Columns / Discourse / April 16, 2008

Sexiled: Average length for the rest of us

Google “average length of sex” and you’ll get self-reports of men who last for hours — in fact, they’d probably last all day if they didn’t have to break for lunch! (Psh, who needs to eat? Seriously guys).

Well, I guess they must know something the rest of us don’t — a new study printed in the Journal of Sexual Medicine involving 1,500 people found that the average length of penetrative sex with a man is just 7.3 minutes.

This is a good number, according to sex therapists across the US and Canada, who rate sex that lasts between three and 13 minutes (not including foreplay) as optimal.

Which makes sense. I mean, who wants to be having sex for three hours? I’d think things would start to get painful.

The sex therapists also deemed sex that lasts under three minutes as “too short”, although it really depends on the couple. If both people are satisfied, then there’s nothing to worry about.

If it is a problem, men shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that they need Viagra. Another study found that the average man comes after two and a half minutes of constant penetrative sex or masturbation, so perhaps men who come before three minutes simply need to slow it down a little.

The average time it takes most women to come is 12 minutes — although it varies heavily.

Despite the difference, foreplay can — and should be — the great equalizer.

Unfortunately I haven’t found any statistics about how long the average session of foreplay lasts, but here’s some other “averages” about sex that scientists have discovered.

Average penis size: five and a half inches

Average bra size: 34 B

Average age (in US) to start having sex: 16.9 for men, 17.4 for women.

Average method of birth control used: The Pill, which 30.6 percent of women ages 15-44 are on.

Average number of times people age 18-29 have sex per year: 112 (after that it’s all downhill. Sorry professors!)

(Sources:,, The Kinsey Institute, Wikipedia.)

In other news….

A reader let me know that she received the HPV vaccine shots for a very low cost at a Prompt Care center in St. Louis. Although the Galesburg prompt care doesn’t do this, those interested might want to try the Prompt Care’s in their own home towns.

Also, the end of the world has come, apparently. now has it’s own sex column! Its current topic? “Pregnant women have the best sex”.

Christy Reuter

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