The Conversation

What is the “normal” duration of a sexual intercourse?

500 couples timed each other

An article published on The Conversation by Brendan Zietsch, winner of the Australian Research Council.

Then, we are not necessarily able to say how long it lasted. Sex is not, in principle, an activity during which our eyes are riveted on the alarm clock placed on the bedside table. However, providing an estimate without any assistance can be difficult if the act was particularly exhilarating.

The best study, among those that sought to estimate the average length of the period leading to ejaculation in the general population, was conducted among 500 couples from various places on the planet. They had to measure, using a stopwatch, the duration of their sexual relations over a period of four weeks.

Yes, you read that right: as bizarre as it may sound, participants had to press the start button when penetrating, then the stop button when ejaculating. You will probably object that such an action is likely to influence the mood of the participants, and that it does not really fit into the natural order of things. But science rarely achieves perfection, and this method is the best we have found.

From 33 seconds to… 44 minutes!

But then, for what results? The main lesson is that these vary considerably from one couple to another. The average for each couple (calculated from all of their sexual encounters over the four-week period) ranges from 33 seconds for the shortest duration, to 44 minutes (80 times longer!) for the longest. clear that there is no “normal” duration for sexual intercourse. The average duration (median in fact, technically), measured from those of all the couples, amounts to 5.4 minutes. Which means that, if we rank all the participating couples, from the shortest to the longest sexual intercourse, the one in the middle arrives at an average of 5.4 minutes over this four-week period.

The study also revealed some secondary lessons. For example, the use of condoms does not seem to have an effect on the duration of the report, any more than the possible circumcision in the man. These results have the merit of challenging some traditional beliefs about the relationship between penile sensitivity and efficiency in bed.

Geographical origin does not have much influence either – except for Turkish couples, whose intercourse seems to be significantly shorter (3.7 minutes) than those of the other countries concerned (Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and United States). The age of the participants, on the other hand, is not neutral: the older a couple, the shorter the sexual relations, contrary to popular belief (certainly peddled by men of a certain age).

Why does it take so long?

As a researcher interested in the subject of evolution, all these debates about the duration of sexual intercourse lead me to a question: why does it take a long time at all? The only thing that justifies intercourse is, it seems, the delivery of sperm into the vagina. Why, then, all these movements back and forth? Why, rather than slipping his penis in and pulling it out several hundred times with each intercourse, not just inserting it once, ejaculating, then having a lemonade and moving on?

Before answering me “Because it’s fun! remember that evolution doesn’t value fun as such. It only “designs” things to make them enjoyable, that criterion being met if they encouraged our ancestors to pass on their genes to subsequent generations. For example, even though we enjoy food, we don’t spend five minutes chewing each bite just to enjoy it longer. It would be ineffective. So we’ve evolved in such a way that it looks disgusting to us today.

While it is impossible to provide a definitive explanation for the duration of our intercourse, the beginning of an answer may be provided by the shape of the penis. In 2003, researchers showed – using artificial vaginas and penises, as well as corn syrup to act as sperm – that the ridge that surrounds the head of the penis draws away the syrup that already existed in the vagina.

This experiment shows that the repeated movements of the man could have the objective of moving away the sperm left by other men, and thus to ensure, at the time of ejaculation, that his little swimmers will have the best chance of reach the egg first. This phenomenon could also explain why the man feels pain when he continues these movements after ejaculation: he would then risk evacuating his own sperm.

What can we deduce, finally, from all these results? If I can give you any advice, try not to think about it too much in the middle of your lovemaking.

Source: Psychologies

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