How long great sex really lasts

by Alisa on January 28, 2009

Are we done yet?

Are we done yet?

A few months ago, I was surfing around a discussion board for moms when I noticed this intriguing question, “About how long does it take you and your DH to do it?” I clicked through, and I immediately felt inadequate.

Mom after mom was claiming to “do it” for 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and even two hours on a regular basis. These women were describing a “quickie” as sex that lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. A few even complained about short sexual encounters, whining, “I wish my DH had more staying power.”

I wondered, “Who are these women and why are they allowed to type such nonsense on the Internet?”

In my bedroom, a typical session lasts about 10 minutes, and that includes the taking off the clothes part and the clean up.

This, by the way, is not my husband’s fault. His staying power should probably be documented in the Guinness Book of World Records. (Note: His friends read this blog. My husband will now love me forever. He’d also like me to stipulate that the length of his, well, you know, is legendary.)

Our constant use of the quickie is all my doing.

I simply can’t imagine going at it for an hour. An hour?! Two hours?! When I think about having sex for that long, the following words and phrases come to mind:

“Ouch.”

“Yawn.”

“I have stuff to do.”

“Are we done yet?”

It’s possible that we completed a few sexual marathons years ago, when we first met. Those were the days when we used to think it was fun to gaze into one another’s eyes. My memories of those times have mostly been erased by a chronic case of momnesia, though.

In any case, we no longer have time to eye gaze, not to mention drag things out in the bedroom. Now in the AK (after kid) era, there’s simply no time for such frivolity. We have a 529 to fund, a daycare bill to pay, jobs to do, a house to clean, toys to fix, and meals to cook. Sex has become something we slip in somewhere between the daycare drop off and a mad dash to the bank.

Still, even if I had all the time in the world, I’m not so sure I’d want it. If sex lasted an hour or more, I’m quite certain I’d need to take ibuprofen for a few days afterward. I’m just not in that sort of shape anymore.

And even if I was in shape, I’m not sure I’m genetically blessed with the ability to go at it for that long. I’ve tried to turn myself into a better sex partner. I really have. For instance, I’ve tried doing it with my husband a lot more frequently, with the idea being that more frequent orgasms would lead to a better ability to delay them.

It sort of worked, too. Instead of 10 minutes, our sessions dragged on for about 12.

I’ve tried to focus my thoughts on nonsexual things, too, like how I planned to straighten up the bedroom as soon as we wrapped things up. I’ve even begged my husband to ease up. “No, don’t push me over the edge honey, I want to see… Oh, it’s too late now.”

It’s like that.

I thought about asking my real life mom friends about their sex lives, but I held off. I figured they might all be marathoners, too. I didn’t want everyone in town knowing that I was a sexual sprinter.

Then yesterday I was doing some research for a heart disease book that I’m writing and I stumbled across a Penn State study. It found that the most sexually satisfied couples usually had sex for just three to 13 minutes. In fact, the psychologists, marriage therapists and sexperts who were studied said that anything longer than 10 minutes was “too long.” (And if you wonder what that has to do with heart disease, all I can say is this: Google isn’t perfect.) The researchers were quoted as saying, “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.”

I thought three things:

1.    Hallelujah!

2.    Penn State rules!

3.    Bring on the quickies!

How long does an optimal lovemaking session last?

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A professional journalist, Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir of how she saved her marriage, and coauthor of Pitch Perfect, a must-read if you've ever had a sense of dread tie up your insides before a speech, presentation, or conversation. If you enjoyed this post, you will no doubt love her updates on Facebook and Twitter.

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

ole lady May 19, 2009 at 7:02 pm

well …. i really need to be touched loved and have sex last for more than 14 seconds what is so wrong with that?

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john May 24, 2009 at 7:34 pm

actually i use to make love at least for 45 minutes some time to 2,3,hours,long time more enjoyment

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Russell Yazbeck May 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I have sex for 30-60 mins. I like to take my time. Taking off her clothes is very enjoyable for me, so is kissing, fondling, oral, etc. Besides that my dick works better if there is foreplay. For me a quickie is 10-20 mins. Normal is 30-60, and if we’re feeling frisky we’ll go for over an hour.

This is a different situation than in the past, since we all know that every woman is different when it comes to stimulation. I’ve spent 45 mins just on oral with a woman who was inexperienced and had pretty significant vaginal issues, but it was well worth it. I’ve had sex with women who were “done” in less than 10 mins. It varies so dramatically from person to person and couple to couple that there is no such thing as a standard like 10 mins or 4 hours. Some people can get it on all night if they want and some people can’t get it on at all.

