I responded to a www.askmen.com reporter asking for tips on how a man can last longer in bed. You can read the published article here, and my response below.
I have some insights to your questions about lasting longer during intercourse. I have been learning about (and practicing) some behaviors that prolong the physical aspects of penetration as well as increase the emotional intimacy during sex for about 15 years now.
My own research into the average length of an American sexual encounter is less than 10 minutes, not including foreplay. In Europe, it is reported about 16 minutes of intercourse length not including foreplay. You can see a psych today article with that data here.
The penetration time varies of course, but there are some details that can help a man stay engaged mentally while lasting longer physically. One of the first books I read on the subject was How to Make Love All Night by Barbara Keesling. This was published in the 1990’s. She puts forth some data and techniques to use that men can use before sex with a partner that will strengthen the Kegel muscles and allow men to last longer and even have multiple orgasms. The techniques in the book do work to enhance the strength of orgasm, last longer during intercourse, and to have orgasm without ejaculation, but trust me when I say the effort to get to that level might not be worth the concentration and work it takes to get there.
Men are taught by bro science and media to disconnect from sex mentally to last longer. That does not have to be the case of course, but it shows just how disconnected the experiences can be between sex partners. If the reality of sex in America is that we are spending just a few minutes penetrating, men can cut themselves some slack when facing anxiety around how long they need to last. Positions that encourage intimacy, like face to face missionary where the man is controlling the speed of his insertions can prolong the encounter and create more intimacy. When a man has multiple sensations engaged, and he is not considering his pace of penetration, things can end sooner than later.
I encourage men and women I counsel to incorporate pauses in the penetration to connect and give the friction a break so the man can take his arousal down a notch. Sitting in a cobra (sex not yoga position) think old school spider style on the swing set. She is resting on his lap with her legs wrapped around his torso, and her legs crossed supporting her body weight. This can be a very intimate position, him resting inside her, eyes connected, and they can embrace as they wish.
Sex might begin with a penetration, but it doesn’t need to be an all out pump-fest until you finish. Using a rhythm to penetration can help men recognize their level of arousal, and the depth of penetration in any position. Try varying the shallow and deep thrusts and eventually it will be come second nature. The longer the thrust, the more friction. The more friction, the faster the finish. If she is on top, cowgirl allows her to hold him deeper inside her while she rubs her clitoris against him if she wishes. This can allow her to reach orgasm while he gets a bit of a break on the friction, helping him last longer. If a girl is doing an E-Honda sumo style cowgirl, he might want to transition to a pause, or pull his torso close to hers to limit the range of motion.
Many people enjoy doggystyle because of the ability of the man to thrust deeply, the penis hitting the front wall of the vagina, and the bonus of the scrotum grazing the clitoris. The man should recognize that every stroke doesn’t have to be speedy, and can enjoy the sensation of each millimeter of their partners. When things feel good we should resist the instincts to speed up, re-engage with our partners, and embrace the intimacy of the moment.
Before you get to the finish, he should ask his partner how she is doing, and if there is anything else she wants to accomplish. While he might worry about how long sex lasts, at a certain point it can become less about bragging rights and more about dryness and overkill. He only has to last as long as she needs him to last, so make sure he is putting his partner first.
Dr. Ethan Gregory
Author of I’m Sorry, You are Not a Pick-Up Artist and I’m Sorry, You are Not a Disney Princess and You Matter Most! Season One
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