How Long Sex Lasts Around The World

If you've ever asked yourself how long should sex last?, you're not alone. Many of us have complained about sex being too short or too long, but is there an ideal length? Or even a "normal" one? That's what new research aimed to find out — for heterosexual couples, at least.

While sex can be a hell of a lot more than intercourse, a new study defined the length of sex as when the penis goes into the vagina to when male orgasm. Basically, how long a male partner is inside of a female partner, right? Dr. Brendan Zietsch, a psychologist from the University of Queensland, who authored the study wrote: "I know there’s a lot more to sex than putting the penis into the vagina and ejaculating, but the rest is not always easy to define (Kissing? Rubbing? Grinding?). To keep things simple and specific, we’ll just focus on the time to ejaculation."

But let's break that down for a second. According to this assessment, my girlfriend and I have never had sex, which would be news to my downstairs neighbors (sorry guys, you've heard some things...).

So I think there's a big problem with this assumption, obviously. But if we are going to go by this measure, what do we find? Well, there's not really a normal. The information gathered from 500 couples ranged from 33 seconds to 44 minutes. So... a huge range. A ridiculous range. From how long a Pitbull's part of "Timber" is to how long Pitbull's part of "Timber" feels.

So it's all over the place. But the average length of sex? 5.4 minutes.

What affected (or didn't affect) how long sex lasts? The results were interesting:

1. Circumcision And Condoms

While it seemed like these might be a factor, according to Medical Daily "condom use and circumcision did not affect duration in the bedroom". So no excuses not to be safe.

2. Being From Turkey

The results were sampled from around the world and country of origin didn't make a difference unless you were from Turkey. Then the average dropped to 3.7 minutes. Maybe they're just a more efficient people.

3. Age

The older the couple, the shorter the sex, according to the research.


Is there a biological reason why sex lasts as long as it does? As sex obviously serves a reproductive purpose, does it aid reproduction. According to Medical Daily:

Zietsch suspects penis shape could affect sex duration in bed. In a 2003 study, using artificial vaginas, artificial penises, and artificial sperm (corn syrup), researchers found the ridge around the head of the penis is able to scoop out pre-existing syrup from the vagina. In other words, the repeated thrusting men do during sex could function to displace other men’s semen, before they ejaculate. This ensures their swimmers will have a better chance at reaching the egg first for fertilization.

Incidentally, this could explain why it becomes painful for a man to continue thrusting after ejaculating, since that would risk scooping out his own semen as well,” writes Zietsch.

So the penis shape and the duration may be working together to aid fertilization. And now you've had word "syrup" used to discuss something in your vagina. That's comforting. Your vagina is a reproductive pancake.

What Does It Mean For You?

With a range so large, what does it mean for you as a couple? Should the five minute average session affect your sex life in anyway? The experts say, not too much. "Instead of comparing yourself to a study or amount of time, aim for mutual satisfaction as part of the journey," Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of tells Bustle, "After he ejaculates, if you want to feel more pleasure there's lots of things he can do to get you off. If not, take matters into your own hands and take care of business yourself."

Amen to that. What means more than any stop watch is that you're both satisfied— whatever that means for you. Plus, time flies when you're having fun.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our video on sex positions to help him last longer:

Images: Fotolia; Giphy (3)