There are no rules in sex. It can be done in any position, with any person, any time — day or night, and for any length of time. But for humans, even though there are no rules, sex can still be a daunting experience.
So just in case you didn’t already feel self conscious enough about whether or not you’re doing sex right, science is now weighing in. Because who better to help make you feel adequate/inadequate in the bedroom than a scientist?
But what exactly is he weighing in on? How long sex should last.
Dr. Brendan Zietsch from the University of Queensland surveyed 500 couples (heterosexual, it seems) having sex over a four week period. He probably wasn’t actually in the room with them, but he did give them a stopwatch and asked them to time their intercourse. For science.
Using a stop watch during sex may seem unnatural and super awkward (because it is), but Zietsch couldn’t just ask people how long their sex takes and expect an accurate answer.
“Measuring an average time to ejaculation is not a straightforward matter,” Zietsch explained. “What about just asking people how long they take, you say? Well, there are two main problems with this. One is that people are likely to be biased upwards in their time estimates, because it’s socially desirable to say you go long into the night. The other problem is that people don’t necessarily know how long they go for. Sex isn’t something people normally do while monitoring the bedside clock, and unassisted time measuring may be difficult during a spontaneous lovemaking session.”
Ah. Yes. Makes sense.
The study found that penetration can last anywhere from 33 seconds to 44 minutes, but the average time across the board was five minutes and 40 seconds. And that’s not including foreplay, in case you were wondering.
Overall, the findings prove that there’s no “normal” amount of time to have sex. Some secondary results were also found.
“Condom use didn’t seem to affect the time, and neither did men’s being circumcised or not,” Zietsch wrote. “This challenges some conventional wisdom regarding penile sensitivity and its relationship to staying power in the sack.
It didn’t much matter which country the couples came from either – unless they came from Turkey, in which case their sex tended to be significantly shorter (3.7 minutes) than couples from other countries (Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States).
Another surprising finding was that the older the couple, the shorter the sex, contrary to the prevailing wisdom (probably peddled by older men).
So what should you do with all of this science? Nothing. Continue doing sex the way you want to do sex. But now you know that a “normal” amount of time to have sex doesn’t exist.