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How Long Should Sex Last?


It’s an age-old question that countless of us have likely pondered at some point in the past; exactly how long should sex last?

Perhaps now more than ever before, our view on this question has become somewhat skewed. In the age of the internet, when access to porn is relatively open and pornographic material is readily available, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing sex should last for hours on end and that we all need to be stallions in the sack.

This, of course, isn’t true. Thanks to our Global Sex Survey, where we interviewed 29,000 people across the world, we have uncovered the facts about sexual duration which are sure to put your mind at rest. Here is everything you need to know when it comes to how long sex should last:

The duration of sex

It may come as little surprise, but the average duration of sex varies greatly between both age group and region. So, if you’re asking yourself how long should sex usually last, there isn’t an exact, definitive number we can give you.

What we can tell you is that, from our Global Sex Survey, 65% of respondents agreed that sex lasted as long as they would like, with only 14% of respondents disagreeing with the idea that sex lasted as long as they would like. With this in mind, the odds are that your sex session is lasting a perfectly reasonable amount of time.

Before we dive further into the detail, it’s important to remember that the most important thing is whether you and your partner are happy with your sex life. If you find you are both satisfied after 5 minutes of penetrative sex, then you don’t need to be concerned with what the average duration for sex is.

man and woman kiss

Does sex include foreplay?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s perhaps a good idea to define what exactly we mean by sex. You would be forgiven for thinking that, when we are discussing sexual duration, we are specifically talking about how long you can last during penetrative sex.

Guys, if you are worried about how long you can last before you come, and whether this is keeping your partner satisfied or not, there is no need to worry. You don’t need to think about sex as the intercourse part alone, many people out there include foreplay as part of the sex experience. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your partner if they are satisfied. Communication is key in any healthy relationship.

If you’re worried about how long you can last during penetrative sex, then think about how you can get the most out of the foreplay segment of your sexual encounters. If you get too excited during intercourse and you’re worried that that penetrative sex is going to be over fairly quickly, you can always take a break and spend some more time giving your partner some amazing oral to slow things down again.

How long should sex last?

Great, we’re on the same page when it comes to what sex is and why duration isn’t actually all that important. For those of you out there who want some insight into the actual numbers, let’s dive right in.

According to our Global Sex Survey, across all ages of those questioned, the average length of sex (foreplay & intercourse combined) is 33 minutes. In terms of the most common duration for foreplay, 27% of respondents stated foreplay lasted between 6 to 10 minutes. This was mirrored in intercourse itself, where again 27% of respondents stated that penetrative sex lasted somewhere between 6 to 10 minutes.

sex duration data infographic

Our Global Sex Survey results also showed that intercourse lasting more than 30 minutes is by no means the norm, with only 8% of respondents stating sex lasted for that long or longer.

With this in mind, there is no need to be concerned if you aren’t going the distance. Up to 10 minutes of intercourse is fairly typical and besides, all that matters is that you and your partner are having a good time.

How long should sex last the first time?

Now we’ve established the average numbers for the duration of sex, let’s talk about how long sex should last during your first time. The answer is fairly straight forward; it really doesn’t matter.

Whether man or woman, the first time you have sex should be all about being comfortable and feeling safe. If your partner is aware that it’s your first time (or perhaps you are losing your virginity together) they are not going to be keeping score.

So, don’t get hung up on going the distance, just make sure you keep communicating, you stay safe and you always respect each other. Losing your virginity only happens once, and it can be a very nerve-wracking experience, so try not to add extra levels of pressure. 


Want to know more about all things sex? Why not head over to our Explore Sex blog where we discuss everything from sexual health to the best oral sex positions.



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