How long should sex actually last?

It’s common for both young boys and young girls to think that intercourse should last a long time. May be they could be right or wrong. But how long is long enough or too short for a pleasurable sexual intercourse?


It’s common for both young boys and young girls to think that intercourse should last a long time. May be they could be right or wrong. But how long is long enough or too short  for a pleasurable sexual intercourse?

According to a 2005 Society for Sex Therapy and Research member survey, vaginal sex typically lasts about three to seven minutes.


The survey indicated that vaginal sex that lasts one to two minutes is “too short.” Vaginal sex that lasts 10 to 30 minutes is considered “too long.”

So how long should vaginal sex actually last? I ask again.

The sex therapists surveyed said that anywhere from 7 to 13 minutes is “desirable.”

It’s important to note that these figures only apply to penile-vaginal intercourse. They don’t account for things like foreplay, and they aren’t representative of other types of sex.

It primarily depends on how you define sex.

Most studies of this nature are based on intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT).

IELT refers to the time it takes a person with a penis to ejaculate during vaginal penetration.

But probably not everyone has the same view of sex is defined.  Many people consider the end of sex to be once all involved parties have climaxed.

This may be achieved through touching, oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex — or a combination. (Of course oral and anal sex) is considered a taboo in most of the African countries.

If you consider intercourse as the only component in your definition of sex, then sex will likely only last a few minutes.

It’s also worth noting that using IELT as a baseline assumes that penile-vaginal intercourse is the standard.

Vaginal sex doesn’t always involve a partner who has a penis.

And although it’s possible to extrapolate these figures to penile-anal intercourse, vaginal and anal sex aren’t the same thing.

More research is needed to determine the average and desired duration for these encounters.

What you want out of an encounter is also important

Sex should be pleasurable over anything else, and this comes down to personal preference.

Some people want a long, sensual encounter, while others want something fast and aggressive.

Jennifer not real names, is a 27 year old married lady who has spent five years in marriage. She says her husband could last over 15 minutes during intercourse before their first anniversary.

But she however adds that at the moment, even five minutes would require them to pop champaign in celebration!

Jennifer says at first he and her husband were worried and ended up visiting a local sex therapist commonly referred to as senga.

Despite the numerous herbs the couple received from the senga, Jennifer says the condition continued to detoriate.

She however adds that a friend directed her to a professional who counseled the couple and the rest is history.

“The key is that you’re having satisfying sex as opposed to beating the clock,” Jennifer says.

Scientific research has shown that in  some cases, underlying biological factors may affect how long your sexual activities last.


As one gets older,

it may take longer to become aroused.

Thus, erections become more difficult to achieve and maintain.

In ladies, hormonal changes also contribute to things like vaginal dryness and decreased libido.


The way how your genitals are shaped may also be a factor.

One of the researches conducted in 2003 revealed that the shape of the penis — specifically the ridge around the head — may have evolved to be more competitive.

The ridge displaces any preexisting semen in the vagina. Deeper and more vigorous thrusting results in more semen displacement.

As a result, it allows the ejaculating partner to create room for their own semen, hence increasing their chance of reproduction.

Using competitive evolution as a backdrop, this could explain why some people find it painful to keep thrusting after ejaculation. Continuing to thrust may displace your own semen and decrease your chance to reproduce.

Sexual dysfunction

Premature ejaculation, for example, research has revealed can cause you to climax faster than you may prefer.

People with delayed ejaculation may take longer to climax, if they’re able to at all.

A piece of advice from the professionals:

Are you interested in shorter encounters?

If a quickie is all what works for you, these techniques may help you get there faster.

•Touch yourself

If you’re short on time, masturbation can be a great way to ensure that you achieve the Big O. After all, you know your body best!

If your partner is already touching you, explore a different area. You can:

•Rub your clitoris

•Gently pinch or pull your nipples

•Gyrate your hips

•Smack your behind

•You can also enjoy mutual masturbation, in which you each pleasure yourselves.

This gives you both the opportunity to climax faster while still being intimate.

•Tell your partner what you want

Communicating your desires to your partner — and vice versa — can help you both understand what it takes to make each other orgasm.

You can utilize what you learn to get to the finish line faster for mutually-gratifying quickies.

•Try climax-inducing positions

If you know that certain positions feel better for you than others, shift as needed to get yourself there faster.

This can include positions that encourage deeper penetration or those that make it easier for you to manually pleasure yourself or your partner at the same time.

If you want longer encounters

If you want to prolong your sexploration, these techniques may help.

•Semans’ stop-start technique

Also known as “edging,” this involves temporarily stopping all sexual stimulation when you feel like you’re close to ejaculation.

You and your partner can resume your activity once this feeling has passed.

Although this technique was originally founded to help a person who has a penis delay ejaculation, it can be used by anyone looking to prolong climax.

•Johnsons’ and Masters’ squeeze technique

This technique entails gently squeezing the end of the penis for several seconds just before ejaculation until the urge subsides.

It can also be used to practice ejaculatory control.

The bottom line

The definition of what sex is, individual expectations, and mutual desires all influence how long sex may last.

If you’re concerned about how long you’re able to have sex, consider making an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare professional.

They can discuss how you’re feeling, answer any questions you have, and assess any underlying symptoms or other discomfort.

Additional information from health