the sake of actually being able to stay on a single topic I've decided to stick mainly to this form of sexual encounter.
Sex is a largely mental thing, despite what you might think. A lot of our fantasies and desires are more rooted in fiction than they are fact, and I'm getting at is that what you think you want might not end up being what you actually want at all. But I'll get to that later in the article. For now, let's go over some stats.
How Long Do Men Last In Bed On Average?
A 2005 study of 500 couples had them record their average sex sessions with a stopwatch. I'm going to assume that the stopwatch was turned on as soon as penetrative sex was about to begin and then turned off after the man had reached orgasm. Foreplay doesn't really factor in to these types of studies, and they seldom mention whether or not they include it in the final count. One such study published in the Journal Of Sex Research specifically factored in foreplay showed that heterosexual couples have about 11-13 minutes of foreplay with anywhere from 7-8 minutes of intercourse.
This study determined a median length of intercourse being at 5.4 minutes. This means that half of the couples achieved longer than this and half achieved less. These medians can very wildly depending on where the study was conducted and how many participants have been selected. On average, the median ranges anywhere from 2 minutes to somewhere in the realm of about 7.5 minutes total.
So from insertion to completion, men can expect to last somewhere in the 5-10 minute range for the sex to be considered of "average duration." The entire sexual encounter will typically take about twenty minutes to complete.
What Do Women Want?
According to an online poll by an online dating site, women report that they want sex to last somewhere in the realm of 25 minutes and 51 seconds. Personally, I find these numbers odd and question the study's methods. Firstly, its weird that they are narrowed down to the precise second, even if people went by 30 second intervals it doesn't quite make sense that it topped out at 51 seconds. Secondly, the study doesn't specify whether or not foreplay is involved, so there's no way of telling whether this means that women want 25 minutes of sexual contact or 25 minutes of penetrative intercourse.
As a sex therapist I've conferred with many of my colleagues and done a lot of research myself on the literature and there is a sliding scale for what is acceptable in terms of length of sex. Anything two minutes and under is a let down, somewhere in the realm of five minutes is good, while inching towards ten minutes is seen as ideal. Anything that reaches the fifteen minute mark and over there tends to be a point where the woman wants to tap out and just get things over with already.
That's not to say that all sexual encounters are the same, though. There's times where a woman just wants a quickie, a convenient wham-bam to let off some steam. And there are other times where a woman is in the throes of passion and wants things to last a little longer. In general, what I've noticed is that women are at the bare minimum satisfied if they're able to reach orgasm during sex. The best part of this for any men reading this who are worried about their stamina is that if you make sure to engage in some oral sex or get your fingers involved there's no need to worry about how long your penis will be functional for, you'll be able to fill in the gaps all on your own.
The Disconnect Between Fantasy And Reality
When you ask someone about what kind of sex they'd like the answer is pretty much "as long as possible, as sexy as possible." Much like hunger and sleep, we often idealize just how much of it we'd like to be truly satisfied. We'd love to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet and gorge ourselves indefinitely but after some time you'll end up uncomfortable and with a stomach ache. The same applies to sex, really. While we'd like to maximize our time spent making love to our special someone, there are simply some biological and mental walls that we hit eventually.
After half an hour or more of penetrative sex, many women start to lose interest in the sexual encounter and can even feel sore afterwards. So while a woman might think she wants a two hour steamy sex session, the truth of the matter is she'd probably get over it about halfway through unless it was sufficiently varied and interesting to keep things going.
Our perceptions around sex are warped heavily by the media we consume and what our friends say and think. It's important to not let yourself get wrapped up in these notions and end up worrying more than you should. As a woman, being too focused on orgasm might end up in you not being to achieve it and for men it might end up in your ejaculating too quickly. There's no need to worry or compare your sex life to that of your favorite TV characters or whatever a quiz in Cosmo magazine tells you.
Sex is satisfying when two people come together with the mutual desire of making each other feel good and feeling good themselves. It is much more about the physical and emotional connection than anything else. If there is something that doesn't satisfy you in the bedroom, you should be able to talk to your partner about it and figure out some way to work around the issue. Of course we're talking if things are in general working as they should, if you have chronic premature ejaculation that makes intercourse over before its even started, then that is definitely a real issue. I'd just like to say that if everything is working how it should and things can be described as "average," things are more than likely going just fine.
I often have to field this question more from men who are self conscious than women who are legitimately angered by the partner's inability to last in the bedroom. Sex is a dynamic and fluid act that doesn't have to be constrained by expectations or social norms, if it works, it works. Nobody is watching you, nobody is timing you, so don't think you aren't having a fulfilling sex life just because you may or may not be hitting some pre-determined benchmark that seems to vary wildly depending on who you ask.
It's way more important to make sure to create an environment where both parties can communicate their sexual desires and expectations with each other in an open and respectful fashion. Once that has been achieved and both partners are legitimately willing to work to satisfy the other, everything falls in to place on its own.
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