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3 to 7 minutes of sex is normal for men-studies reviews

There have been many debates on whether two minutes of penetrative sex amounts to premature ejaculation in men.

The airwaves further worsen this case for men with sex programs aiming to paint a negative picture that men who ejaculate within two are not men enough. This has led to most men opting for aphrodisiacs and many other concoctions which could have a long-term effect on their health.

There has been anecdotal evidence of some women who publicly insult their men partly because they considered them two minutes men. Harry Fisch, author of the new book The New Naked: The Ultimate Sex Education for Grown-Ups, reports that “an astonishing 45 percent of men finish the sex act too quickly.”

This article examines the scientific perspective of how long men should engage in penetrative sex.

McDermott, R(2018) held the view that women’s perceptions on how long their men should last or Premature ejaculation: may not be coming from their men but how the women choose to prioritize a very limited aspect of their sex life. 

For instance, I have also found that sex with a new person is exciting and nerve-racking and a host of other feelings and sensations that might make them orgasm quickly. So most often, when you’ve been with someone for a while and you both become more comfortable and familiar with each other’s bodies and your sexual responses, sex can last longer. But “longer” is a relative term.

McDermott, R(2018) further explained that Premature ejaculation is a difficult thing to diagnose, and is hugely subjective.

For instance, the man himself is the best person to diagnose himself as is based on the man feeling unhappy with how quickly he ejaculates, but this itself is based on the assumption that there’s an ideal amount of time a man should last before ejaculating – and many men overestimate how long other men last.

How long should sex last?

From studies,  sex has no time restrictions attached to it.  Few studies have explored what experts consider a “normal” sex duration, but no numbers attached.  

However, it appears short duration of sex affects men’s self-esteem due to what women tell them.  In a piece on, Harry Fisch, author of the new book The New Naked: The Ultimate Sex Education for Grown-Ups, reports that “an astonishing 45 percent of men finish the sex act too quickly.” How quickly? Within two minutes, according to Fisch.

Alfred Kinsey, research in the 1940s and 1950s concluded that three-quarters of men usually ejaculated within two minutes. Another study(Miller and Byers, 2004) interviewed 152 different couples on their “actual and desired duration of foreplay and intercourse.”

Their subjects spanned a wide range of ages—21 to 77 years old—and relationship types—from 6-month to 50-year partnerships. Miller and Byers found that men reported a much longer ideal duration than did their partners. 

Though sex researchers such as Fisch also held the view that  two minutes is “way too speedy for the average woman to be able to have an orgasm through vaginal penetration alone.”  

Others did not find the link. In a 1951 paper in the Journal of Psychology, “Correlates of orgasm adequacy in a group of 556 wives,” psychologist Lewis Terman found no significant correlation between intercourse duration and female “orgasm adequacy.”   

Another (Levitt, E.E, 1983) study found young adult male orgasm expectancy to be in the range of 2-3 minutes. Weiss and Brody’s (2009) surveys with 2,360 Czech women, found that women’s chance of having an orgasm was much more highly correlated with the duration of sex than with foreplay.

An old study ( Corty and Guardiani, 2005) examined the opinion of expert sex therapists as to what are “adequate,” “desirable,” “too short,” and “too long” intravaginal ejaculatory latencies.  A random sample of members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research in the United States and Canada was surveyed. They found that the interquartile range for the sex therapists’ opinions regarding an “adequate” length for ejaculatory latency was from 3 to 7 minutes; “desirable” from 7 to 13 minutes; “too short” from 1 to 2 minutes; “too long” from 10 to 30 minutes.

The authors concluded that the average sex therapist believes that intercourse that lasts 3 to 13 minutes is normative and not prima facie worthy of clinical concern.

In this study as well, Sex was considered completed at the point of penile ejaculation and not from the point of the woman reaching orgasm well.

The duration of sex also depends on the partners in question. What partners “should” be doing matters too. For instance,  one study(Nakajima et al. 2010) surveyed 300 Japanese married couples and found that female participants wanted penile-vaginal intercourse to last 15 minutes — longer than sex therapists consider typical! They concluded that female subjects may consider a wide variety of intravaginal insertion times to be desirable. Accordingly, married couples need to improve communication regarding the desired duration of intromission and other related issues.

 In a recent study(Shaeer et al. 2020) of 230 women, 62 percent said vaginal sex was their most reliable route to orgasm, 48 percent said they relied on external stimulation from a partner, and 37 percent said they got the job done themselves. This means both couples should involve themselves in achieving orgasm.

A previous study(Smith et al. 2012)  of 8,656 people,  found that those whose sex sessions included a wider variety of activities (intercourse, kissing, cuddling, stroking, and oral sex) reported longer durations of sex.  Another study held the view that couples who vibe together improve their sex lives ( Blair and Pukall, 2014). They argued that to better understand the nature of a specific couple’s sexual relationship, it is important to examine not just sexual frequency, but also the amount of time spent on individual sexual encounters.

