Marissa Higgins
Updated Sep 06, 2016 @ 1:08 pm
Credit: FOX

When it comes to talking about sex, it seems like everyone wants to solve the great mystery of what makes sex good for women. Of course, what constitutes as good sex (or sex at all, for that matter) varies from person to person. However, recent research does suggest there are certain trends in terms of how long to have sex for women to get their maximum enjoyment.

The 2015 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine includes a study which suggests that the median length of intercourse was just over five minutes. As Laura Beck at Cosmo points out, however, this is not the only study on the subject. According to Rachel Hills, who wrote The Sex Myth, the median length of intercourse is just over seven minutes. Either way, however, this doesn’t seem like the ideal length of time for a woman’s pleasure.


The scientific rationale here goes in a few directions. First, it’s important to remember that (unfortunately) all of these studies focus on heterosexual couples, so we aren’t able to assess the pleasure women who are in same-sex relationships get, for example. These studies also don’t take into consideration a huge aspect of sex: Foreplay.

That’s right: These studies are looking at the technical “definition” of sex, that is literally intercourse. It doesn’t include foreplay, which many people feel is what makes sex great. It’s also, logically speaking, what adds time to sex. And what do women want, according to science? Longer sex… and more foreplay.

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Where does this idea come from? Going back to 2004, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research surveyed female participants who shared that they enjoyed an average of 11 to 13 minutes of foreplay, then an average of 7 to 8 minutes of intercourse. What did they actually want, however? More foreplay, and more time having sex.

Again, of course, everyone has a different definition of sex. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that when it comes to having good, healthy, consensual sex, communication is the number one requirement. People have all different likes and dislikes, and you only learn these things through communication. Still, these studies can do a lot to illuminate certain trends and patterns, which is always good to chew on!