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Average Time for Sex: How Long Should Sex Last Vs. How Long We Really Last

In your fantasies, sex may last for hours. But how long is too long in real life? We have answers, and so we’re looking at the average time for sex.

how long should sex last and the average time for sex

On average it takes a woman 15 to 40 minutes to achieve orgasm. Yet, the average time for sex is about 5.4 minutes. Does anyone else see a problem here?

Some people prefer long, passionate intercourse while others are game for an over-the-counter quickie. For the rest of us, a mixture of both sounds pretty great.

The truth is that, depending on your mood, alcohol intake, and sheer willpower, sex is never going to last exactly the same amount of time for anyone. What may take you minutes to come one day, may turn into 20 the next. The question is, how long is the average time for sex?

We’re looking at how long men and women want sex to last for versus how long the average time for sex actually is.

How long do you like your sex sessions to last?

We’re looking at men and women’s sexual preferences for how long you should last in the sack!

Do you like the idea of making love all night long, complete with sweaty, writhing bodies, and sheet-gripping orgasms?

How about a naughty quickie in the morning with your partner fresh out of the shower, wanting you so bad that they have to take you before they even have time for morning coffee? Both scenarios could tickle anyone’s fancy.

This vast difference in sexual preference must be called into question: What is the ideal sex timeframe? An idealistic hour, a quickie couples of minutes, or 10 minutes plus foreplay?

Does the ideal sex time differ based on gender? While the perfect length of intercourse may vary from couple to couple, we’ve found that there are some gender-based misconceptions worth bringing up.

Some sex experts swear by the old standby that the average length of sexual intercourse *foreplay not included* was anywhere from a mere 5 to a sad 7 minutes!

And the alleged ideal time for shagging? 13 minutes. Can these staggering facts really be true? We’re looking at how long men and women want their average intercourse to take.

How long do men want sex to last?

Are you under the assumption that men are only out for their own sexual gratification and couldn’t care less about how long they last for their lady loves?

If so, you are, or are probably dating, a selfish douchebag! In the book The New Naked: The Ultimate Sex Education for Grown Ups, author Harry Fisch reports that up to 45% of men believe they finish too early in the sack and even feel guilty about it!

In fact, one study in the same book mentions that both men and women desire both foreplay and intercourse to last much longer than it actually does.

Another fascinating tidbit? One survey reveals that 50% of men desire for sex to last 30 minutes or more!

Ideal duration of sex for women

According to a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, women desired their sessions of foreplay to last at least 19 minutes before getting down and dirty with penetration.

How long does it actually last? Researchers suggest males give an average of 11 minutes of their attention to foreplay before going for the full thing. [Read: 12 questions about female sexuality finally answered]

This same 2014 study revealed that women would prefer penetrative sex to last an average of 23 minutes *definitely a far stretch from 5 minutes!*.

This is unsurprising, considering women take much longer to reach orgasm than men do.

In fact, MensHealth reports that it takes the average woman anywhere from 15-40 minutes to come! Why?

Women need a focused mind frame, consistent rhythm, and clitoral attention to climax – all of these elements being essential in foreplay and intercourse, meaning the more time spent revving her up the better! [Read: What women really want in bed but are too shy to ask]

Why longer sex seems like a great idea

What is the ideal average time for sex? For the sake of argument, the term ‘average time for sex’ here refers to the point from penetration to ejaculation.

We’ll get to foreplay a little later on. In the meantime, many might claim they’ll take an hour-long session every chance they get, and here’s why. [Read: How long should sex really last? The real score!]

1. More opportunity to get off

Longer sex is usually more ideal than a quickie, especially for women. As previously mentioned, it takes women anywhere from 15-40 minutes to get off. This makes the idea of longer-lasting intercourse seem like an orgasmic dream.

For men, longer sex means a giant buildup or sexual tension, and then an intense release. Plus, the satisfaction of your girl raving afterward about your skills in the sack. [Read: 20 moves to last longer during sex without any difficulty]

2. Multiple orgasms

A longer duration of penetration is also ideal for having multiple orgasms. Again, mostly for the ladies.

3. Taking time and enjoying each other

Sex should never be a rush. It seems both parties are so excited to get to the finish line that they forget to enjoy the scenery!

Longer sex means more time to kiss, caress, fondle, and express your passion for your mate. [Read: Slow sex – 13 steamy reasons why it’s the best sex ever]

Why long-lasting sex may be a letdown

Long sex sounds like a dream. I mean, what’s better than some extended play of pure pleasure? The truth is that the reality may not be so ideal. Here are some common complaints from those who have had long-lasting lovers.

1. Sensitive after orgasm

For both men and women, their sensitive areas – the clit and head of the penis – are extremely sensitive post-orgasm.

So, while having another round, or continuing on after orgasm, may seem like a fun idea at the time, the reality of it may be more painful than anything.

