How long does the average man last in bed?

A couple weeks ago, I ran across a research paper that inadvertently answered one of those awkward questions that so few people get the chance to talk about: How long does the average man last in bed? I was particularly interested in this study because men’s prowess in the bedroom is often exaggerated, and this study provided an opportunity to shed some light on the truth. The study is (sadly) locked behind a paywall, so I’ll do my best to reproduce the results here.

You see, these researchers were actually studying premature ejaculation. To do so, they recruited about 500 random heterosexual couples from The Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the US and asked them to track the duration of their sexual encounters using a timer and diary. The researchers asked the couples to start the timer as soon as vaginal penetration occurred, and stop the timer as soon as the man ejaculated. Quite romantic, as you might imagine.

After 4 weeks of stop watches and sex diaries, the researchers followed up with the couples to collect the diaries and ask them various demographic questions. Below, I’ve plotted the distribution of how long each man lasted before orgasming (averaged over all his encounters).

average-ielt-distribution

To provide a more succinct view of the data, I also created a box plot to summarize the distribution:

average-ielt-boxplot

The average (median) time before orgasm was about 6 minutes, and ranged from a blissful 6 seconds to a marathon-paced 53 minutes. The majority of men lasted between 4 to 11 minutes, with anyone lasting longer than 21 minutes being considered an outlier.

What I found particularly interesting about this study was the men’s tendency to overestimate the duration of their sexual encounters: According to the authors, the men’s estimates averaged about 1.9 minutes longer than they really were—about a 31% overestimation over the 6-minute average—which really highlights our tendency to overestimate our performance in the bedroom.

So, there we have it. Our collective fascination with hours-long romps in the bedroom doesn’t really hold up in the data, and most couples are probably quite happy for it. Hopefully studies like this one will help us ground our expectations in reality, rather than trying to live up to fantasy.

If you’re interested in reading more about the study and don’t have institutional access, I hear that a certain science hub might have a copy laying around.

Dr. Randy Olson is a Senior Data Scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, where he develops state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms with a focus on biomedical applications.

Posted in data visualization Tagged with: ,
  • Robert Pierce

    Was there any difference between circumcised and uncircumsised men?

    • Not statistically significant, no.

      • Robert Pierce

        Interesting, Randy. Yet there are some who say an uncircumcised erect penis is far more sensitive during penetration.

        • From what I’ve read, that seems to be folklore that doesn’t hold up in the data. If you would believe some other research, though, there are quite a few health advantages of circumcision.

          • André

            What would the health advantages be to circumcision, is it still a good idea to have your kids circumcised?

            • I’m not a physician, so I won’t make recommendations on whether or not to do so. Here is one review/essay on the topic: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bies.20654/abstract

              … but I would strongly recommend that you consult your physician if this is something you’re trying to decide for your family.

            • Robert Pierce

              If you look at the history of circumcision, it all seems to stem mostly from religion, a ritual, especially in the Islamic and Judaic traditions. None of it seemed to point to health reasons which aren’t even mentioned in the old testament but merely as a covenant with God, nothing more. It’s even practisd in some indigenous non-Caucasian tribes around the world and not necessarily religious, more of a tribal tradition. For me personally, I find it comparable to female genital mutilation even if it’s less serious than the former but still incredibly primitive.

              • André

                Agreed, I was just wondering if there was any credible science that indicated that there were health benefits, so far I have not seen it.

              • The Dude

                I guess the religious practice had health reasons in their mind. Clean water and regular body hygiene wasn’t such a thing past then.

                • Regular body hygiene is actually a major thing in Islamic teachings.

                  • The Dude

                    That’s true. But what if you don’t have regular access to clean water? You try to do the best you can. It was meant in this context, they just didn’t always had that possibility.

            • saka

              wtf? genital mutilation is never a good idea

              • André

                It’s never a good idea unless there are significant health benefits, I haven’t done the research so I don’t know. The little I do know seems to indicate that, yes you are correct, genital mutilation is never a good idea. However the author seemed to indicate that there were health benefits, he definitely seems pro circumcision, so I asked him. I suspect it’s I’ll advised to give out medical advice when you are in a country prone to litigation, so I never received a satisfactory answer.

              • veronicablood
              • mutilation? if the only benefit is to make it look better then it’d be enough. In Japan they make sculptures of circumcised penises in their penis festival (it has another name I guess) for a presentable look.

                health benefit is logical, with uncircumcised you have extra skin folds you need to clean well to prevent fungus .

            • veronicablood
            • Shane Harvey

              There are risks associated with any form of invasive surgery, there are many cases of botched circumcisions and infections causing damage or loss of the penis. There are also dangerous myths that it can prevent STD’s resulting in a false sense of security. There are a few studies that suggest that circumcision can reduce STD’s but there are others that suggest the opposite. But most of the positive studies originate in countries where circumcision is a cultural or religious tradition so there’s bound to be some bias.

