Sex should last longer than two minutes.

I seriously hope that’s not a newsflash for any of you, but I’m afraid that many people don’t know how long sex should last.

Every Monday I like to post a reader question that I receive, and this week’s is courtesy of a conversation I had while giving a Christian marriage conference recently. A lovely woman, who had likely been married at least 20 years, wanted to know if there was anything medically she could do about her low libido. She just didn’t enjoy sex, and never desired it. Her husband could bring her to orgasm manually, but sex never did a thing for her, and she wondered if a doctor could help.

As I talked to her about things that might be lowering her libido, the real problem eventually became clear. It turns out that in their marriage, sex only lasted two minutes. She didn’t have time for it to feel good! No wonder she didn’t enjoy sex or particularly want sex.

But what was even worse, to me, was that she didn’t know that this was abnormal.

That’s a problem, isn’t it? We just don’t talk about the specifics of sex very much with our friends (and honestly, I’m not sure what such conversations would be like, anyway), but that means that when something is wrong, we’re not always aware of it. I’ve written about some huge moral red flags when it comes to sex, but what about when things just aren’t functioning properly, and you have no way of realizing that? I’ve talked to some women, too, where sex didn’t work because he never had an erection, but neither of them had the language to describe what was wrong.

So today I’d just like to say, loudly and clearly, sex should last longer than two minutes!

Now, when you’re first married, many men won’t have a lot of self-control. And, in general, the older men get, the longer they’re able to last.

Studies have shown that men can reach orgasm through intercourse in as little as two minutes, on average, whereas women take closer to twenty.

But just because men can reach orgasm in two minutes doesn’t mean that sex needs to be over in two minutes.

And this is what I really want to stress today!

When we have no language to talk about sex, then the only way we know what sex is supposed to be like is through our own personal experience. So if you’re a man getting married, and you have intercourse, and it feels really good, and it’s over in two minutes, you likely think, “that’s what’s supposed to happen if sex feels good!” So when your wife doesn’t find sex satisfying, well, then there must be something wrong with her. Because if sex feels good, shouldn’t it end quickly?

And because men’s sexual response is often quite obvious and relatively simple to achieve, then men’s experience of sex tends to be taken as “the standard”, and women are somehow supposed to catch up. I’ve written before about why women’s sexual pleasure matters, but in fact, we aren’t really taught that women don’t respond to sex in the same way, and do need more foreplay and do need more TIME.

Can a husband make himself last longer to give his wife more time during intercourse?

Some may not be able to, if they honestly are suffering from premature ejaculation. Premature ejaculation occurs when men reach climax with minimal stimulation, long before they wish to. Up to 30% of men suffer from this, and for many, two minutes would even be a long time! They often climax with any stimulation at all.

What can you do to deal with premature ejaculation?

Wear a condom

A condom can reduce sensation and allow men to go longer.

Practice the stop and start technique

Get used to understanding the body’s cues, when you’re getting ready to climax. When climax is near, stop the stimulation, but continue to stimulate her (either orally or manually). Then you can resume. With practice, many men are able to train their bodies to last longer than before.

Have her be on top

Men seem to have less of a problem with premature ejaculation if they are not the ones on top, so try switching it up!

Try some gels or creams

Talk to the doctor about some gels or creams that can reduce sensation or numb certain areas (I wouldn’t want to do this, but apparently it can help!)

Try some medication

One of the side effects of many antidepressants is that they inhibit libido and orgasm. For those who reach orgasm too quickly, then antidepressants can be prescribed. Since neurotransmitter problems have been linked to premature ejaculation, antidepressants which regulate these neurotransmitters can actually work well. This would be my last ditch option, though, and I’d make sure you were on a minimum dosage first. Antidepressants aren’t kind drugs, and I’m reluctant to use them if you don’t absolutely need them!

Most men for whom sex doesn’t last long, however, don’t have premature ejaculation. They just don’t know how to be good lovers.

And so let me give you one tried and true technique that almost every man who makes sex last longer uses:

Instead of focusing on your own pleasure, focus on hers.

This is what I was talking about in last week’s post about how the different sexes were designed. As I said in that post,

  • If a husband concentrates on his wife, sex lasts longer and both receive a lot of pleasure.
  • If a wife concentrates on her husband, sex often is shorter and only he tends to receive pleasure.

Men, here’s what you do: when you’re making love, don’t think about what you’re feeling. Instead, study her. What does she respond to more? What angle obviously works better for her? Does she like you touching here or there? Get used to reading her body’s cues, and then you’ll also know when she’s getting closer to orgasm and when you can start to let yourself focus on pleasure, too.

Yes, some guys joke about having to picture dead puppies or saying the multiplication tables in their head to make them last longer, but I think focusing on her is likely the best route (unless that is also too arousing!).

If you try focusing on her, wearing a condom, and the stop and start technique, and he still lasts only a few seconds or minutes, please see the doctor, because other treatments are available and you likely are suffering from actual premature ejaculation.

But many people, I believe, have never really been taught how to give each other sexual pleasure. My book 31 Days to Great Sex takes couples step-by-step through exercises that do indeed open the door to discovering what feels good to each other, and with understanding how to give her sexual pleasure, and I’d highly recommend it to this couple (and, indeed, the woman did purchase it!). Please take a look at it.

Let me leave you with one more thought, from the New Zealand band Flight of the Conchords:

This is hilarious But f this song is a documentary about your marriage, rather than a satire, that’s not okay. Seek some help! Because it seriously can get better.

Let me know: have you ever had to deal with something like this in your marriage? Or were there basic things about sex that you didn’t know because you had nothing to compare it with? Let’s talk in the comments!

How long should sex last? More than two minutes! How to deal with premature ejaculation, or what to do if your husband doesn't last very long.

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