An earlier study (Schmiedeberg and Schröder, 2016) examined over 2,000 partners and found positive development of sexual satisfaction in the first year of a relationship, followed by a steady decline.  They also found that health status, intimacy in couple communication, and conflict style, as expected to affect this. In contrast to past research, however, cohabitation and marriage were not found to play a role in sexual satisfaction in their study.

This means that what constitutes sex is truly subjective and how long it should last is up to you. What’s important is that you ask for and receive the type of sex that you want, not what someone else says is normal.

Men should also note that many factors could affect their sex lives. For instance, (Beutel et al. 2007) study of 2,341 found that people ranging in age from 18 to 93 found libido decreased with age. Men reported more frequent and stronger sexual desires than women. Also, another study(Brody and Weiss, 2010) believed women reaching orgasm depends on the kind of sex education they received growing up and not merely on clitorial orgasm.

Take Home

  • Some sex therapists say 3 to 7 minutes is an “adequate” amount of time for sex to last, while 7 to 13 minutes is considered “desirable.”
  • Sex isn’t limited to P-in-V intercourse — it can include a variety of activities and can last as long as you want!
  • A lot of factors contribute to sex duration, including age, hormone levels, and health conditions.
  • Location, location! A change of space (or timing) can be key for a quickie.
  • Foreplay is your friend for marathon sex.
  • Try orgasm control or the squeeze technique if you want longer sex.
  • Pregnancy shouldn’t affect your duration of sex, but you might prefer certain positions for comfort.

So inclusion, the fact is that during penetrative sex, on average, most men last between three and eight minutes before ejaculating. This means that the average time a man lasts varies significantly while still being considered average, and that most men aren’t putting in an hour-long performance (and shouldn’t be expected to.). So these misconceptions around the length of times a man “should” last, is wrong.  Also, what is considered as “premature ejaculation” depends on many factors. 

It has to be based on men’s dissatisfaction with their performance and the impact it has on their life and women should know this.  So the tag of two minutes on men by women is akin to diagnosis based on women’s standards, expectations, and enjoyment – not men’s. It’s akin to seeing someone be quiet and low-key and deciding they have depression because you prefer to be more sociable, even though they could be perfectly happy, says McDermott, R(2018).


Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups.  My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.

The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, President, of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation. E-mail:


  1. Corty EW, and Guardiani JM. Canadian and American sex therapists’ perceptions of normal and abnormal ejaculatory latencies: How long should intercourse last?
  2. Nakajima K, Nagao K, Tai T, Kobayashi H, Hara H, Miura K, Ishii N. Duration of sexual intercourse related to satisfaction: survey of Japanese married couples. Reprod Med Biol. 2010 Apr 8;9(3):139-144. doi: 10.1007/s12522-010-0049-2. PMID: 29699336; PMCID: PMC5904652.
  3. Shaeer O, Skakke D, Giraldi A, et al. Female Orgasm and Overall Sexual Function and Habits: A Descriptive Study of a Cohort of U.S. Women. J Sex Med 2020;17:1133–1143.
  4. Smith AM, Patrick K, Heywood W, Pitts MK, Richters J, Shelley JM, Simpson JM, Ryall R. Sexual practices and the duration of last heterosexual encounter: findings from the Australian longitudinal study of health and relationships. J Sex Res. 2012;49(5):487-94. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2011.598247. Epub 2011 Jul 28. PMID: 21797717.
  5. Karen L. Blair and Caroline F. Pukall(2014)can less be more? Comparing duration vs. frequency of sexual encounters in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality > List of Issues > Vol. 23, No. 2 > DOI: 10.3138/cjhs.2393
  6. Manfred E. Beutel, Yve Stöbel-Richter, Elmar Brähler(2007) Sexual desire and sexual activity of men and women across their lifespans: results from a representative German community survey.
  7. Brody S, and Weiss P(2010). Vaginal orgasm is associated with vaginal (not clitoral) sex education, focusing mental attention on vaginal sensations, intercourse duration, and a preference for a longer penis. Women’s Sexual Health. DOI:
  8. Miller SA, Byers ES. Actual and desired duration of foreplay and intercourse: discordance and misperceptions within heterosexual couples. J Sex Res. 2004 Aug;41(3):301-9. doi: 10.1080/00224490409552237. PMID: 15497058
  9. Weiss P, Brody S. Women’s partnered orgasm consistency is associated with greater duration of penile-vaginal intercourse but not of foreplay. J Sex Med. 2009 Jan;6(1):135-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01041.x. PMID: 19170844.
  10. Levitt EE. Estimating the duration of sexual behavior: a laboratory analog study. Arch Sex Behav. 1983 Aug;12(4):329-35. doi: 10.1007/BF01542193. PMID: 6639328.

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