How Long Should Sex Last? The Numbers Are In



The ability to last long in bed has become an arbitrary measurement of masculinity and sexual prowess. For some reason, being able to resist a partner’s sexuality in the throes of passion is a reason to pat yourself on your back while she’s on hers. In an attempt to dispel this baseless belief, Lovely, a sex toy and couples app, studied 432 American couples and determined Americans are pretty satisfied with their sex lives, rating sexual satisfaction 70 out of 100. Yay for us! Especially because missionary, the most rudimentary (and second most dangerous) position known to man, is most popular. But how long does good sex last? After analyzing 2,160 individual romps, researchers concluded the average sexual encounter lasts 12 minutes. Is that good? Bad? What’s the deal?

First, it’s important to note that Lovely’s data doesn’t reference whether foreplay or outercourse were accounted for, or if their data solely assessed penetration. Considering research out of the University of Queensland found penetration lasts an average of 5.4 minutes, we’re going to assume that the research measured sex from foreplay to climax. This would suggest then, that forplay lasts a little longer than six minutes.

Researchers note that, contrary to popular opinion, older gentlemen weren’t able to outlast younger guys and actually climaxed earlier. They also posit condoms and circumcision don’t affect male performance–a peculiar result, as ample research reports the opposite. What does impact performance, however, is a man’s weight–and not how you think it would. Research from Erciyes University found that larger men with ample stomach fat and higher BMIs last longer than the rest of us, averaging 7.3 minutes in bed.

Unfortunately, women require much longer than 12 minutes to climax. On average, straight women need 30 minutes to orgasm. As we recently reported, a good chunk of those minutes should be spent downtown. More than two-thirds of women require clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Not to mention, women who receive oral sex are less likely to flee a relationship.

But hey, if 12 minutes is the national average and Americans rate their sex lives seven out of 10, then let’s leave it at that. We’re doing just fine. In fact, research published nearly a decade ago notes “adequate” sex lasts anywhere from three to seven minutes, where seven to 13 minutes was considered “desirable.” However, it would be irresponsible to ignore that premature ejaculation is a common sexual condition that affects one in three men. On average, sex for men with PE lasts from one to three minutes.

The average Lovely reports is good news. It lets us know we’re doing something right for once. So, hey, if you’re over or under the average, you’re still doing alright. After all, during their analysis, researchers receieved data that found sexual duration lasts anywhere from 33 seconds to 44 minutes. So there’s quite the discernible gap. As long as you and your partner are satisfied, none of this really matters.