Sex Therapists Gauge Ideal Time for Sex

Heterosexual Intercourse Should Last 3-13 Minutes, Sex Therapists' Survey Shows

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on April 03, 2008

April 3, 2008 -- A new survey aims to set the record straight about how long heterosexual intercourse should last.

The verdict: 3 to 13 minutes, with 3-7 minutes deemed "acceptable" and 7 to 13 minutes dubbed "desirable."

Thirty-four sex therapists in the U.S. and Canada completed the survey. They had 26 years of clinical experience, on average; 45% of them were men.

One skipped the timing question, 25 mentioned specific amounts of time, and eight said time for intercourse depends on the couple.

"Many sex therapists consider coitus that lasts as little as 3 minutes to be of adequate length," write the researchers, who included Eric Corty, PhD, of Penn State Erie.

The survey may correct the public's "unrealistic" expectations for sexual performance to last longer, note Corty and colleagues in May's edition of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

(How long would intercourse ideally last for you? Share your thoughts on WebMD's Sexuality: Friends Talking message board.)