How long is sex supposed to last?
Seven minutes in heaven or seven hours with breaks for snacks? Charlotte Bayes demystifies the ticking time bang.
A few weeks ago, I had penetrative sex during halftime of an Arsenal vs Tottenham game. The guy was absolutely pumped that Arsenal had scored three goals. Being a West Ham fan myself, I wasn’t really bothered about the score, but I was happy for him. And I was really happy that I was about to have 15 minutes of pure, hot, focused sex – the kind where you’re so into each other you almost want to consume them while drenched in sweat (not in a vore way, but no kink shaming). We finished exactly as the next 45 minutes of play started.
“How long is sex supposed to last?” is a question that’s wrapped up in a lot of bias and shame. The vast majority of studies on the subject are focused on penis and vagina penatrive intercouse and are based on the time it takes for the person with a penis to ejaculate. On average, this kind of sex lasts between three and 13 minutes.
Often these studies fail to mention things like age, disabilities and issues like premature ejaculation or vaginal dryness. How your body is physically made up also plays a part. We are all different. No penis or vagina is the same. In the same way that penises come in different lengths, shapes and widths, people with clitorouses may not be able to achieve orgasm through pure penetration because their labia might be chubbier than others. Maybe they have a deeper or shallower G Spot, or perhaps they’re just unable to achieve climax this way.
All these things, combined or otherwise, can determine how easy it is to cum for either party. None of them are shameful and they can usually be resolved, whether that’s through medication, lube, sprays, different kinds of foreplay, toys, or even strokers designed to help with premature ejaculation.
Sex, thank fuck, is not defined by penis and vagina penatration. People banging with the same sex genitals can and will attest. Sex can involve whatever you want and can last as long as you want or need it to be. Sometimes banging away for 45 minutes is incredibly boring, sometimes a whole hour can feel like five minutes.
“I always think the sweet spot is between 15 – 30 minutes, long enough so that you both have a good time and one of you could cum,” says 26-year-old Daniel. “But of course, it’s subjective. If the sex is good, it could last for much longer. The idea of there being a certain length it should take is silly. Sex is [about having] fun and making someone else feel fun. When that ends, so should the sex.” For Daniel, communication is key to ensure that both parties get the most bang for their buck. “If one partner thinks it doesn’t last long enough and feels comfortable expressing that, then tell them and discuss how you could make sex longer.”
Alex, 33, is also big on communication, but instead uses it to titillate partners throughout the day before a big night of passion. “Weekday sex is 20 minutes tops, including foreplay,” she says. “But when I know there’s going to be more time, I start the build up in the morning. I will send sexts all day and then we will have a long session at night – but also I’m 33 with chronic fatigue, so after about an hour I’m done.”
For 29-year-old Jamie, the key to a decent sex session is pacing yourself. “It depends what you have the energy for. If you’re acting like it’s an audition for a porno, you’re gonna run out of steam a lot quicker than if it’s a slower steadier affair,” she says. “30 – 45 minutes would be ideal for me. That gives you time to get into the rhythm but it’s not so long that you’re dying. That includes foreplay – I can’t imagine banging for 45 straight!”
For me, 15 minutes is a quickie. During my half time bang, we didn’t do any foreplay. It was straight to penatrative fucking, no messing about. I also didn’t orgasm and that was fine for me. I had a great time and knew that, later on, we would spend much longer doing a variety of different things that would focus solely on me – and him, and then both of us. I love to have sex all day long, with breaks for snacks or watching a film, doing the dirty in between, in whatever form. But I also love a very quick, two minute, bent-over-the-dining-table bang.
Sex should last as long as it takes for both partners to be happy and satisfied. That doesn’t even have to mean both of you have cum. As always, you need to talk to your partner about what satisfies them and you. Sometimes that might be three minutes and sometimes it’s three hours.