How long do you think sex should last? The last time you had sex, how long did it last? 

Truth is, I’ve lost count of the number of times that people have asked me this question. I mean, I understand the fuss over the duration of sex because I have been in situations where the sex was either too short or too long. If you are reading this and you’ve had a very active sex life, you might relate to what I just said. 

In heterosexual situations, when we talk about the duration of sex, the focus is on penetrative sex/sexual intercourse (penis in vagina). It doesn’t include foreplay, and it is so because, once the penis enters the vagina, it could take seconds, minutes, or hours before the man ejaculates which could mean game over for penetration or a long pause because they need time to get hard again. 

The refractory period = the recovery phase after an orgasm where an individual might be irresponsive to sexual stimulation. Men tend to stay soft for some time before they can get hard again. 

The refractory period can last seconds, minutes, or hours and unfortunately, some men aren’t able to get hard after ejaculating once in a day/session. Hence, it puts so much pressure on them to delay ejaculation or last long enough to please/impress their partners before they cum/ejaculate.

As a matter of fact, even though people don’t understand the fuss over how long sex should last, there is a normal/healthy duration of sexual intercourse (just penetration) and there is an abnormal duration. Ejaculating too soon during sexual intercourse can be a sign of premature ejaculation (sexual dysfunction) and taking too long to ejaculate during sexual intercourse can be a sign of delayed ejaculation(sexual dysfunction). It is main the reason why the duration of sex matters in several cases. 

Additionally, it is important to note that the duration of sex for men varies with age. Hence, you need to know what’s normal for your age and what’s abnormal. 

This article isn’t for men only. It’s for women who have sex with men too! 

Keep reading! 


  • 18 – 20 years = 6.5 minutes 
  • 32 – 50 years = 5.4 minutes 
  • Above 50 years = 4.3 minutes


  • Less than 3 minutes = TOO SHORT (NOT OKAY)
  • 3 – 7 minutes = OKAY 
  • 7 – 13 minutes = Desirable or Ideal (MORE THAN OKAY)
  • 13 – 30 minutes = LONG (OKAY… It can be fun)
  • More than 30 minutes = TOO LONG (NOT OKAY)

WHEN SEX IS TOO SHORT (Less than 3 minutes)

Ejaculating too soon during penetrative sex is a common issue faced by sexually active men/couples. The only way sex that lasts this short can be ‘okay’ for both partners is if there’s so much foreplay and the woman is able to attain sexual satisfaction before penetration. If you ejaculate in less than 3 minutes (not always), concentrate on kissing, making love to their entire body, nipple stimulating, back kisses, butt rubs, spanking, fingering, rubbing the clit, using sex toys, and giving head. Doing all that before penetration can result in the woman getting an orgasm/orgasms and sexual satisfaction before the penis enters the vagina. It makes it easier to not complain about the sex being too short when you(the man) ejaculates in less than 3 minutes. 

Secondly, if it happens in the first round or during first-time sex with somebody, you need not worry much. You only need to be confident in the fact that you can last longer in the second round. Unless you have a problem, men tend to last longer in the subsequent rounds of sexual intercourse.

Here are some factors that can make you ejaculate in less than 3 minutes:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Relationship issues 
  3. Stress
  4. Sex drought 
  5. Ill-health 

When Should You Worry? 

If you’ve always ejaculated in less than 1 minute during sex and/or masturbation, you have a problem. It is called LIFELONG PREMATURE EJACULATION. You will have to see a urologist for some tests and to discuss treatment. 

If previously you used to last longer than 3 minutes during sex and/or masturbation and suddenly, you start to ejaculate in less than 3 minutes every time you have sex and it happens consistently for 6 months, you need to see a urologist because that is the basis for the diagnosis of ACQUIRED PREMATURE EJACULATION. 

WHEN SEX IS OKAY (3 to 7 minutes) 

When we say penetrative sex that lasts between 3 to 7 minutes is okay, it means that the man doesn’t have a problem and sex can be considered good if the right things are done. It means both partners should be pleased, there should be enough foreplay, and orgasms should be evenly distributed. If this is how long you last every time you have sex, you can always find ways to make it fun and make it last longer (when sex is pleasurable, you’d wish for it to last forever). Do more foreplay, pause penetrative sex and do foreplay (give head, finger, kiss, touch, suck and lick), go back to penetrative sex, and do more of the things your partner loves (while they do more of the things you love) until you feel like it’s time to let yourself go and ejaculate. Remember, you can always go another round but make each round count! 


