A scientist, though, would phrase the same question in an almost comically obscure way: What is the mean intravaginal ejaculation latency time? Measuring an average time to ejaculation is not a straightforward matter. What about just asking people how long they take, you say? Well, there are two main problems with this. What does the research say? The best study we have estimating the average time to ejaculation in the general population involved couples from around the world timing themselves having sex over a four-week period — using a stopwatch.
That is as practically awkward as it sounds: You may note this could affect the mood somewhat, and might perhaps not exactly reflect the natural flow of things. So what did the researchers find? The most striking result is that there was a huge amount of variation. The average time for each couple that is, averaged across all the times they had sex ranged from 33 seconds to 44 minutes. The average median, technically across all couples, though, was 5. This means that if you line up the couples from shortest sex to longest sex, the middle couple goes for an average of 5.
There were some interesting secondary results, too. Another surprising finding was that the older the couple, the shorter the sex, contrary to the prevailing wisdom probably peddled by older men. Why do we have sex for so long?
As an evolutionary researcher, all this talk of how long sex lasts make me wonder: Why does it last any time at all? All sex really needs to achieve, it seems, is to put sperm into the vagina. Why all the thrusting and bumping? Instead of sliding the penis in and out many hundreds of times per sexual session, why not just put it in once, ejaculate, and then go have a lemonade and get on with the rest of the day?
Why we last so long is a pretty complicated question with no clear answer, but a clue may be in the way the penis is shaped. In , researchers showed — using artificial vaginas, artificial penises, and artificial sperm corn syrup — that the ridge around the head of the penis actually scoops out pre-existing syrup from the vagina.
Incidentally, this could explain why it becomes painful for a man to continue thrusting after ejaculating, since that would risk scooping out his own semen as well. So what to do with this information? My advice would be to try not to think about it during the throes of passion.