What is the Average Time Before Orgasm?

Studies in which couples were actually observed having sex or in which one partner timed sex with a stopwatch (as opposed to surveys in which people are asked how long they have sex) show a wide range in the length of lovemaking, ranging from about 2 minutes to 40 or more minutes. The average? About 7.3 minutes in one of the more recent studies. That’s longer (believe it or not) than in studies done decades ago. In the discussion of marital sex in his classic book about male sexuality, researcher Alfred Kinsey speculated that for perhaps three-fourths of all males, orgasm was reached within 2 minutes of initiation of coitus, and that this was “a frequent source of marital conflict.”

Although this 2-minute average time to male orgasm probably sounds damned short, it’s actually rather leisurely compared to our closest primate relatives: Chimpanzee sex lasts an average of 8 seconds, and gorilla sex lasts and average of a minute. The reason for that brevity is clear: Animals are rather vulnerable when they’ve having sex, so there’s a premium put on a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am approach to things. However, just because fast sex is in Nature’s best interest doesn’t mean it’s the ideal. Far from it. Volumes have been written on the desirability of prolonging sex so that it is more generally enjoyable and so that the woman has a more realistic chance for achieving an orgasm (women, in general, taking longer to reach orgasm than men even with direct clitoral stimulation).

There are entire schools of “sexology” that advocate delayed male orgasm. The Taoist approach to sex, which has been popularized in this country by Jolan Chang, is a very female-oriented approach to lovemaking. Various techniques are suggested for slowing down the male sexual response and postponing male orgasm. Indeed, Chang advocates an approach to sex that deemphasizes male orgasm. Men can-and should-have sex without orgasm, he suggests. Not only does this allow a man to make love for as long as he wants with a firm erection, but it creates many more opportunities for variation in position and satisfaction of the woman’s sexual desires.