I won’t complain if good sex lasts between 7 to 13 minutes. The last time I had sex, it lasted a little over 11 minutes and it was fun because I was so wet and aroused, and I’d gotten like 3 orgasms before he penetrated my vagina. It was so good and I kept wanting more and when he finally came, I was GOOD. 

The thing is, even though 7 to 13 minutes is ideal, you need to work to please your partner to make it fun. You can always go another round and get more if you want more. You need to do lots of foreplay and focus on doing the things that please your partner to keep her wet throughout the session. Invest in lubricants too!

WHEN SEX IS LONG (13 – 30 minutes)

On a normal day for couples, lots of people might say 13 – 30 minutes of penetrative sex is too long. I mean, sometimes, you might not have so much time on your hands for sex to last that long. In cases where you have the time and you are just trying to have a good time, sex lasting between 13-30 minutes can be fun. I mean, when everything is done right, head is given for so long, you kiss, finger, spank, eat ass, rub on the clit, rub on the entire body, kiss the entire body, talk, and just do everything that makes your partner more aroused, you can go hours and not get tired. 

I would want sex to last this long sometimes. I would want it on weekends and on weekdays when I am violently horny and I just can’t enough. How about you? 

WHEN SEX IS TOO LONG (Over 30 minutes)

Penetrative sex that lasts over 30 minutes is too long on a normal day. If you are having a sex marathon and you both deliberately want to go hours, this can be ideal. Then again, when you are just trying to get a nut, going over 30 minutes can become tiresome at a point. I mean, it’s just the penis in the vagina and even if your partner gets orgasms, at a point, she might dry up because she’s tired. 

It’s also important to note that, if a man always ejaculates after 30 minutes during penetrative sex and it happens consistently for over 6 months, he might have a problem that he needs treatment for. DELAYED EJACULATION isn’t fun! In some cases, some men don’t cum at all. They just keep going and going and sometimes, they fake an orgasm when they realize their partner is worn out or when they get too tired of working towards an orgasm that keeps eluding them. 


The above durations of sex are only about a round. You can always have more rounds of sex if both partners are up for it. Even with that, always work on making every round (from the first to the last) count. Sometimes, one round is enough because both partners put in work in pleasing and giving sexual satisfaction. I mean, once you have sexual satisfaction, you really don’t feel the need to keep going. Sometimes, you might be too worn out to want another round. 


Do you have any questions? Ask in the comments. Do you have a story to share or comments? Just type it in the comments or send me a live chat (the red and white circle on the bottom right of your screen). 

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Ami Shikah is a Certified Sex Coach, clinical sexologist, and radio personality with an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Management. She loves anything and everything sex as long as it is consensual, pleasurable and free of any form of discrimination, harm or violence. On this blog, her aim is to promote sexual literacy, provide a source of arousal, and promote sexual wellness. If you need to talk to a sex professional about your sexual concerns or issues, she is the one to talk to. She can help you solve your sexual problems. She will help you have the most amazing sexual experiences and live the sex life of your dreams. Sex is a basic need and a natural part of who we are as human beings. Exercise your right to sexual pleasure today! Email her at amishikah@gmail.com for a complimentary sex coaching session.


  1. this blog does not get the traffic it deserves. Every post is a gem. I think I have lifelong premature ejaculation. Once she gets into a certain position (cowgirl), and she rides me a certain way, i can finish in less than a minute unless I ask her to slow down or get off entirely. I don't know how to fix it.

    • Thank you for the compliment. About your situation, what happens with other positions? Do you ejaculate in less than 1 minute or it takes longer?

  2. So I realised that any time I do missionary I bust quickly, but if she rides me, she cums before me.
    What's the deal with that?

    • Hello N,

      Every sexually active person has a specific thing or position that makes them get orgasms easily. For some men it’s cowgirl and some others it’s missionary. It’s great that you know yours and it’s great that your partner knows hers. What you have to do is to do more of other positions that make you last longer when you are trying to have a long session. And switch to missionary when you want to have a orgasm soon enough. It can be a great way to control when you ejaculate during sex. So make the most use of it!

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