fbpx Does a Man Really Need to Last All Night?

Sex - Overview | June 17, 2021, 4:03 CDT

Does a Man Really Need to Last All Night?
Studies suggest the ideal length of sex might surprise you.
Kay Johnson looks up near a window.

Written by

Kay Johnson

As many as 1 in 3 men say they've experienced premature ejaculation at some point, which is when men ejaculate within one minute of penetration. While most women can agree we'd want our partners to last longer than one minute, how long should the typical guy aim to last?

"Five and a half to six minutes," according to studies on how long it took men to reach orgasm following penetration, said Dr. Mike Anderson, a sex and relationship expert. "Both porn and popular media give the impression that, when it comes to time spent on sex, longer is better. Perhaps we've just been culturally conditioned to think that sex should last longer than it really does."

Average time spent during sex

The popular idea of going "all night long" could be setting unrealistic expectations. A 2004 study by the Journal of Sex Research surveyed 152 heterosexual couples about how long they spend on foreplay and sex versus how long they'd like to spend. In a nutshell, the study found sex usually lasts seven minutes, but women ideally would like sex to last 14 minutes, or roughly twice as long.

Women's responses showed foreplay lasts 11 minutes on average, but they would like it to last closer to 19 minutes. Men also said they'd like each activity to last about 18 minutes. So, why is there such a significant discrepancy between how long couples last in bed versus how long they think they should?

Kris Lovelock, an expert on helping men last longer in bed, agreed: "Five to seven minutes is refreshing for a couple," but "occasionally a couple would want to last even longer—say, 15 to 20 minutes—to feel good and to satisfy their fantasies."

Even though men desperately want to last longer in bed, they're preoccupied with their thoughts. When men are anxious about lasting longer and performing better, the opposite usually happens.

While no one wants to be the guy who finishes in two minutes and disappoints their partner, you don't have to last hours, either. Instead, men should focus on spending more time on foreplay, and communicate with their partners about an amount of time ideal for them.

Managing premature ejaculation

Premature ejaculation (PE) is a significant problem for many couples. It can ruin relationships and a man's confidence. Men have trouble focusing on lasting longer because they're anxious about not performing well. The important thing to remember is ejaculation is a reflex you can learn to control. The best way to manage PE is to understand your body and recognize the feeling. Then work on pausing penetrative sex and breathing through the feeling so you can last longer.

Every man will last a different amount of time, and the same man's duration can vary from day to day. The key is to learn to recognize the feeling just before the point of no return. Then, find a way to push past the edge by breathing, pausing intercourse and focusing your mind.

Focusing on foreplay

After a premature ejaculation incident, men can feel angry and embarrassed. Sex is more than just penetration, though. The average couple spends less than 15 minutes having sex in total, including touching, kissing, foreplay and penetrative sex. Since most women need around 20 minutes of clitoral stimulation to reach climax, extended foreplay can also help. So, in addition to learning to manage your arousal and prevent premature ejaculation, you can have better sex overall by focusing on longer foreplay.

Also, remember that sex should be a relaxing, fun experience. If you're overly worried about performing well and lasting a long time, you may find that you lose control quickly. Although studies may say the average length of sex is seven minutes, there's no perfect duration. Figure out what works best for you and your partner, and try to last long enough to please both of you.

Kay Johnson looks up near a window.

Written by

Kay Johnson

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