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This is How Long the Average Guy Lasts in Bed

This is How Long the Average Guy Lasts in Bed: © Ikon Images / Alamy Stock Photo

© Ikon Images / Alamy Stock Photo

When it comes to sex, some guys worry that they don’t last long enough–and I’m not even talking about guys with premature ejaculation here. Guys who already have a lot of sexual stamina to begin with often worry that they aren’t measuring up.

It’s easy to see how men might come to this conclusion. After all, the most popular men’s magazines are constantly publishing articles with tips on how to last longer in bed, and many advertise “sexual enhancement” products designed to improve sex by delaying the male orgasm.

Then there’s porn, which gives the impression that guys should be able to keep going and going and going—and then coming and coming and coming. But that’s a topic for another article.

So what’s typical when it comes to sexual stamina, anyway? How long does it take for the average guy to ejaculate?

Let’s take a look at the research.

One of the best studies I’ve seen that can speak to this was published in 2005 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. This study involved 500 heterosexual couples from five countries (the U.S., U.K., Netherlands, Spain and Turkey) who were asked to time each instance of vaginal intercourse over a four-week period.

Specifically, couples were given a stopwatch and asked to start it upon penetration and stop it upon ejaculation. So, to be clear, they weren’t timing all of their sexual activities—just the amount of time it took guys to orgasm during vaginal intercourse.

And, yes, I know—this whole thing sounds totally unnatural and unsexy. Honestly, though, it’s really hard to come up with a better method. I mean, they could have stationed a research assistant in each couple’s bedroom to perform the timings, but that probably would have been even more awkward.

So, what did they find?

On average, each couple had sex eight times over the course of the study. In unsexy scientific terms, the median “intravaginal ejaculation latency time” was 5.4 minutes.

In other words, during each sexual event, half of all men ejaculated in less than five-and-a-half minutes following penetration.

There was a ton of variability across guys, though, with some ejaculating in 30 seconds, and others lasting nearly 45 minutes!

Given this incredible range, let me be clear that one length of time isn’t necessarily “better” or more “normal” than another. There are no absolute cutoffs for what constitutes premature ejaculation, either. However, as a reference point, most men who seek treatment for PE typically ejaculate in under a minute.

Time to ejaculation did not depend upon whether guys wore condoms, nor did it depend upon whether guys were circumcised.

Interestingly, time to ejaculation did not depend upon whether guys wore condoms, nor did it depend upon whether guys were circumcised.

There were some intriguing differences across countries, though, with men from the U.K. and U.S. lasting the longest (median times of 7.6 and 7.0 minutes, respectively) and men from Turkey finishing the fastest (3.7 minutes).

A 2009 study also published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine attempted to replicate these findings with 474 different couples chosen from the same five countries.

The results were very similar.

The only major difference in methods between the two studies was that, instead of a stopwatch, participants in the newer study were given an electronic recording device that did not show the time. The researchers were concerned that seeing the time might have influenced how long people spent having sex, so they tried to take that potential influence out of the picture.

Using this new device, the median time to ejaculation was exactly 6 minutes—just a little higher than the 5.4 minutes obtained in the previous study.

In the newer study, they also asked guys whether they were happy with their sexual stamina. More than 38 percent of guys weren’t.

However, despite being discontented, these men still had pretty typical stamina—their median ejaculation latency was 4.9 minutes.

In other words, it seems as though a lot of guys who think they have a stamina problem are actually pretty close to average, and they certainly don’t have premature ejaculation.

But if they were able to last longer, might they be happier? Not necessarily. Research has found that there is a correlation between time spent on sex and sexual satisfaction, but it is very small.

Those who spend more time on sex do tend to be happier—however, they’re only slightly happier. In other words, good sex doesn’t have all that much to do with how long it lasts.

If you think you aren’t lasting long enough in bed, chances are that you’re probably pretty normal. And if you think you can’t have a good sex life unless you become the sexual equivalent of the Energizer Bunny, well, think again.


Justin Lehmiller, PhD is a sex educator and researcher at Ball State University and author of the blog Sex and Psychology. Follow him on Twitter @JustinLehmiller.


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