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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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31 Responses

  1. Hugo
    Hugo March 6, 2008 at 5:58 pm |

    IMHO, the degree to which 7 to 13 minutes could be considered a satisfying experience has a great deal to do with what preceded that particular period of time…

  2. SEK
    SEK March 6, 2008 at 5:59 pm |

    The bolded part isn’t quite correct:

    The US study is the first to review what experts believe is the ideal length of time to have penetrative sex, with the random sample of Americans and Canadians labeling 7 to 13 minutes most “desirable”.

    You see, when they say “review what experts believe,” they mean “review what experts believe.” From the abstract:

    A random sample of members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research in the United States and Canada was surveyed.

    That’s about as unrandom sample of Americans and Canadians you could ever hope to find. I mean, they might as well poll English grad students about how many hours a day they read and produce a study saying:

    The US study is the first to review what experts believe is the ideal length of time to read daily, with the random sample of Americans and Canadians labeling 7 to 13 hours most “desirable.”

    Also, the conclusion is a stunning example of confirmation bias:

    Therapists’ beliefs about ejaculatory latencies were consistent with objective data on ejaculatory latency and were not affected by therapist demographic characteristics such as sex or experience.

    Translation:

    We believe that what we believe is the correct belief, as this study we conducted on ourselves proves.

    Gah.

  3. km
    km March 6, 2008 at 6:00 pm |

    I don’t think the study is trying to define sex or suggest that other activities aren’t good and part of a normal sex life. Rather, I’d guess that since it’s the first study of its kind, the authors wanted to start with a more manageable topic. Including multiple activities might have made the results more difficult to interpret. And even though most people’s sex lives encompass much more, PIV is still probably the most common sexual activity, making it a reasonable starting point for this area of research.

  4. SEK
    SEK March 6, 2008 at 6:01 pm |

    [Delete the previous please. I know how to use tags. Really, I do.]

    The bolded part isn’t quite correct:

    The US study is the first to review what experts believe is the ideal length of time to have penetrative sex, with the random sample of Americans and Canadians labeling 7 to 13 minutes most “desirable”.

    You see, when they say “review what experts believe,” they mean “review what experts believe.” From the abstract:

    A random sample of members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research in the United States and Canada was surveyed.

    That’s about as unrandom sample of Americans and Canadians you could ever hope to find. I mean, they might as well poll English grad students about how many hours a day they read and produce a study saying:

    The US study is the first to review what experts believe is the ideal length of time to read daily, with the random sample of Americans and Canadians labeling 7 to 13 hours most “desirable.”

    Also, the conclusion is a stunning example of confirmation bias:

    Therapists’ beliefs about ejaculatory latencies were consistent with objective data on ejaculatory latency and were not affected by therapist demographic characteristics such as sex or experience.

    Translation:

    We believe that what we believe is the correct belief, as this study we conducted on ourselves proves.

    Gah.

  5. Holly
    Holly March 6, 2008 at 6:03 pm |

    Sadly, I think I remember reading somewhere that the average length of PIV penetrative intercourse is less than three minutes. And I wish I could also say that that’s because prior to that three minutes, there’s a far longer period of mind-shattering foreplay that results in the PIV part only needing a few minutes in order for both partners to be satisfied. Ahahahahahaahah that’s a hilarious thought, and by hilarious I mean depressing.

  6. zuzu
    zuzu March 6, 2008 at 6:05 pm |

    When I was young, and inexperienced, and hadn’t yet learned to speak up for myself, I had a fling with a man who was 14 years older. He’d never used a condom before he met me (though I *did* stand up for myself on that point). He put it on inside-out.

    Did I mention it was a lubed condom?

    FOUR HOURS, people. Four hours of wondering what the hell was going on and not having enough self-confidence to speak up.

  7. EG
    EG March 6, 2008 at 6:06 pm |

    I hear that, zuzu. You’re not the only one–maybe not that exact experience, but that dynamic, definitely.

    I actually…kind of like a shorter time. Some of us…chafe. Seriously. I have chafing issues if it goes on for a while.

