How long is too long?

I am referring to how long penetration should optimally last. Many women I see at the Center have pain with intercourse. Pain during intercourse can come from many things: dryness, low hormone levels, vaginismus and/or vulvodynia. Sometimes pain is simply the result of intercourse lasting too long. So when I see a patient who is suffering from pain from penetration I always ask her, “How long is intercourse lasting?” Women seem to be shy when answering this question. Often, if they say 20 or 30 minutes, we say, “What?! That is a long time.”

If you are someone who suffers from pain with intercourse you have to figure out what the cause is. Most women do not like long periods of penetration though they feel they should. Just like the myths about women easily having orgasms from intercourse, myths about duration of intercourse also persist.

An article published in 2008 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, titled, “Canadian and American sex therapists’ perceptions of normal and abnormal ejaculatory latencies: how long should intercourse last?” by Corty and Guardini said anything between 3 and 13 minutes is normal. I agree! Men and women find so many reasons to feel bad about themselves. Now that the word is out that anything between 3 and 13 minutes is normal, maybe everyone can relax. The point is to have satisfying pain free sex, and not to be concerned with how long or short it is.

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