2. Putting off orgasm

If your man is a sensitive lover who always lets you go first in the bedroom, consider yourself a lucky lady. But, let’s not take advantage of his kindness, either.

Do you know how frustrating it is to be on the brink of an orgasm and have to keep talking yourself down for 30 minutes? When you get off, he should as well.

3. It starts to hurt

For both men and women, going at it for an extended period of time may lead to some extreme discomfort. Even the best lube won’t last the duration of a long sex session.

As penetration continues, a woman will become less lubricated, especially if she is nowhere near orgasm. This means after a while, your penis feels like a raw battle-axe inside her vag.

Similarly, extended play may cause chafing around the penis and some sore balls. [Read: 20 problems in a relationship you can easily avoid]

How long men and women want sex to last

In days gone by, both men and women reported that both wanted sex to last 30 minutes or more, but just couldn’t seem to get there.

This information is surprising considering new standards. A 2008 survey of men and women’s ideal length for sex clocked in at 3-7 minutes being adequate, desirable being 7-13, and too long being anything 30 minutes and beyond.

Here’s the average time for sex and foreplay

One research study asked 152 heterosexual couples to list what they thought their partners’ desired duration of foreplay and intercourse was. The couples were also asked to list their own opinion on how long a romp should take.

How well did these couples know their partner’s sexual wants and needs? Apparently, not very! Women on average underestimated how long their partners wanted to engage in both foreplay and intercourse.

They guessed the men would want shorter rolls in the hay when the opposite was true. [Read: Mind-blowing sex – 12 moves to go from ho-hum on oh-hot-damn]

So how long is the average time for foreplay? According to research, the average amount of time a couple spends participating in foreplay is 15 minutes.

Actual penetration clocks in anywhere from 33 seconds to 40 minutes, with an average of 5.4 minutes.

How to make sex last longer and feel better

If you’re finding that your 5 minutes of bliss isn’t pleasing enough for you or your partner, there are ways of extending your lovemaking. These simple tips will help you last longer in bed.

1. Practice delayed orgasm

For men, this will help build control of your ejaculation. One trick is to wear thicker condoms or to masturbate a few hours before penetrative sex. This will numb your senses and help you last longer.

Another method is to squeeze the head of your penis 20 seconds before finishing.

Another method is to stop masturbating right before you ejaculate, wait, and then start again. Repeat this stop-start method until you feel you have a better idea of how to delay your gratification. [Read: The art of edging – 6 sizzling ways to control your orgasms]

2. Switch positions

Vary your positions during sex. This will help the man stay just distracted enough that he’s still stimulated without coming too soon.

3. Distract yourself

Men are visual and verbal creatures in the bedroom. They’re turned on by sights and sounds. This can be a problem when you’re moaning in ecstasy, and he’s trying not to finish too soon.

Many men find success distracting themselves during penetrative sex by taking mental breaks, such as solving math problems or focusing on work. Just don’t focus so hard that you lose your hard-on! [Read: How to keep your erection up for longer – 20 moves that always work]

4. Engage in plenty of foreplay

For women, foreplay is one of the most enjoyable parts of sex. This is where you stimulate her clit, engorge her vagina, kiss her all over, and get her nice and wet.

Foreplay should last about 10-20 minutes. This gives her more of a chance to orgasm either during foreplay or penetration since you got her all worked up.

Lasting in bed: advice for him

If you’re a guy who wishes he could last longer in the sack, there are various methods of delayed ejaculation to try.

Basically, if you’re jerking off or thrusting inside your partner and you start to feel your climax draw near – STOP! Keep stopping every time you feel the urge to come. [Read: How to last longer during sex without any difficulty]

Eventually with this method, you should start to build up a tolerance and be able to last longer. If this still isn’t working, take a fun trip with your gal to the local sex shop.

There you’ll be able to find orgasm delaying creams, gels, and cock rings that are sure to make you last longer.

If you’re still having trouble lasting as long as you’d like, try spending more time making your partner orgasm through other means, such as with a sex toy, orally, or with your hand.

As long as you’re making the effort to give your partner an orgasm, the time you last during intercourse will be less of an issue! [Read: 20 easy ways to keep an erection up for longer]

Getting off: advice for her

Is your man lasting and lasting, and you still can’t get there? Try throwing some sex toys into the mix, such as the Pocket Rocket, or make sure either you or your partner is rubbing your clit in a consistent rhythm for the duration of the ride!

If you’re still having problems, try getting on top and riding your partner in a grinding motion. One last tip? The more lube you have on your vulva and clit, the better! [Read: The sensual art of using your fingers to keep yourself aroused]

[Read: Foreplay done right – The art of really turning her on]

Hours of sex may work for some, but for the average time for sex, a sprint is definitely preferable to a marathon. However long it takes you to reach the big O, remember to have fun and go at your own pace!

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer, and the creator and author of her short stories on TheLonelySerb. She completed her first degr...
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