  8. Holly
    Holly March 6, 2008 at 6:20 pm |

    Oh right, it was Kinsey. “A survey by Alfred Kinsey in the 1950s demonstrated that three quarters of men ejaculate within two minutes of penetration in over half of their sexual encounters.” So for heterosexual PIV intercourse, that means more than 38% are under two minutes, at least back then. But maybe things have gotten better? Hmm.

    That number also fits with what Wikipedia claims is the prevalence of “premature ejaculation” as a sexual problem, affecting between 25-40% of men and defined as “having an orgasm before your partner does more than 50% of the time.”

    This definition seems totally confusing to me, but maybe that’s just because I’m queer. I mean, unless you are really in sync and have lots of simultaneous orgasms, most of the time one person is going to have an orgasm before the other person, right? Is the order really that important? I understand it is if you are solely relying on penetrative sex involving a hard fleshy dick that goes flaccid. But there are like a kajillion other ways to get off with your partner besides that. Or you can just wait and have even more sex, which is always fun when you have some time to lie around in bed. What’s the big deal?

    Guys, especially younger guys, tend to orgasm quickly and easily and it seems like it would be easier to expand sexual repertoires and definitions of what good sex can include, rather than try to teach them all orgasm-control techniques that are aimed at having PIV last as long as humanly possible. (I don’t really know since I am more on the “takes a long time to get off” side, but trying to postpone and manage your bodily responses sounds rather mood-killing, from Wikipedia.) Some of those techqniues are all well and good (different positions! different rhythms! no need to rush!) but there’s so much more.

    Anyway, I think this nicely explains all the male anxiety in the study about sex not lasting long enough. I don’t get the fact that the women in the study said that shorter lengths were fine, unless they were just being nice (or having lots of terrible droningly-drawn-out bad sex) but honestly? I don’t think the male anxiety about “omg got to last longer” is helping anything except for profits of those silly “Mandelay” creams.

  9. Holly
    Holly March 6, 2008 at 6:22 pm |

    When I was young, and inexperienced, and hadn’t yet learned to speak up for myself, I had a fling with a man who was 14 years older. He’d never used a condom before he met me (though I *did* stand up for myself on that point). He put it on inside-out.

    Did I mention it was a lubed condom?

    Wait, what? They work differently inside out? I have no experience with this. But wait, don’t they not roll on correctly if you try to do it that way? The lube was on the inside, and that made it harder for him to get off? Why? I’d think more lubrication on the inside would make it easier for him, and more chafey for you.

  10. preying mantis
    preying mantis March 6, 2008 at 6:23 pm |

    “IMHO, the degree to which 7 to 13 minutes could be considered a satisfying experience has a great deal to do with what preceded that particular period of time…”

    Yeah, that’s usually enough for me if the session has been heavy on the oral/manual stimulation.

    Therapists’ beliefs about ejaculatory latencies were consistent with objective data on ejaculatory latency and were not affected by therapist demographic characteristics such as sex or experience.

    Translation:

    We believe that what we believe is the correct belief, as this study we conducted on ourselves proves.

    I dunno about your translation of this. If the data is actually fairly objective, it might be more along the lines of “Of course we believe what’s in line with the agreed-upon fact. We’re not uneducated ninnies.”

    It’s like if you ask a dozen, say, otterologists why sea otters sometimes hold hands while resting in group territories. Even if two of them secretly believe it’s because the otters can feel love or are consciously trying to be cute or something like that, what they’re going to say is that it’s rafting behavior and decreases the risk of predation, territory incursion, etc. It’s like the opposite of the “It’s how I feel”/”It’s my opinion” argument.

  11. Sarah in Chicago
    Sarah in Chicago March 6, 2008 at 6:26 pm |

    Can I just mention I’m just happy I’m lesbian right now? ;)

  12. zuzu
    zuzu March 6, 2008 at 6:29 pm |

    Nobody likes a smug lesbian, SiC.

  13. zuzu
    zuzu March 6, 2008 at 6:37 pm |

    I mean, unless you are really in sync and have lots of simultaneous orgasms, most of the time one person is going to have an orgasm before the other person, right? Is the order really that important?

