Duration of the Bedroom Mamba?
November 19, 2005 7:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm wondering how long, in people's experience, the act of heterosexual sexual intercourse takes.

When I mean this, I specifically this without any reference to fun stuff like foreplay and so on.

I am curious, basically, as to how long, in people's experience, the actual portion of the sex act that involves penetration and thrusting to climax takes for them. I realize it involves individual endurance, as well as differing acts that may cause greater or more rapid excitement, but I'm thinking more of averages and rough spans.

The question is a bit graphic, I know, but I'm curious -- movies often refer to how long men endure before climaxing either in comic or exaggerated fashion, without any real sense as to what the average is.

(Assume for the sake of this question that we're speaking of natural endurance, without involvement of Viagra or other substances or toys.)

(I specify heterosexual not due to any inherent homophobic opinion, but simply because (a) that's my own preference and (b) the respective acts are different and thus probably have differing answers.)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (40 answers total)

My personal best is about 3 minutes, and sometimes it drags out for over an hour.
posted by 31d1 at 7:48 PM on November 19, 2005

It depends on the person: with some guys I've been with, it's lasted 10 minutes, others over an hour (or two!).
posted by itchie at 7:51 PM on November 19, 2005

Most of the time it's in the 5-10 minute range. It's not uncommon for it take much longer though, 30-60 minutes.

Divide those by 2 for anal (either of us)
posted by alexst at 7:54 PM on November 19, 2005

Anywhere between a minute and a couple/few hours.

A minute? Got a little too excited too early. (And every guy does it at some point. Anyone who denies it probably never masturbates either. ::rolls eyes::)

A few hours? This usually occurs, for me, at the beginning of a relationship, when I'm out to explore every facet of her body (and vice versa).

Typically, about 20-40 minutes. Many, many times I've had to stop because sometimes a woman can be overstimulated (if you find a sweet spot and you really work it, the orgasm can sometimes be so overpowering that they can pass out).
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:59 PM on November 19, 2005

Hugely dependent on age. (Not much else to contribute as I haven't checked the time nor trust my internal clock at these times.)
posted by Aknaton at 8:01 PM on November 19, 2005

With myself or other people?

I'm not gonna answer your question directly, because it sounds like you're thinking way too much about this, like you have a hangup or someone is pressuring you about taking too long or too short.

So it doesn't matter how long it takes ME to unwrap it from around my leg and give legions of women triple digit orgasams (and this was when I was had the flu!) while working on cure for keeping the french fries hot till you get home. All that matters is how long it takes you and your partner and whether that satisifies both of you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:18 PM on November 19, 2005

It varies greatly. There are times when orgasm is simultaneous with penetration (usually this happens early on with a new partner) and there are times when, despite 1-2 hours of much-enjoyed sex, orgasm just isn't going to happen. I find, however, that I enjoy sex more when it's a more mixed experience: less of a linear path from penetration to orgasm that takes X minutes to accomplish. Switching from intercourse to manual or oral, back to intercourse or mutual masturbation or toy-play, with anywhere from none to several orgasms for either or both of us lasts longer and is more interesting and satisfying. There have been times when I've had a consistent number of minutes with a certain partner, but that's usually a sign that the sex has become routine. And when the sex becomes routine, it tends to become shorter: more about successfully getting off and getting it over with.
posted by scarabic at 9:08 PM on November 19, 2005

In terms of actual duration of intercourse, the 1948 Kinsey Report found that "for perhaps three-quarters of all males, orgasm is reached within two minutes" of intercourse, but Hunt's 1974 study found that the average duration of intercourse had increased dramatically, to 10 to 14 minutes, in the intervening 26 years.[via]

As a callow youth, I would be anywhere between 0 and 10 minutes; in the intervening years (now in my mid-thirties) I find it can be between 2 minutes and a couple of hours, depending on inebriation/hangover, position, available time, and probably a million other things.
posted by nowonmai at 9:08 PM on November 19, 2005

8 seconds
posted by vito90 at 9:13 PM on November 19, 2005

If it's information on the average you're looking for this is not the way to get it. A google search is the way to get it.

