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How Much Sex Should You Be Having?
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In this episode of DNews, Dr. Crystal Dilworth tried to figure out what the scientific community's consensus is on Intravaginal Ejactulatory Latency Time, or, simply, how long "normal" heterosexual couples should be having sex for. In attempting to find an answer, she discovered that concepts of "normal" -- in relation to sex -- have changed drastically with societal expectations around it, so it's not easy to assign a biological value to.
In the late 1940s, according to the the Kinsey Report, 75% of males surveyed reported intercourse lasting approximately two minutes. Today, this objectionably short time period would likely warrant a premature ejaculation diagnosis.
Since the late 1960s, as the feminist movement and sexual revolution gained momentum, intercourse has been taking longer. More recent survey data from a study done at the University of New Brunswick showed the duration of vaginal intercourse to fall within the "five-to-ten minute" range, with durations in excess of 20 minutes being considered undesirable. That average sweet spot is presumably somewhere in between.
Historically, sex research has been pretty penis centric, so these averages only apply to the time it takes for male ejaculation with a female partner. More recent studies investigate more qualitative measures, like sexual satisfaction.
For example, in a 2004 study, participants were asked to report how long they wanted sex to last, as well as the actual duration of their intercourse. Female study participants desired an average of seven more minutes of intercourse than their partner at the time, and men reported wanting 11 more minutes. Interestingly, when asked about foreplay duration, men and women reported wanting 5 and 10 more minutes, respectively.
Ultimately, of course, it comes down to the personal expectations, desires, and needs of the people having sex. If you're being satisfied, you shouldn't necessarily assume that your partner is and vice-versa. Do you think you're normal? Let us know in the comments down below (but let's keep it PG, folks!)
How Long Should Sex Actually Last? (New York Magazine)
"How many minutes of sex is enough, and how many is too few? In public and pop culture, tales of sex that lasts all night long tend to draw low whistles and nods of approval."
Actual and desired duration of foreplay and intercourse: discordance and misperceptions within heterosexual couples (NIH)
"One hundred and fifty-two heterosexual couples reported their actual and ideal duration of foreplay and intercourse, as well as their perceptions of their partners' desired duration of foreplay and intercourse."