    It is to me. I like to have my orgasm *before* the penetration starts. That way, I’m relaxed and lubed up and everybody’s happy.

    But wait, don’t they not roll on correctly if you try to do it that way? The lube was on the inside, and that made it harder for him to get off? Why? I’d think more lubrication on the inside would make it easier for him, and more chafey for you.

    Oh, it was chafey, all right. But this was only the second guy I’d ever slept with, and since the first one was a one-off, I wasn’t really sure how things *should* work. And he’d never used a condom (this was the early 90s, when guys who were straight and older and who had maybe been married for a while prior to getting divorced and going back out on the market had no experience with the things). While I *did* know how to put one on, he didn’t, and he wanted to handle it himself.

    I think the lube just made things slippery and, because it was inside a condom which was sticking to me, he didn’t get any friction out of it.

    The whole thing was a fiasco. Did I mention that it was in a cheesy four-hour-rate no-tell motel with a waterbed and shag rug EVERYWHERE and mirrors on the ceiling, just because I wanted to see the inside of the place?

  14. Sarah in Chicago
    Sarah in Chicago March 6, 2008 at 6:45 pm |

    Nobody likes a smug lesbian, SiC.

    Smug zuzu? Who is smug? *grin*

  15. Holly
    Holly March 6, 2008 at 6:57 pm |

    It is to me. I like to have my orgasm *before* the penetration starts. That way, I’m relaxed and lubed up and everybody’s happy.

    That’s still easy though, right? That just means you want to have an orgasm before any penetration occurs, which makes perfect sense. Your partner could still have an orgasm even before that, via any number of other means. I guess I was just confused by “a man suffers from premature ejaculation if he ejaculates before his sex partner achieves orgasm in more than fifty percent of their sexual encounters.”

    I think the lube just made things slippery and, because it was inside a condom which was sticking to me, he didn’t get any friction out of it.

    The whole thing was a fiasco. Did I mention that it was in a cheesy four-hour-rate no-tell motel with a waterbed and shag rug EVERYWHERE and mirrors on the ceiling, just because I wanted to see the inside of the place?

    That’s a story for the Bad Sex Hall of Fame, for real.

  16. zuzu
    zuzu March 6, 2008 at 7:04 pm |

    I guess I was just confused by “a man suffers from premature ejaculation if he ejaculates before his sex partner achieves orgasm in more than fifty percent of their sexual encounters.”

    Yeah, I think they’re talking about PIV only. Which, no. If that were the only tool in the kit, I’d take a pass.

  17. Holly
    Holly March 6, 2008 at 7:08 pm |

    Yeah, is it just me or does that definition seem to imply that women are definitely going to orgasm from PIV intercourse as long as it goes on long enough? I thought that everyone (even teenagers who watch “sex tips” videos on Youtube) had learned that isn’t *necessarily* true of many or most women at this point. But then again, I guess that’s a definition from Masters & Johnson circa 1965.

  18. StarStorm
    StarStorm March 6, 2008 at 7:12 pm |

    You went to a no-tell motel just to see the inside? That, one thinks, is as good a reason as any.

    That was my first thought. My second was “how do you put on a condom on inside out?” Owwww.

  19. preying mantis
    preying mantis March 6, 2008 at 7:16 pm |

    “I guess I was just confused by “a man suffers from premature ejaculation if he ejaculates before his sex partner achieves orgasm in more than fifty percent of their sexual encounters.””

    I seem to recall something about the clinical rubric being a little more complicated (and precise) than that–like a “more than 50% faster than normal over 50% of the time” sort of thing.

  20. zuzu
    zuzu March 6, 2008 at 7:37 pm |

    StarStorm, the Grantmoor is rather famous locally in Central Connecticut. Here’s an interesting writeup about it.

  21. StarStorm
    StarStorm March 6, 2008 at 8:02 pm |

    Damn, that sounds pleasant. Whatever happened to the back of a station wagon?

