Dear Dr. G,

I am hoping you can address my query regarding duration of sex, as I am rather bothered by my own issues of prolonged timing in my sexual experience.

I am a chap in my late 20s who started having sex when I was 21. Since my first sexual encounter, I always take pride in my ability to last longer than most men in bed. Needless to say, I have been the admiration and inspiration for most of my friends, especially the ones who are “short-changed” in the timing between the sheets.

In recent years, the duration of sex is increasingly long, and sex can take as long as 30 minutes. In fact, on several occasions, I was finding it difficult to ejaculate as my stamina had run out beyond half an hour.

My girlfriend, who was initially satisfied, is getting a bit frustrated. She thinks such “marathon run” is abnormal. She read somewhere this is called delayed or retard ejaculation. This week, I would like to put Dr. G on the spot about the optimal duration of sex.

What is the average timing of penetration to ejaculation for most men?

What is that desirable sweet spot for couples when the partners are pleased and the guys are not running out of breath?

What if I do suffer from prolonged interval to reach climax?

What would be the causes?

Can my marathon run be curable? Please help.

Yours truly,
Marathon Mark

Most man can reach orgasm during sexual intercourse within a few minutes of active thrusting. Although there are plenty of urban myths, misunderstanding and expectations of the optimal duration of intercourse, the timing remains one of the yardsticks to measure the success in the sack. In the scientific viewpoint, the duration of intercourse has been widely examined for both masturbation and vaginal sex.

Most studies demonstrated nearly 90% of sexual encounters, from the point of penetration to ejaculation, last from one to 10 minutes. In recent years, more high tech app that measures sexual activities even released the findings from the big data amongst different demographics. The studies recorded average sex lasted for one and a half minutes in Alaska, while this can be as high as seven minutes in New Mexico.

For the quest for the sweet spot of the most desirable timing of intercourse, Penn State University surveyed 50 Americana and Canadian Sex therapists in 2010. In this publication, most therapists agree three to seven minutes is “adequate” and seven to 13 minutes regarded as “desirable”. Most also agree duration of 30 minutes was too long and can potentially be regarded as delayed ejaculation.

Delayed ejaculation is generally defined as persistent inability or difficulty in men to achieve orgasm, despite sustained sexual stimulation. It is estimated up to 8% of men reported such sexual dysfunction. Although such ability may be admirable for most, but the sufferers of delayed ejaculation report frustration, anxiety and sexual dissatisfaction.

Most causes of delayed ejaculation are psychological, but some organic reasons such as aging, anti-depressants and diabetes may also be responsible. Some psychological factors such as negative sexual upbringing, history of sexual abuse or even the guilt of embracing the pleasure of sex are identified. In fact, some experts even associate delayed ejaculation with certain masturbatory techniques. Apparently, excess pressure and grip of masturbation can be more erogenous than sex with a real partner, rendering the ability to climax diminished amongst sufferers.

The definitive therapy for men with delayed ejaculation is teaching men techniques to enhance the experience of having orgasm through penetrative intercourse. Some medications are also recognised to facilitate achieving orgasm. These may include cyproheotadine (Allergy Medication), Amantadine (Anti-Parkinson’s) and buspirone (anti-anxiety). However, the long-term efficacy of these treatments for delayed ejaculation is not certain.

The retired Ethiopian long distance running athlete, Halle Gebrselassie, who won two Olympic Gold Medals once said: “When you run a marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners, and not against time.” When it comes to the duration of penetrative intercourse, although the timing of sex is often used as the barometer of performance success for men between the sheets, there is no real hard data to correlate the duration of sex with partner satisfaction.

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