Canadian and American sex therapists' perceptions of normal and abnormal ejaculatory latencies: how long should intercourse last?

J Sex Med. 2008 May;5(5):1251-1256. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00797.x. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Introduction: Lay public perceptions about how long intercourse should last are discrepant from objective data on ejaculatory latencies. This may be problematic as the subjective interpretation of latency is a factor related to perceived distress with length of intercourse.

Aim: Quantify the opinion of expert sex therapists as to what are "adequate,""desirable,""too short," and "too long" intravaginal ejaculatory latencies. Method. A random sample of members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research in the United States and Canada was surveyed.

Main outcome measure: Intravaginal ejaculatory latency, in minutes, for four different conditions: coitus that lasts an amount of time that is "adequate,""desirable,""too short," and "too long." Results. The interquartile range for the sex therapists' opinions regarding an "adequate" length for ejaculatory latency was from 3 to 7 minutes; "desirable" from 7 to 13 minutes; "too short" from 1 to 2 minutes; "too long" from 10 to 30 minutes.

Conclusions: Therapists' beliefs about ejaculatory latencies were consistent with objective data on ejaculatory latency and were not affected by therapist demographic characteristics such as sex or experience. These results suggest that the average sex therapist believes that intercourse that lasts 3 to 13 minutes is normative and not prima facie worthy of clinical concern. Dissemination to the public of these results may change lay expectations for intravaginal ejaculatory latency and prevent distress. These results may also be beneficial to couples in treatment for sexual problems by normalizing expectations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Canada
  • Coitus*
  • Ejaculation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Societies, Scientific
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • United States