  22. kali
    kali March 6, 2008 at 9:06 pm |

    yeah, there is definitely such a thing as lasting too long (men who are into tantric sex, PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THIS. Women complain about you behind your back, you know.)

  23. Thomas, TSID
    Thomas, TSID March 6, 2008 at 9:52 pm |

    I’ve had whole multi-year het relationships without PIV. There’s a world of alternatives.

    Also, I like a smug lesbian. But only if she’s topping me.

  24. Phoebe Fay
    Phoebe Fay March 6, 2008 at 10:20 pm |

    How do people know how long it lasts? Because me, as long as there has been adequate pre-penetration activity, I have absolutely no comprehension of time. One minute? 10 minutes? more? I have no idea. I’m in an altered state, and time doesn’t really exist. Then, once it’s over, the last thing on my mind is checking the clock.

  25. AJL
    AJL March 7, 2008 at 9:59 am |

    Most of the time, when I’m involved in PIV sex (and it’s not the first time with someone, which always takes longer) I’m not ashamed to say 3-10 minutes is average for post-penetration. We’ve also had pretty long marathons. Usually it’s short because we *like* it that way: most of the sex is in the foreplay. And some vagina-equipped persons happen to be wired like most like penis-equipped persons in terms of, er, recharge time and orgasm type. Which is to say that one is enough.

  26. ACE
    ACE March 7, 2008 at 11:21 am |

    I can understand why sexual events only last that long, stress, poor health, and kids (if you have them) can be a really drag on our energy levels. Most people struggle with this. My partner and I have started using adult toys to spice up things and make the moment last longer. It has REALLY helped! Finding the right toy can be difficult, we started buying toys from http://www.racy.com and haven’t stopped yet. You should talk this over with your partner and try something unique but not to riske. It worked for us.

  27. Rosehiptea
    Rosehiptea March 7, 2008 at 6:02 pm |

    I actually…kind of like a shorter time. Some of us…chafe. Seriously. I have chafing issues if it goes on for a while.

    I always need artificial lube for PIV so the idea of making it last as long as possible… well, don’t do it for my sake, dude!

    I never got much out of PIV anyway though.

  28. Astraea
    Astraea March 7, 2008 at 7:24 pm |

    I prefer VIV… vibrator in vagina. It lasts however long I want ^_^

  29. Lorelei
    Lorelei March 8, 2008 at 2:07 pm |

    most of my friends can have sex for HOURS (by sex, i mean the whole shebang, but many of them have PIV sex for, like, an hour/hour and a half). i can’t even imagine. i love my boyfriend very much and we have a lot of fun, but the whole thing goes on maybe 15-20 minutes, PIV lasting about… yeah, 3-10 minutes, depending on the day. we both fatigue so easily and i just want my cigarette and if we fuck for too long we both can start having episodes and i start chafing and the list just goes on. i think the longest we’ve ever had PIV sex was about 15-20 minutes, and it was just because we were trying to keep me from dissociating (rofl wtf is wrong with my life). i absolutely cannot have orgasms from penetration (and i’ve tried myself and with other people and it just does not go on), so i just make sure that i get my orgasm beforehand so i don’t get all chafey.

    also, i wonder if this happens to any other women: if you try to ‘hold off’ your orgasm or keep it in suspense, it either disappears or just really sucks. am i right? that’s another big reason i don’t let that shit go on forever.

  30. Himalayan Niagra
    Himalayan Niagra June 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm |

    It is a fact that half of the men ejaculate within 2 minutes. There may be artificial ways like taking drugs or using toys to increase the sex time, but does it give you the real joy in having sex? There are many natural remedies for preventing premature ejaculation which do not have any side effects and can help to improve intimacy between the partners.

  31. Lee
    Lee June 21, 2008 at 12:58 am |

    It sounds to me this study is a big generalization on the best length of time for intercourse…maybe a rough guideline, but nothing to live by.

    It doesn’t consider what happens before intercourse, what position used, etc etc.

    It is to me. I like to have my orgasm *before* the penetration starts. That way, I’m relaxed and lubed up and everybody’s happy.

    For mutual satisfaction, i’ve found this works best :)

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