How long should sex last: Is longer always better?

The ideal duration for sexual intercourse, according to research, is typically considered to be between seven to fifteen minutes.
Society has often exaggerated the stigma surrounding men ejaculating quickly during sex. Many recent movies have humorously portrayed couples dealing with short and rapid sexual encounters. However, the duration of ideal sexual activity remains an enigma. Despite the assumption that shorter sessions might lack impact or pleasure, longer sexual encounters can bring their own set of challenges!

men and women hugging
Health Shots consulted Anu Goel, a sex therapist and mental health expert, regarding the optimal duration for sexual activity. According to Goel, the ideal duration for vaginal sex should range between 7-15 minutes to achieve maximum desired results and potentially experience orgasm (although it's not a guaranteed outcome). She emphasizes that sex involves more than just vaginal penetration; foreplay plays a crucial role.
Citing research, Goel notes that men typically ejaculate within 5-10 minutes of sexual activity. A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine categorizes sex duration into adequate, desirable, too short, and too long. The study suggests that sex lasting from 3 to 13 minutes is considered normal. Specifically, duration ranging from three to seven minutes is labeled as adequate, while seven to thirteen minutes is regarded as desirable.

How to have good sex?

Regardless of the ideal duration for sex, Anu Goel emphasizes that enjoyable sexual experiences require effort.
"For a fulfilling sexual experience, partners must educate themselves and engage in open discussions about their desires. Allotting time to understand what pleases each other, discussing preferences, exploring various sensations, and sharing fantasies are essential," she elaborates.
Sexual experiences encompass more than just intercourse; they involve foreplay, post-sex intimacy, and effective communication. Anu Goel highlights the significance of emotions expressed during the act, stating, "Verbally communicating and expressing pleasure through moans allow your partner to understand your preferences better."

How to make sex last longer?

For those still pondering the ideal duration for sex and aiming to extend their time, Anu Goel offers practical tips to consider.


1. Increased foreplay

Foreplay, the sexual engagement preceding penetration, is instrumental in fostering excitement and arousal in individuals. It not only builds emotional intimacy with your partner but also contributes significantly to sexual arousal, a crucial element for a fulfilling sexual experience.

2. Take things slowly

Sexual intimacy doesn't always have to be intense or forceful; instead, adopting a slower and more deliberate approach can be equally stimulating and rewarding. Embracing a slower pace allows for a deeper connection and heightened sensations, amplifying the potential for achieving orgasmic pleasure. It offers the opportunity to savor each moment, building anticipation and intensifying the overall experience.
Slowing down during intimate moments not only enhances the chances of reaching orgasm but also provides a more conducive environment for exploration and experimentation. The relaxed pace allows partners to explore diverse erogenous zones, varying touch techniques, and different sensual activities, fostering an environment of exploration and discovery.
This unhurried approach to intimacy promotes a deeper understanding of each other's desires and responses, paving the way for a more fulfilling and satisfying sexual encounter.

3. Enhancement of endurance

To prolong sexual activity, building stamina is crucial. Increased endurance allows for performing similar activities with reduced strain on the body. Engaging in regular exercise, particularly pelvic exercises, can significantly contribute to enhancing stamina for better sexual performance.

4. Communicate with your partner

Communicating your desires to your partner can not only extend the duration of sex but also improve its quality. Experimenting with various positions and engaging in role play can enhance sexual pleasure. Additionally, have you explored the concept of edging for achieving prolonged sexual experiences?

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What happens when sex is too long?

There's a common misconception that extended sexual encounters always equate to better experiences, but this might not always hold true. Prolonged sexual activity can indeed bring forth a range of potential complications. According to Goel, excessively lengthy sexual sessions can contribute to the development of vaginal infections, primarily due to continual physical contact and a lack of proper hygiene practices. These prolonged interactions may lead to discomfort, inflammation, and potential swelling in the vaginal area.
Moreover, if adequate lubrication diminishes over time due to prolonged intercourse, the resulting friction can cause discomfort and even pain during sex. This heightened frictional force can result in abrasions, making individuals more susceptible to irritation and soreness.
Another concerning aspect of prolonged sexual activity is the increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). This risk amplifies with extended physical engagement, as it may facilitate the transfer of bacteria into the urinary tract, leading to potential infections.
Furthermore, very extended sexual sessions can leave individuals physically fatigued and drained due to the continuous exertion and energy expenditure. Therefore, while prolonged sex might seem desirable to some, it's crucial to maintain awareness of potential complications that can arise from overly extended sexual activities.
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