"average duration of coitus" netted me one article that looked promising, in that it included scholarly references. In case you aren't fascinated by the topic of "Semen Displacement as a Sperm Competition Strategy in Humans," I will even extract the relevant portion.

The average duration of coitus is 7.9 minutes (Grenier and Byers, 2001), with 100 to 500 thrusts per encounter (Hrdy and Whitten, 1987). Premature ejaculation is one of the most common forms of male “sexual dysfunction,” affecting as many as one in four men (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, and Michaels, 1994).

Full references -

Grenier, G., and Byers, E. S. (2001). Operationalizing premature or rapid ejaculation. Journal of Sex Research, 38, 369-378.

Laumann, E. O., Gagnon, J. H., Michael, R. T., and Michaels, S. (1994). The social organization of sexuality: Sexual practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

There you go. On a personal note, I would like to say to an apparently statistically significant segment of the population: you are lousy in the sack.
posted by nanojath at 9:59 PM on November 19, 2005

Best two minutes of your life, baby!
posted by kirkaracha at 10:00 PM on November 19, 2005

As a man, uninterrupted rhythmic thrusting (god, that sounds technical) lasts me between five and seven minutes. That's usually also not how sex goes, though, (at least for me), so it takes longer.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:41 PM on November 19, 2005

Oh, I would say it takes abou...ohhh, *spurt* oh god, I swear that never happens, uhh...

Seriously, in my own experience it depends on a lot of factors. If we are talking straight pumping intercourse and I am sufficiently worked up, about 5-10 minutes. Usually though, we'll prolong it by switching positions, varying the speed, and most importantly, breaking up the intercourse with other foreplay type activities when I feel like I am ready to ejaculate. I've also prematurely ejaculated before (especially when I was in high school), so if that has anything to do with your question, don't feel bad.
posted by Falconetti at 10:50 PM on November 19, 2005

Listen to these guys -- one to two hours. I'm reminded of the scene in a book called A Sport And A Pastime where, after a while, she said to him, "Would you like something to read?" I know I'd get bored and wish for some mental stimulation, doin' it that long.

Back in the real world, my best's about twenty minutes, but usually much shorter.
posted by Rash at 10:51 PM on November 19, 2005

This is the very definition of a "how long is a piece of string" question, because it depends so much on the setting and the partner.

As stated by several posters above, there have been times when I have come within a few seconds of penetration. This has tended to be with a new partner and after hours of foreplay.

Usually the duration of a basic, no-nonsense quickie is about 20 minutes for me. But with one partner I have been able to carry on seemingly forever without even thinking of coming - and in fact have to really think hard to get myself to come. So some of it has to do with the techniques employed by your sexual partner as well as your own.
posted by skylar at 12:14 AM on November 20, 2005

1-1.5 hours usually. . . A designated quickie is obviously a whole different matter.
posted by BrandonAbell at 12:35 AM on November 20, 2005

I'd guess it's usually between 20 and 40 minutes. When it's less than 10, I'm disappointed. When it's more than an hour, I'm bored unless it's mindblowingly good. Which it sometimes is.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 12:38 AM on November 20, 2005

Multiplying gay sex by two I'll say about 10-120 minutes, from quickies to all-out, no-holes-barred action.
posted by Rothko at 2:11 AM on November 20, 2005

15-40... not limited by me (male), but by how fast she got off.
posted by mhuckaba at 3:37 AM on November 20, 2005

Depends what time the football starts.