          • NDR_87

            What have you read? Sources if you don’t mind. From what I’ve read the above poster is correct. Here’s a source from my end: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17378847

          • Shane Harvey

            That may be true but nobody knows exactly what they are. Although my granny said it stops your Willy going wonky. Dad told me it puts hair on your chest, and Mum told to stop being disgusting.

        • veronicablood

          a circumcised erect penis is far less likely to contract disease, even HIV. http://www.catie.ca/en/fact-sheets/prevention/penile-circumcision-reduce-risk-hiv-infection

          • Chris Clark

            Jeez, how many times are you going to post the same damn link in the same conversation?

            • André

              I guess some people are just really invested in circumcised penises.

              • poppajay

                Virtually the whole of Europe would disgaree that circumcision is a biomedical imperative for the 21st century.

                The statement that “Most women prefer the circumcised penis for appearance, hygiene and sex.” is a complete crock and clearly pandering to the male ego to get them to believe this study.

                If you ask European women the same question then the answer will be very different.

                It’d be the same as asking Americans if they thought coffee or tea was the better hot drink and then using the results to tell the English that they have it wrong and they should like coffee more. Complete nonsense.

                Bottom line, circumcision is an unnecessary tribal custom that causes pain and injury and permanently removes a part of a person without their consent and should be illegal.

              • Shane Harvey

                Yep, you must get quite a return on investment.

              • Aylestone

                Haha @veronicablood:disqus is super invested, hopefully he’ll post that link again in reply…

        • Zico

          Mostly circumcised populations – Muslims, Jews, Americans. Most militant populations these days – go figure. Just light humor folks.

      • Az

        Guess you could say that their PP-value was >0.05, therefore not sextistually significant and fail to reject the null hypothesis as they were not within the 95% Circumcised-Interval .

        • Eric VonCannon

          “PP-value” lmao

    • Az

      I guess you could say that their PP-value was >0.05, therefore not sextistually significant and fail to reject the null hypothesis as they were not within the 95% Circumcised-Interval.

  • HeathereC

    Hi Randy, Question about your comment “most couples are probably quite happy for it”… Did the survey measure satisfaction as well?

    • Only whether they were “discontent with their latency,” but not whether they were content with their sex life as a whole. They found that those who were “discontent with their latency” had a shorter ejaculation latency on average.

  • Fred_Evil

    I’m FINALLY an outlier!

    • Lewis Niven

      Me too man, 6-second club high five!

      • André

        6-seconds is almost as impressive as the 53 minutes on the other side of the spectrum. I mean under 2 minutes is easy, under a minute sure can be done if you’re super turned on and never hit the brakes but 6 seconds? Regardless of what you’re partner might think that is a truly impressive performance, you couldn’t do that 3 times in a row.

        • 6-seconds are impressive? LOL. You’re obviously a dude.

          • André

            Well no I didn’t mean as a lover he was impressive, I meant the pure mechanics is impressive. If you have a 6 second fuse it’s impressive that you ever got laid, 90% of the time it had to go off in his pants, right?

          • Luke Brunswick

            You completely misunderstood what he just said… “Regardless of what your partner might think that is a truly impressive performance.” Regardless what your partner thinks, as in obviously 6 seconds isn’t the goal. Switch it around and have a woman orgasm in 6 seconds and that’d be impressive too.

          • asdfds

            What a stereotype-confirming comment.

            I’d say comments sections dwelled by people less intelligent than the average user here may prove less hard to interpret.

            • The fact that you think a comment section can “dwell” is proof that you are certainly much less intelligent than your average middle schooler.

        • I’m on the far end of the spectrum (not a brag – I don’t claim to be any good in bed but duration has never been an issue).
          My Ex once decided to see how fast she could get me off and did everything in her power to push every button I’ve got. I think she managed to finish me in about 20 seconds and was so proud of herself.
          When “aren’t you done yet?” has come up more than once in one’s life, being able to get off that quickly is actually a relief and a joy.

        • Tom610

          lol how is being under 2 minutes easy….?

          *awkward*

      • Fred_Evil

        Dude, I wish. The wife is always turning me down, because I take too long. It’s a curse…?

        • Pat MaCrotch

          Yup. If you are fast you get WAAAAAY more blow jobs. If you take long, you don’t get near as many blow jobs.

          • I’ve never in my life had a blowjob get me off. Closest I’ve been is a woman who gave me permission to get very aggressive and it was basically me screwing her mouth. While it did the job, that’s not how I like to do things.

            • Tom610

              Date a gay man. We know how to do it 1000% better than women.

        • Nope. I hear ya. Sometimes I just give up.

    • DesiLurker

      which direction?

  • Zara

    This data has no use without preliminar data.

  • Cal Gravatt

    “So there we have it,” as if it’s the last word. Not very Scientific sir!

  • Alexander Rideout

    I always knew I was above average in something.

  • Nick

    There’s so many variables that come into play here. how long was foreplay, what did it involve? how long have the couple known each other? have they had sex before? is the man currently taking any medications? is there a condom being used? Cool research question, although more research needs to be done and I suggest you use me as a subject of research!

