Measuring Up: Part Two

I was invited to roast a friend’s husband for his birthday last night. She started the show by mentioning they had just finished a 27 day challenge where they had sex every day. She mentioned she was never so relieved to start her period and to be able to say, “Not tonight Honey.”

Twenty-seven days is impressive. I honestly don’t think I have done anything voluntary for 27 days – pleasurable or not. But, when it comes to sex, how does 27 days in a row measure up? And how about time? Is three minutes of intercourse normal? How many couples have marathon sex, going at it for more than three hours at a whack? Where do you fall on the sexual performance spectrum?

Well, your Auntie is here to help! I have combed through medical studies and sexuality journals to ferret out the details about sex that you have been curious about (although nothing about ferrets came up in my search!)

How Long Do People Do It?

This is hard to measure. First, sex is hard to define. Does it start with the first kiss, what if you are gently touching throughout dinner and a movie and end up boning away? What is the “official” start of sex?

Most research is pretty penis-centric – partly because it is easy to measure and define sex around a penis. So, my apologies for the lack of a feminist perspective. I hate medical research for that reason (and so can you!). But, here is what the current literature says.

Dr. Brendan Zietsch, a psychological researcher from Queensland University (very reputable for those not in the know) asked 500 heterosexual couples to use a stop watch to time from point of insertion of a penis (into either the vagina or anus) to male orgasm (Like I said, this is very penis-centric). The couples timed their coupling for a month. Here is what they reported.

Shortest time from insertion to ejaculation: 33 seconds – so, if you last through a commercial, you are above that time!

Longest time: 44 minutes – Good for him! Hope there was a lot of lube and nothing got rubbed raw.

Average time: 5.4 minutes. That is two songs on the radio or the extended mix of Raspberry Beret by Prince.

On average, sexual encounters last 5.4 minutes.

That is just one study. What is the general consensus:

Across the literature, it seems that sex lasting less than two minutes is generally considered to be “too short.” Sex lasting three to seven minutes is generally considered to be “satisfying.” The most desirable length of time seems to be ten to thirteen minutes. “Too long” ranges from 10 to 30 minutes.

How Kinky Are You?

An article in the Journal of Sexual Medicine by Joyal surveyed 1,500 Canadians about their sex lives and fantasies. He found that most of us are freaky (if you disagree, blame Canada).

Joyal defined “common fantasies” as sexual fantasies that more than 50 percent of the respondents reported having. Here are some of the “common” fantasies:

  1. Sex in “an unusual place (e.g., office, public toilets)”: 82% women + 82 % men

  2. MFF threesome: 37% women + 84.5% men

  3. Having sex with a stranger: 49% women + 72.5% men

  4. Being dominated sexually: 65% women + 53% men (I want to point out that the gender split is not radically different here!)

  5. Dominating someone sexually: 47% women + 60% men

  6. Bondage: 52% women + 46% men

  7. Having sex with more than three people, including men and women:<