3 Things Men May Not Know About Orgasms (But Totally Should)
Most men become familiar with the basic concept of a male orgasm at some point in their early to mid-teens. The experience is often accompanied by a hurried cleanup of underwear or, infamously, socks.
Around the same time, guys also become aware of the purpose of male orgasms in reproduction, and generally, that's where their knowledge ends, especially given the state of sex education in the United States.
It's a safe bet most men rarely stop to ask themselves deeper questions about "the moment of truth." Worse, perhaps, more people are getting their sex information from social media and, of course, porn, which can perpetuate a number of sexual myths, including penis size and how long men should last.
So it might be time for a good 'ol crash course in the "grand finale."
1. There is no average time men last
If you've ever watched porn, you've likely noticed a discrepancy between the amount of time the man takes before the "money shot" on film and how long it takes you to reach orgasm in your own life.
Of course, most people know that porn, like any film, isn't recorded all in one take. Imagine, though, a man whose only sexual experiences have been between his screen and himself. This man, especially if sex ed failed him, might believe the amount of time portrayed on-screen is typical or expected. His anxiety over this perception, or his inability to last this long when he does experience intercourse, could cause self-esteem issues.
"A big thing for guys is how long they can last or how big they are, things like that," said Nannan Thirumavalavan, M.D., chief of male reproductive and sexual health for University Hospitals in Cleveland. "What we consider an average time is more like a time that wouldn't be considered premature or erectile dysfunction, but most of it is subjective."
'What we consider an average time is more like a time that wouldn't be considered premature or erectile dysfunction, but most of it is subjective.'
Thirumavalavan cited American Urological Association (AUA) guidelines, which state a lifelong average time of orgasming two minutes after the initiation of penetrative sex is considered "premature." For guys who typically last longer, though, the AUA considers ejaculation to be premature five minutes after penetrative sex.
Beyond that, however, the topic is sort of up in the air, and it's different for each individual. Premature to one person might be 10 minutes if they're accustomed to lasting, say, 30 minutes. To other people, 30 minutes could be far too long.
Really, the point of sex isn't to hit some abstract metric and say, "I lasted 50 minutes! Go me!" Maybe that was 50 minutes of dull, uninteresting sex. Instead, consider whether both partners were satisfied with the intercourse.
2. Thoughts play as big a part in orgasms as your body
"Your mental state is very important for having an orgasm," said social psychologist Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., an Indianapolis-based research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and a scientific advisor for Arcwave, a sex toy brand for men. "For example, if you're distracted or anxious, this reduces the odds of an orgasm happening. Being able to be in the moment and let go of distracting thoughts helps to facilitate orgasm."
Anxiety and stress are common causes of erectile dysfunction (ED), which makes sense. If you're facing a horribly stressful situation—a financial crisis, medical issue or job-related anxiety—your main focus likely isn't going to be on sex. Your body certainly won't be prioritizing an erection over anxiety.
The inverse works similarly, though. Stimulating and arousing thoughts can help us achieve orgasm more quickly if our mind focuses on them.
"Sometimes, thoughts alone can induce orgasm without any genital stimulation," Lehmiller added. "However, this experience seems to be more common among women than it is among men."
Given how much your brain plays into orgasms, you should also consider the chances of prolonging orgasms by thinking, well, nonstimulating thoughts. Doing math in your head might help if you're looking to delay an orgasm (unless, of course, you find math erotic).
3. It's good to 'empty the tank' every now and then
"When you have what we call a wet dream, your systems are essentially experiencing a buildup of sperm, and then you have an ejaculation at night that basically empties out your system," Thirumavalavan said, noting this occurrence is more common among teenagers and tends to go away with age.
Men's bodies are constantly creating sperm. If those DNA-laden swimmers aren't released, they don't have anywhere to go, which means they essentially die in the testicles. Thankfully, this isn't a health concern, though it does mean prolonged periods without ejaculation results in more and more dead sperm cells.
"If it's been a long time, you may have some dead sperm, and those will come out during ejaculation," Thirumavalavan explained.
If the final destination for these dead sperm happens to be a towel, it's easy to say "no harm, no foul." If you're trying to have a child, however, a buildup of dead sperm may be responsible for those early attempts at getting pregnant resulting in failure.
In other words, take yourself in for an oil change every once in a while.
Men tend to swing all the way to either shame or pride regarding sex, either bragging about encounters or quietly beating themselves up for finishing early or not performing up to some arbitrary standard. Sex is different for everyone, and what constitutes "good sex" for you might not for someone else.
Sex shouldn't be about performing like a porn star. In reality, it should be about sharing an enjoyable, intimate experience with your partner, or even yourself.