Now, that’s the real question that civilisation has been trying to answer since its inception, isn’t it? Our short answer is: It should last for as long as you and your partner want it to. But we can see that you’re looking for the long answer. So, here goes.

Firstly, it all depends on how you define sex. Is it just penetrative sex or do we take into account getting each other into the mood, foreplay, mutual masturbation and finally intercourse? If you ask scientists, they’ll tell you the time they study is the “intravaginal ejaculatory latency time” or IELT. This is basically the time it takes for ejaculation during penile penetration of the vagina. So, if we really want to look at research to see what the “normal” duration should be, we will get the average time for IELT.

But, in our experience, sex (even the penetrative variety) doesn’t always need to be with a partner who has a penis. They are excellent sex toys your partner can use to do the job just as well. Then there’s the entire arena of anal and oral sex, which are as satisfying, without the need for intravaginal ejaculation.

But before we get into that argument, here’s a look at what research says.

The Average Duration According to Scientific Research

A multinational population survey of 500 couples had the participants time themselves during sex with a stopwatch! They would start the watch with the first penetration and stop at ejaculation. While we don’t recommend that for your everyday life, the study did find something interesting. The average time varied greatly from couple to couple, from 33 seconds to 44 minutes. Clearly, establishing a normal with this range is difficult. But if we take the median of this range, the average time comes to 5.4 minutes.

Another survey, this time of sex therapists who were members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, revealed that IELT usually lasts between 3 and 7 minutes. The survey report goes on to say that vaginal sex that lasts about 1-2 minutes tends to be considered “too short,” while that which lasts from 10 to 30 minutes is regarded as “too long.” The sex therapists did agree though that anywhere between 7 and 13 minutes is considered “desirable.”

But remember that this is only for vaginal penetration, and other types of sex were not considered. We would continue to say that there is no “normal” duration that sex should last. It should be more about the pleasure, climax and ultimate satisfaction of all parties involved. Plus, sex should be all about what you and your partner want from the experience. Some people love fast and aggressive sex, while others love a long, sensual experience. And sometimes you just want to switch it up. So, put that stopwatch away and just focus on the experience.

And if you still want sex to last as long as possible, here’s what you need to know.

duration of sex

What Affects the Duration of Sex?

Issues such as anxiety, depression, high stress levels and certain medications can also affect the duration. So, our suggestion is to do things that relieve stress and make you happy, while also spending time on foreplay to get your mind off any performance anxiety. In addition, various biological factors impact the length of a sexual encounter, such as:


Our bodies change as we get older. The result could be that it takes more time to get aroused or achieve an erection or become stimulated. Age could also impact the ability to maintain an erection. The hormonal changes that occur as we grow older could lead to lower libido levels and vaginal dryness, which makes sex painful for women.


The shape of the genitals can impact the sexual experience, especially for men. Research shows that the ridge around the head of the penis has evolved over time to increase the chances of reproduction. The shape has changed over generations so that the ridge is now able to displace any pre-existing semen in the vagina, while allowing more vigorous and deeper penetration. This allows the semen of the ejaculating partner a better chance to fertilise the woman’s ova. But this has also led to continued thrusting being painful for some people, especially after ejaculation, since continued thrusting will displace your own semen and reduce the chances of conception.

Sexual Dysfunction

Male sexual issues, such as premature and delayed ejaculation, affect the duration of sex. With premature ejaculation, the climax comes very quickly, faster than you might desire. On the other hand, with delayed ejaculation, climax doesn’t just take much longer, it might not occur at all for some people. If you or your partner have been experiencing any sexual dysfunction, it is best to consult a professional.

time for sex

How to Last Longer?

Yes, we know you were waiting for this part. We all love to prolong the time when we’re having fun, so why not sex? Here are some ways to make the sexual encounter longer lasting.

Communication is Key

Sharing your likes and dislikes, what turns you on and what doesn’t, can go a long way in making the experience more pleasurable. Also, if intercourse is lasting longer than you are comfortable with, it is best to let your partner know. Communication can help the two of you find ways to make the experience satisfying for both partners.

The Stop-Start Method

If you feel you ejaculate too quickly for your liking, this could be a useful technique to practice. Also called “edging,” this method involves stopping the sexual activity when you feel you’re about to ejaculate and then restarting when the urge passes. You can practice this while masturbating so that you learn to recognise when you are about the reach the “point of no return.”

The Squeeze Method

This is another technique that men can practice during masturbation. It involves squeezing the top of the penis (where the shaft meets the head) when the urge to ejaculate occurs. Hold on to the squeeze for a few seconds or till the urge passes. You can also teach your partner to do this for you. You could try this multiple times during a single session.

Premature Ejaculation Wipes

Medical advances have brought us over-the-counter moist towelettes (just like those wet wipes) that can be applied to the penis before sex. The wipes contain a numbing medication that reduces sensations, which then helps you last longer.

Numbing Creams and Condoms

Ask your local pharmacist or shop online for condoms that contain numbing medication, such as benzocaine or lidocaine, on the inside. This helps reduce sensation, just like the wipes, to help you last longer. You can use the cream versions of the same medications too. Apply a small amount on the penis to reduce sensation.

Kegel Exercises

These exercises help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor and can help both men and women last longer. To practice these exercises, identify the pelvic floor muscles by stopping urination midstream. Now, try to contract and relax these muscles for 3-5 seconds each and repeat.


Now, if you ask for our advice, we would say time doesn’t matter. Just focus on the pleasure, and everything else will take care of itself.

Share this