Thank You, Doctors: The Average S-ex Time Is Not as Long as You’d Think

Yes, it does seem as if everyone at the all-boys high school and the methadone clinic is complaining of little else. I know what you’re thinking: If only we had the perceptions of 34 Canadian and American se-x therapists on this. Well, good thing we do.

According to a 2008 study “Canadian and American Se-x Therapists’ Perceptions of Normal and Abnormal Ejaculattory Latencies: How Long Should Inter-course Last?” coitus considered “adequate” lasted anywhere from three to seven minutes, not including the Pledge of Allegiance. For the more ambitious, seven to 13 minutes was considered a “desirable” length for inter-course.

This data, from all the people who see therapists for se-xual problems, corresponds closely to earlier studies, which put the average at five to seven minutes. (We can safely blame the two-minute discrepancy on the Canadians.)


Statistically speaking, a 2005 study found that se-x lasts 5.4 minutes on average, although that data does not take into account foreplay, female 0rgasm, or non-heterose-xual pairings. For historical perspective, Alfred Kinsey’s 1948 research found that 75 percent of American men ejaculated within the first two minutes of se-x. Progress.

“Very few people have inter-course per se [Latin] that goes longer than 12 minutes,” says se-x therapist Barry W. McCarthy. Essentially, ejaculat0ry inhibition, which is also called “delayed 0rgasm” or “junkie 0rgasm,” has less to do with actual time than an inability to ejaculate when you’d like. And premature ejaculati0n, which is also called “rapid ejaculati0n,” refers to inter-course that lasts less than a minute or two.

McCarthy says you can slow things down by honing your technique through what he calls “nonintercourse se-x” (what the rest of us call “jerking off”). You also might want to try switching positions and varying the speed and pattern of your thrusts, and then you might attain the required 18-minute minimum no legitimately normal person ever fails to meet.