Seriously, who cares - as long as it's good.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 5:59 AM on November 20, 2005

A minute? Got a little too excited too early. (And every guy does it at some point. Anyone who denies it probably never masturbates either. ::rolls eyes::)

I can safely confirm I obviously haven't reached "that point". Absolute bare minimum for me is ten minutes, and that's extremely rare, usually more than half an hour and that's if I'm trying to go quickly. I guess I'm a bit like a woman really, it takes a lot for me to get anywhere.. but this is almost a dysfunction of its own supposedly :)
posted by wackybrit at 7:39 AM on November 20, 2005

10 minutes, average. Actual time varies depending on the position and the technique involved... but some positions aren't going to do it for me no matter how long he takes.
posted by Miss Bitchy Pants at 7:59 AM on November 20, 2005

3-30 minutes seems to contain 90 percent of guys I know, unless the guy is on any number of medications which can make it go on for [what seems like] forever. Seems like there are two questions here:

1. How long can you, the guy, last if you're trying to last? Perhaps you have a partner who only orgasms after 20-30 minutes of the in-and-out, can you make it that long?
2. How long do you last, independent of other things? Say you have a partner who doesn't orgasm through the in-and-out business, how long does it take you if it's (mostly) all about your orgasm?

Of course non-porno movies tend to only show sex that is interestingly filmable which means much more thrusting and much less oral sex/foreplay/nuance/subtlety.
posted by jessamyn at 8:02 AM on November 20, 2005

It seems to me that asking people might not get you accurate results.

1) Obviously, some guys lie about these things.

2) Most people can't estimate how long a minute is. They have to look at a clock. If you're looking at the clock, you're doing it wrong. (Or maybe you only watch the clock during boring sex. Then you're skewing your data.)

3) Sex — like other peak experiences — alters your sense of time, sometimes in unreliable ways. A guy could have a great sense of time in everyday life and still have a lousy sense of time in the sack.

4) What jessamyn said. Comparing a guy who's trying to last with a guy who's trying to get off quickly is like comparing apples and oranges.

I'd look for experimental data that doesn't come from surveys (i.e. not Kinsey's numbers). I have no idea if such data exists, but it's the only way you'll get an accurate answer.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:24 AM on November 20, 2005

Sex — like other peak experiences — alters your sense of time, sometimes in unreliable ways. A guy could have a great sense of time in everyday life and still have a lousy sense of time in the sack.

Yeah, I've got to say that I'm surprised by the answers in this thread. My sense of time gets really sketchy.
posted by heatherann at 9:18 AM on November 20, 2005

Heh - I've wondered this before, but never thought to ask :-)

I think that I'm incapable of this so-called "quickie", and it generally lasts for 45-90 minutes; she'll sometimes have a couple of O's, and sometimes I don't manage to squeeze one out myself (get too hot and tired). Weird.
Quite frustrating sometimes, especially when you don't have an hour or two to dedicated to getting really dirty and then clean again...
posted by Chunder at 10:35 AM on November 20, 2005

An *hour or two average*? Jesus christ I'd die of boredom, and don't you have dishes to wash?? Hats off to you, my friends.

In my experience - about 15-20 minutes average.
posted by tristeza at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2005

How long is a piece of string?

Seriously, it varies hugely, depending on what we want. Sometimes we want fast and furious, sometimes we want long, langorous and teasing. We never go as far as exploring Sting-esque levels of tantric endurance (Jesus, how much lube must that absurd old poseur get through, d'ya think?) because that'd be boring as hell, but we're in that happy place where we can make it as long or as short as we want it to be. One of the truly great things about male middle age is that it becomes much easier to control orgasm for as long as you want to. It ain't all excessive nasal hair and pot bellies, thankfully.

I have to say one thing: anyone who seriously thinks 20 minutes is a "no-nonsense quickie" must be dead from the balls up. That isn't any sort of "quickie". Actual fucking for one side of an album is a "quickie"? Come on. You did read the question, right?
posted by Decani at 11:48 AM on November 20, 2005

As a girl, I'd say it gets kind of sore and boring if it goes on for more than 10-15 minutes, especially if I've already had my orgasm, and I'd do what I can to help the guy finish. Breaking up the duration with other playing is always good.
posted by matildaben at 11:54 AM on November 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

As a girl, I'd say it gets kind of sore and boring if it goes on for more than 10-15 minutes

As a guy, I'd say your feeling on the matter is far more common (certainly in my experience) than women who like an hour or more of the actual banging. I suspect there's more than a little... umm... shall we say self-delusion or wilful exaggerration going on with some of the guys here. Or maybe they're just really, I mean really bad at getting a woman off. :-)
posted by Decani at 12:32 PM on November 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking that some replies may still be considering the entire act of fucking/sex/lovemaking instead of just raw thrusting.

