Good sexual intercourse lasts minutes, not hours

Satisfactory sexual intercourse for couples lasts from 3 to 13 minutes, contrary to popular fantasy about the need for hours of sexual activity, according to a survey of U.S. and Canadian sex therapists.

Penn State Erie researchers Eric Corty and Jenay Guardiani conducted a survey of 50 full members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, which include psychologists, physicians, social workers, marriage/family therapists and nurses who have collectively seen thousands of patients over several decades.

Thirty-four, or 68 percent, of the group responded and rated a range of time amounts for sexual intercourse, from penetration of the vagina by the penis until ejaculation, that they considered adequate, desirable, too short and too long.

The average therapists’ responses defined the ranges of intercourse activity times: “adequate,” from 3-7 minutes; “desirable,” from 7-13 minutes; “too short” from 1-2 minutes; and “too long” from 10-30 minutes.

“A man’s or woman’s interpretation of his or her sexual functioning as well as the partner’s relies on personal beliefs developed in part from society’s messages, formal and informal,” the researchers said. “”Unfortunately, today’s popular culture has reinforced stereotypes about sexual activity. Many men and women seem to believe the fantasy model of large penises, rock-hard erections and all-night-long intercourse. ”

Past research has found that a large percentage of men and women, who responded, wanted sex to last 30 minutes or longer.

“This seems a situation ripe for disappointment and dissatisfaction,” said lead author Eric Corty, associate professor of psychology. “With this survey, we hope to dispel such fantasies and encourage men and women with realistic data about acceptable sexual intercourse, thus preventing sexual disappointments and dysfunctions.”

Corty and Guardiani, then-undergraduate student and now a University graduate, are publishing their findings in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, but the article is currently available online.

The survey’s research also has implications for treatment of people with existing sexual problems.

“If a patient is concerned about how long intercourse should last, these data can help shift the patient away from a concern about physical disorders and to be initially treated with counseling, instead of medicine,” Corty noted.

68 COMMENTS

  1. I’m always concerned to read data like this because it seems such a complete disconnect from my reality! Like a graphic I’ve seen of men having their penis pointing downward when erect after they are 40 years old and older!

    Seriously, the best sex is less than 9 minutes? Well don’t ask me or my wife for sure. We have hours of sex weekend days and yes with long penetrations that easily spans a couple of hours. We crave it! Even on workdays we’d have an hour of penetration at least. Neither I nor her would ever want to change that. We are each other’s dream sexual partner because we want that kind of sex!

    I don’t think a survey of 50 people part of a particular group can be called “science”. Real actual data from a significant pool of people is bound to offer a different view for sure than the one offered by these member of the society for sex therapy. I might be above average, but still, considered the fact that I’m 55 I can almost guarantee many younger guys out there must be outpacing my older-guy abilities.

    I understand that some people might have concerns regarding not being able to have long-enough sex, but it seems to me you’re coming up with skewed data in order to make them feel “normal”. What’s normal? Maybe these people were quite happy with 8 minutes of penetration because they are not enjoying the sex so much, maybe because the woman is dry or other?

    I mean, one’s perspective on sex/partner is sure to affect “desirable length”. Me and my wife just have an extremely positive view of sex as the most beautiful, powerful and intimate thing to share and so, we absolutely LOVE the very frequent and very long sex (impossibly long compared to your results!!!) We’ve been at it almost daily for years and we certainly don’t want it to change.

    Sex is fantastic and hours of penetration can be the best thing imaginable! It is for us.

  2. I will like to know y I don’t sex drive any more with my wife but when I go to other woman I get this sexual drive
    I don’t get erected enough when I am with my wife I want to do it but I can not because of my erection
    Y it always happen like that with her not else where

  3. A survey obviously isn’t going to be the absolute objective measurement, but it’s nice to have one try to broach the subject.

    I think what we should take away isn’t an ideal timeframe, but the opposite. We should accept sex depends on the partners, the situation, and the mood and we shouldn’t set silly standards for ourselves. Many of us have had the all night love-a-thons. And many of us have enjoyed sex that only lasted a few minutes.Some of us take 45 minutes to ejaculate and some only a handful.

    The point is that it doesn’t matter. If both of you enjoyed the sex honestly, then the difference between 6 hours ands 6 seconds is irrelevant. Just enjoy yourselves

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