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2 April 2008
Penetrative Sex: Less Is More

According to North American sex therapists, satisfactory sexual intercourse for couples lasts from just 3 to 13 minutes, contrary to the popular fantasy about good lovemaking requiring hours of sexual activity. Penn State researchers Eric Corty and Jenay Guardiani based this finding on a survey of members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, which includes psychologists, physicians and marriage therapists.

The therapists rated a range of time intervals for sexual intercourse, from penetration of the vagina by the penis until ejaculation, that they considered adequate, desirable, too short and too long. The therapists' responses revealed the following ranges of intercourse activity times:

  • Too short - 1-2 minutes
  • Adequate - 3-7 minutes
  • Desirable - 7-13 minutes
  • Too long - 10-30 minutes

"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," the researchers reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Interestingly, past research had found that a large percentage of men and women wanted sex to last 30 minutes or longer. "This seems a situation ripe for disappointment and dissatisfaction," said lead author Corty. "With this survey, we hope to dispel such fantasies and encourage men and women with realistic data about acceptable sexual intercourse, thus preventing sexual disappointments and dysfunctions."

The survey also has implications for the treatment of people with existing sexual problems. "If a patient is concerned about how long intercourse should last, these data can help shift the patient away from a concern about physical disorders and to be initially treated with counseling, instead of medicine," Corty said.

Sex Around The Globe
Female Sexuality And Pornography
Width, Not Length, Most Important
Keeping Sex Fresh

Source: Journal of Sexual Medicine

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