When we see sex depicted in mainstream movies, erotic novels, and popular songs, it seems to last for hours. People brag about and aspire to having sex all night long. When you watch porn, you see anywhere from eight to 25 minutes of edited footage, and you can bet the performers (although trained sexual athletes) are having sex for a few hours. People are worried about having enough stamina, and women get concerned about how long they’re taking to orgasm, so what’s the reality? How long SHOULD we be having sex?
First, there’s nowhere near enough research on this topic (volunteers, anyone?). The Journal of Sexual Medicine cites a study of 500 couples in five different countries—the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the US—which found the average time to be 5.4 minutes. The researchers defined sex as the time between insertion and ejaculation, and observed a wide range of times reported for various couples, from 33 seconds to 44 minutes.
Allow me to interject here: Those are heterosexual couples working with an off-putting, clinical definition of “sex,” and participants used a stopwatch (?!?) to time when vaginal penetration began and ejaculation occurred. But, hey—at least it’s a starting point.
I conducted my own research, in life and on social media, and found the results to be just as varied. Of course, no one admits to 33 seconds, but the answers seem to be in the ballpark of anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. This is for the entire act—not just penis in vagina penetration, but the whole experience.
Also, some respondents mentioned two very real variants: mood and opportunity. Sometimes we want a long, drawn-out, sensual experience with all the bells and whistles. Other times, we have 10 minutes together and a raging desire to get off. Sometimes life’s stressors get in the way and it’s harder to get in a romantic mood, but orgasmic release will still do your body a world of good.
So, the answer to the age-old question “How long SHOULD we be having sex?” is… however long works for you.
Ditch the penis pills and pumps. Stop trying to last for hours. Choose quality over quantity. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your partner. ASK them what they want, figure out what you want, and meet in the middle. Allow for the nights when you want to explore each other’s bodies at a leisurely pace, but also know that awkward morning sex in a lazy spoon that only lasts three minutes can sometimes be amazing, too.
Pro tip: Keep communicating about what works for you, and you’ll find it way easier to gently steer things in a better (or shorter or longer) direction, rather than pulling your whole relationship—or sex life—out of a ditch.
For more ways to enjoy your partner and explore sex in a nonlinear way, check out my “Guide to Wicked Sex: Foreplay Edition” DVD!
Adult superstar Jessica Drake is an exclusive Wicked Pictures contract performer, writer, and director, as well as an emerging sexual wellness authority. In her award-winning, self-directed “Guide to Wicked Sex” series, Jessica brings erotic topics to life through intimate demonstrations performed by some of today’s hottest adult stars. The same demand for her modern sex education DVDs also takes Jessica, a charismatic public speaker, around the world, presenting seminars and workshops at expos, retail outlets, and universities, where she speaks to curious adults desiring to learn more about sex, romance, and communication. Follow her on Twitter, and visit Guide to Wicked Sex.