This is how long everyone wishes sex would last

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Everyone likes a good quickie now and then—there's something exciting about frantically tearing off someone's clothes because you can't go one more second without sex. But that doesn't mean we should be having quick sex all the time.

Indeed, according to a new sex survey, both men and women wished their sex sessions were much longer IRL. As in, twice as long.

The survey was conducted by Kristen Mark, the director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at the University of Kentucky, and it included more than 14,400 responses from men and women who were recruited online and via mTurk, an Amazon crowdsourcing marketplace. Eighty-four percent of participants identified as heterosexual, and the pool included a mix of single and coupled individuals. The purpose of the research, delightfully titled the Penis Perception Study, was to explore attitudes about sex and male sexual functioning. It was funded by Absorption Pharmaceuticals, a company that makes sexual dysfunction products, including drugs to treat premature ejaculation.


According to the results, both men and women reported that their average sex session lasts about 10 minutes. However, men said they wished it would last 20 minutes and women agreed, indicating that they, too, would like sex to last 15 to 20 minutes or more.

Of course, a study finding that people want longer sex isn't bad for a company that profits off of premature ejaculation—but the results do line up with previous research. While average intercourse times are estimated to last from 3 to 8 minutes, a 2008 sex study out of Penn State found that "desirable" sex time was closer to 13 minutes. Similarly, a Cosmo survey of 2,500 women found that, ideally, women would like for sex to last more than 10 minutes—and the most common answer for a perfect sex time was 15 to 20 minutes.

According to University of Kentucky's Mark, who says the survey was conducted independently of Absorption Pharmaceuticals, women in particular often benefit from longer sex. "We know from prior research that in the areas of sexual satisfaction, orgasm, and pleasure, women tend to need a little bit more time than men to reach those peaks of pleasure than men, and this research is supporting that," she said.

Along with their finding about ideal sex times, Mark and her team found that 55% of women had faked an orgasm—but so had 30.7% of men. In previous surveys, about 20 to 25% of men and 70 to 80% of women reported faking orgasms.


Here are some other juicy tidbits:

  • Only 41.5% of respondents said they had never had anal intercourse, which means that close to 60% had. (This is higher than previous research has estimated).
  • 25% of men reported masturbating almost every day, compared to 8.7% of women.
  • 45% of men wished their penis was longer in length. (FYI guys, studies have shown women don't care that much about size!)
  • 64.2% of men reported frustration at least 25% of the time due to ejaculating before desired.
  • Woman on top and side by side were selected as the sex positions that are most likely to slow down ejaculation and make sex last longer.

Notably, less than a quarter of participants had ever masturbated with a partner, and only a third of respondents said they received oral sex at least once a week—two acts that usually fall into the foreplay category.

So let's face it, folks: If we want to double our sex time, we can't go straight for the finish line. Food for thought.


Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.