How long should men really last in bed?

Many men worry about the time it takes for them to reach ejaculation during sex, but what do studies say about the subject and why you shouldn't let it take the pleasure out of the act

Lori Stadtmauer|
One of the most common questions that leads men to seek sexual therapy deals with premature ejaculation concerns. Many men worry the time amount of time between vaginal penetration and their orgasm is below average. But what is the average time, and why you shouldn't let it affect your and your partners' enjoyment of sex?
We know premature ejaculation is a phenomenon that can adversely affect the quality of life of both partners. Men suffering from premature ejaculation may experience a decrease in their self-confidence and sexual confidence and may even develop performance anxiety as a result.
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הזוג המושלם הזה
הזוג המושלם הזה
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Three studies published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine used different methodologies and sample populations to examine what’s considered "normal" in a man’s sexual performance. The studies specifically focus on the amount of time spent from penetration to ejaculation.
The latest study on the subject, published in 2023, surveyed 1,660 men, most of whom were Hungarian (77.71%), with the remainder from the U.S. and other English-speaking countries (22.29%). The average age of the participants was 39 years, and most identified as heterosexual.
Participants were asked to estimate the average time it takes for them to reach orgasm from the moment of penetration, using three parameters: over 10 minutes, over 15 minutes and over 20 minutes.
The study found that men without orgasmic difficulties lasted an average of 11 minutes during sexual intercourse, even though men who took more than 10 minutes to ejaculate were also more likely to report orgasmic difficulties such as delayed ejaculation.
An earlier study, published in 2020, included a sample of 1,065 respondents, consisting of 571 men and 494 women. Participants were asked to numerically estimate four parameters:
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1. How long did they believe most men can maintain penetrative intercourse.
2. The duration they consider ideal for penetrative intercourse.
3. The duration they perceive as premature ejaculation.
4. How long they personally can maintain penetrative intercourse.
Researchers found that both men and women estimated the typical duration most men can maintain during intercourse was between five to eight minutes and the ideal duration as ten minutes. Regarding premature ejaculation, both men and women agreed it lasted about 1.5 minutes, implying penetrative sex lasting less time was considered too short in their eyes.
Interestingly, there were no significant differences between men and women in their estimates of typical or ideal ejaculation times. The study also compared estimates from men with different sexual orientations and found no significant differences between straight, gay and bisexual men in this manner.
Another interesting finding was that respondents reported a longer ideal penetrative intercourse duration the more sexual experience and partners they reported having.
The earliest study was conducted in 2005 and involved 500 couples from five countries: the Netherlands, the UK, the U.S., Spain, and Turkey. Participants were men aged 18 and older who had been in a stable homosexual relationship for at least six months and had regular sexual relations. Participants were given a stopwatch and diary and asked to record the time from penetration to ejaculation for each sexual encounter over a four-week period.
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Participants were instructed to start the stopwatch when they began penetrative sex and stop it when they ejaculated. The data included the date, time of day, duration of each sexual encounter, and whether a stopwatch was used.
Approximately 4,000 sexual relations were documented, with an average frequency of eight events per couple over the four weeks examined. The results showed that the average time from penetration to ejaculation was 5.4 minutes, with a wide range starting at 0.55 minutes and reaching up to 44.1 minutes.
Interestingly, times varied significantly from country to country: while Turkish men lasted an average of 3.7 minutes, British men lasted 7.6 minutes. Age also played a role; younger men (18-30 years old) averaged 6.5 minutes compared to older men (over 51 years old) who averaged 4.3 minutes. The study also examined the effects of circumcision and condom use and found surprisingly minimal impact.
Licensed sex therapist and sexuality researcher Shulamit Sperber explained the data was fine, but doesn’t truly affect the sexual pleasure you or your partner are feeling: "I'm sure it's very meaningful for many men to know where they stand in these statistics, but it's important for me to clarify that there’s no real connection between the time spent from penetration to ejaculation and a man's qualities as a good lover.“
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“It’s possible for a man to be unable to reach ejaculation at all, due to performance anxiety or some medical issue for example, while still being a great lover,” she added.
"I think a man’s quality of being a good lover mainly depends on his ability to listen to his partner or partners," she explained. "On his ability to read their body, on his attentiveness, and on his willingness to be generous.”
“You have lips, tongue, and fingers, there are so many things you can do besides penetration, plus most women never reach orgasm from penetration alone. Some 80% of women reach orgasm from clitoral stimulation,” she added.
שולמית שפרברShulamit SperberPhoto: Elad Lifshitz
“Therefore, average times and statistics are nice, but please remember your quality and ability as lovers aren’t solely dependent on that. What really matters is that you ask your partner or partners what they like, talk to them, see them, and be ready to give."
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