In my personal experience, it's about 20-30 minutes- that's start to finish, but that's without stopping or using any methods to extend myself. Unfortunately, I seem to be less sensitive, so that makes for the time.

I've never had a quickie. :-(
posted by id at 12:56 PM on November 20, 2005

I'm with tristeza and matildaben. 5-10 minutes is typical in my experience. If it seems to go on and on, it just gets annoying and I'd rather be doing something else. Also I start to wonder if something is wrong with me - am I not turning on the guy enough? What sort of fault am I guilty of? Am I all stretched out down there from having a kid? In other words, I start to feel like I'm not doing a good job if he's not getting there after 15-20 minutes. And just plain tired.

And in case this is pertinent: I'm heavily medicated so it's all about the guy achieving his climax, because I can't. :/
posted by beth at 2:08 PM on November 20, 2005

Yep, another girl here agreeing that 10-15 minutes is good. And frankly, I'm even happier with 5-10 minutes. After that I start to think about the book I'm reading.

Of course, this is usually at the end of an hour or so of foreplay and lots of teasing of him and general playing and several orgasms on my end.
posted by gaspode at 3:07 PM on November 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

Not only does it depend on whether or not the guy (and/or girl) is trying to prolong it, it depends on a number of other factors, such as (in my experience, anyway): how old you are, how new you are to sex, how new you are to sex with this particular person, how attracted you are to this particular person to begin with, how much foreplay there was before you started, and how long it's been since your last orgasm. Since those conditions as a whole are not likely to remain constant, it's difficult to call any length of time 'typical.' There are many ways to make it last a lot longer than it would otherwise, but as others have said above, that is not always perceived as a sign of virility and stamina.
posted by bingo at 3:57 PM on November 20, 2005

"BINGO!" to everything bingo just said. In my experience (feel free to insert "how much experience?" joke here), there's just no way to say what's "typical" in terms of how long it takes to go from penetration to climax. I've had partners who lasted 2 thrusts, and I've had partners last 2 hours (or at least it seemed that way -- and no, that doesn't mean it was particularly great sex for lasting that long. "Oh for god's sake, just COME already!" I think I finally yelled. "I want to watch the playoffs!")
posted by scody at 4:43 PM on November 20, 2005

... unless the guy is on any number of medications which can make it go on for [what seems like] forever.
Do you have a list of these medications?
posted by dg at 6:42 PM on November 20, 2005

I see that no one has mentioned whether or not a condom is involved...that makes a tremendous difference in time.
posted by TeamBilly at 9:10 AM on November 21, 2005

Longer than she thinks; shorter than you think.

(Bingo, Bingo).
posted by klangklangston at 9:28 AM on November 21, 2005

Using your preference for describing actual time of penetration:

I consider a quickie to be in the 10 minute range. This usually involves only one position. Typical love making falls around the 20 minute range. This usually involves at least two positions. Getting freaky takes around 30 minutes and involves all kinds of positions as the situation demands. Rare occasions call for marathon sessions but this is always performed slow and sensually - not porno-style. Anything beyond a half hour can have a tendency to backfire because it may result in discomfort, boredom or overshooting the peak time for an orgasm.

/cues Barry White. lights the candles . . .
posted by quadog at 2:14 PM on November 21, 2005

I consider a quickie to be in the 10 minute range

Different strokes, and then some. Me? I consider a quickie to be when you're both so lust-crazed you can't get the clothes off without tearing and she's wet and you're hard in seconds flat and it's all hands and tongues and gasps and you slide in like butter off a hot knife and she nearly comes on the spot and you both buck and rut like fiends and come like a plane crash after less than a minute.

That's a fucking quickie. Try having to be 3,500 miles away from your partner for two months if you want to experience it.
posted by Decani at 10:04 AM on November 24, 2005

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