    • Geoff Matthews

      Yeah, the question shouldn’t be “how long in bed?”, but “how long during intercourse?”

    • Pedro U. D. I. C. S. I. P.

      We need more variables! What did they have for dinner? Spicy foods? How many times did they do it, in the last 12 months? Is this the honeymoon phase? Is he trying to impress her? Is she trying to impress him? Is the television on? If so, what channel? What about penis size and vagina girth? Does he resemble Jeremy Clarkson? MORE VARIABLES, PLEASE!

  • ZioFascist

    #muhDick

  • Slippery_slope

    The biggest factor in sex is the state of the mind. If your goal is just to dive into the pond; then you won’t enjoy the swim for too long. But if your goal is putting your partner first and making sure she is happy i bet you you would know how time flew. Don’t fuck , make love only then would you be a God on the mattress.

    • Pat MaCrotch

      It also matters how much xanax and alcohol you ingested too. Xanax and alcohol are like instant go-hard. You last like a pimp. Problem is you wake up the next day and neither of you remembers what the fuck happened.

  • axe

    for most guys, is it really about how long you ‘last’? do you have such little control over your body? if you’re getting too close and you don’t want to come yet, then slow down. not rocket science.

    also, being less than 2 minutes off in your time estimate is probably actually pretty good, considering you spent that time having sex, as opposed to counting in your head. worry about the people who have sex and can tell you exactly how long it took.

    • Pat MaCrotch

      Yeah I didn’t get that part. Most people cannot estimate time in general. Guessing time in any scenario and be within 1 minute is impressive.

    • sp12345

      Ummm… it’s not that easy to just “slow down” and have more control. Sometimes you just really can’t help it, no matter what. You can’t help how much sensitivity you have, it’s just what you are born with basically. I’m lucky if I last a minute… it FUCKING SUCKS!!!!!!

  • Vincent Mellor

    It’s not the majority of data between 4 and 11 minutes as that is the inter quartile range which is the middle 50% of the data.

  • Adi

    6 minutes is too much of time for master-bation…

  • “Gone in 6 seconds” Lol

  • Mike Tamillow

    Nick has a point. There exists a bias in the lack of domain knowledge out of the data collectors. Notice they said ‘Heterosexual couples’ which means they are probably a bunch of married people who don’t really have the time or energy for sex, nor do they have to impress anyone. They should have recruited bachelors who need to perform under pressure. Or just measured gangbang times.

  • Sunil Singh
  • Mark

    definitely need to put age of man to time lenght.

  • San Rock

    I last around 1 hour but gets fuckin tired better sex if we gets cum within 30 minutes

  • Would be interesting to cross-examine this against age, ethnicity, and penis size.

  • Mountaineer

    I would think 6 minutes is pretty average for me. When I’m extremely horny, I’ve cum in under 30 seconds. However, once I get hard the second time, I can stay hard for as long as the woman and I want. After the third orgasm, I have no cum left, and have dry orgasms. The longest a session has ever stretched out was around two hours. By the end of that time, both of us were fucked raw, and it was too painful to continue until the next morning.

  • Ian Levinson

    Interesting… I would have to say it depends on the type of sex & how long it has been. My average “quickie” would be 6-8 min. My average “regular” is 12-15, with the long sessions 20 ish. is that to much info.. 🙂

  • JGioia

    Hi there, I know the thread is old but I figure this might be of interest to other men (and perhaps their partners) who experience rapid ejaculation. I’ve always been quick in bed. I’ve done my kegels, practised slow masturbation and all the other techniques suggested with zero effect really. So out of desperation I procured some Dapoxetine and it’s been a very interesting experience for me. I’ve been experimenting with doses between 30mg – 60mg and find the latter more effective. It works best on an empty stomach – which can present a few issues if one considers that most married couples probably have sex in the evening. So timing one’s dosage of dapoxetine in relation to dinner and then aiming for sex within the 1-3 hour window it allows for can be a little tricky. It took a couple of doses for me to dial in the timing and for me, 60mg taken around 2 hours before sex seems optimal. I last longer on it without a doubt – note that it does not anaesthetise one’s penis or deaden sensation, but it just gives you ‘breathing space’ – for a life long rapid ejaculator to be able to experience penetration for longer periods without constantly trying to hold back is pretty amazing.
    You may or may not already know How to get in online fast and easy. If you dont, the easiest thing to do is just search in Google for the keyword “GETDAP4PE”. Hope this helps!

  • Anthony Martino

    I can beat 53 minutes and I’m willing to prove it

  • Neal Volden

    I see it like a race. If you hear the starting gun go off and you slip and fall and i win the race it’s not my fault you don’t practice more often. It pays to be a winner.

  • Tom610

    Something has got to be wrong with that data. Either that or straight men are pathetic. lol My husband and I last way longer than 6 minutes. lol….