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TraderHubbyDad August 27, 2009 at 7:56 pm

My wife and I usually start getting rub rash after about 20 minutes of hardcore lovemaking, so I would have to say the optimal penetration session (lovemaking entails everything from pre-foreplay sex talk, foreplay, penetration, afterplay and naked cuddling) for me is no more than 15 minutes tops, 10 minutes preferable.

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Santiago Chadderton January 9, 2011 at 1:19 am

Thanks for taking the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If possible, as you gain experience, would you mind updating your blog with additional information? This can be very useful for me.

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Matthew Patthew January 26, 2011 at 10:41 am

It really depends on how long you can keep someone down for!

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Sunshine July 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Wow.. I guess I’m really lucky. My fiance lasts from 30 to 45 minutes on average, and counting foreplay, our sessions are around an hour to hour and half easy.. He usually starts with warming me up, often giving me an orgasm or two before entering me. The shortest we’ve had so far is 30 minutes.. it was around 15-20 minutes our first time when we lost our virginity together.

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Alexis Josue Solo October 10, 2011 at 12:20 am

I cant imagine that people would have sex for less then half an hour. When my girlfriend and I have sex, it usually last 45 to an hour and half.For those who think “i have something to do” or “how long is this gonna last” should probably reevaluate their partners. Great sex usually last long and the pleasure never ceases.

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Knitted in the Womb November 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm

People who think that great sex can’t be quick obviously don’t have kids. LOL. Yes, it does need to be a bit longer than 2 minutes…but if 10 minutes make both partners happy–who is to argue with them?

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LEE August 31, 2012 at 4:33 am

I am 52 years old and my friend 28 years. We had sex once with the time 3 hours. Of course we had some break and play around, kiss… She told me that I was so great.

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sara October 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I’m soooo with you on this! My husband actually wants to go for 30 minutes to an hour, at least, and it’s driving me crazy! That’s actual penetration time! If I’m going to orgasm (usually do, but not always), it’s gonna be in the first 10 minutes, and after 1 or 2 orgasms, my will to continue is looooong spent. I’m bored, I’m chafed, and I just have too much to do! I like sex, but not for hours!

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Lorena December 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

For us it take us about 40 minute for a regular and 15 for a quickie the older we get actually the longer it takes we try to go until we both get the big O. We take our time get it right. We do do quick oral as much as possible those last 10 minute most of the time I guess we maybe less frequent than some but we time to play

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Kalonge Bryan February 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

Sometimes, you just blow without warning. I know that if you wanted to fuck this girl for ages, all you need to do.. is tart slowly and turn up the heat.

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kester February 26, 2013 at 4:04 am

I tink its possible to have sex straight up for an hour without any drugs or something cos i have done it and it was cool.real men do it

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Emma Gelder March 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I can’t imagine having sex for a week that would be so sexy

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cusunshine May 7, 2013 at 12:18 am

It takes me at least 3 hours to ejaculate…Id love to have a woman that will orgasm over and over again prepping me for my orgasm, as Ive always, ALWAYS have her orgasm first… If you haven’t had a day of sex recently, than you HAVE NO IDEA…and I want it at least once or twice a day….

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Angela September 15, 2013 at 10:51 am

This blog is appalling to say the least. You seem completely disinterested in sex and I feel for your husband who is prob having or has had an affair. Sexual intimacy is the bond that keeps a relationship healthy and two individuals connected. It is one of the most beautiful and pleasurable acts couples engage in. Unless your husband is asexual I highly doubt you are fulfilling his sexual needs. A 10 min quickie with no passion is not something to be proud of. Your blog is giving terrible advice to women and portraying sex as a chore. To women out there reading this nonsense: love your husbands, cherish them and look them in the eyes when you make love! Desire them and enjoy the act of sexual intimacy. If you don’t someone else will!!!!!!!!!

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A humble happy man September 20, 2013 at 12:45 am

Angela more women should have your attitude. My spouse and I honestly make love 5 times a week for 90 min to an hour and I’m not a little guy downstairs. I’m not here to brag just express my disappointment in today’s culture. We own a business and work together about 60 hours a week and yet still make time for each other (and I still have plenty of time to play xbox and see our kids). What I enjoy more than my own personal feelings is making her feel good. It takes lots of concentration to have that much stamina especially when with someone you feel comfortable with. Intimate sex is not a “knock the bottom out of it” kind of event. We have 5 kids still living at home but make each other a priority still. We don’t smoke or drink so we get our feelings of excitement from each other. Also the longer your a couple the better sex becomes cause you communicate and it no longer has the stigma associated with it. Anyone can F**k but true intimacy is acquired over time.

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charles November 10, 2013 at 6:46 am

gud 4 u all bt am the one minute man

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