Satisfactory sexual intercourse for couples lasts from 3 to 13 minutes,
contrary to popular fantasy about the need for hours of sexual
activity, according to a survey of U.S. and Canadian sex therapists.
Penn State Erie researchers Eric Corty and Jenay Guardiani conducted
a survey of 50 full members of the Society for Sex Therapy and
Research, which include psychologists, physicians, social workers,
marriage/family therapists and nurses who have collectively seen
thousands of patients over several decades.
Thirty-four, or 68 percent, of the group responded and rated a range
of time amounts for sexual intercourse, from penetration of the vagina
by the penis until ejaculation, that they considered adequate,
desirable, too short and too long.
The average therapists' responses defined the ranges of intercourse
activity times: "adequate," from 3-7 minutes; "desirable," from 7-13
minutes; "too short" from 1-2 minutes; and "too long" from 10-30
"A man's or woman's interpretation of his or her sexual functioning
as well as the partner's relies on personal beliefs developed in part
from society's messages, formal and informal," the researchers said.
""Unfortunately, today's popular culture has reinforced stereotypes
about sexual activity. Many men and women seem to believe the fantasy
model of large penises, rock-hard erections and all-night-long
Past research has found that a large percentage of men and women, who responded, wanted sex to last 30 minutes or longer.
"This seems a situation ripe for disappointment and
dissatisfaction," said lead author Eric Corty, associate professor of
psychology. "With this survey, we hope to dispel such fantasies and
encourage men and women with realistic data about acceptable sexual
intercourse, thus preventing sexual disappointments and dysfunctions."
Corty and Guardiani, then-undergraduate student and now a University
graduate, are publishing their findings in the May issue of the Journal
of Sexual Medicine, but the article is currently available online.
The survey's research also has implications for treatment of people with existing sexual problems.
"If a patient is concerned about how long intercourse should last,
these data can help shift the patient away from a concern about
physical disorders and to be initially treated with counseling, instead
of medicine," Corty noted.
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