Q&A: I Am Getting Married. How Long Should Intercourse Last?

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QUESTION: My fiancée and I are going to marry next month. I am 26, and she is 24.we both are virgins. My question is how long the intercourse should continue. I mean, shall we have sex session from night until next morning or shall we stop after few hours? And I also want to know how much of a time gap should be given after each ejaculation? Shall we do it the whole night or sleep after some time?

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Photo: Robin Parfitt

Time

Thanks for your question. Many people who have not yet had sex wonder what it will be like. And while sex is a little different for everyone, I can assure you that most people do find time to sleep at night!

Time Span

Some research on intercourse suggests that it lasts for about 7 to 16 minutes, on average.

Sometimes people kiss or touch each other’s breasts or back or face for some time before they have sex, which is what some people call foreplay. Depending on a couples’ sexual interests, they may also engage in other types of sex play, such as oral sex, before or after they have intercourse, or during little breaks from intercourse.

There is no one way to have sex and, as you and your partner become more experienced with sex and more comfortable being naked and sexual with each other, you will likely create together many ways of enjoying sex.

Your First Time

Many men and women feel nervous the first time they have sex.

For many men, this can result in coming more quickly than they plan to or it can result in erection difficulties. Women, too, can feel the challenges of stress and many women do not experience orgasm the first few times they have sex.

Try to relax and go at your own pace. If sex feels awkward at first, remind yourselves that you’re just beginning and that you can try again later that same night, the next day, or some other time. There is no need to rush to make it perfect; sex is often a work in progress.

Even for very satisfied couples, sometimes sex feels very pleasurable or exciting and other times it’s less fun or exciting. In that way, it’s like a meal – some meals are very good and others are kind of so-so.

Time After Ejaculation

As for a time after after each ejaculation, let your bodies and minds guide you. Once may be enough to have sex the first time. Or if you and your partner decide you have sex a second or third time, and if you can get more erections so that you can make that happen, then that is one option.

Another option it to have sex just once and then lay in bed talking or you can go to sleep. Try to be gentle with your partner and ask whether she wants to have sex a second or third time. Vaginal intercourse can be uncomfortable for many women and just because you may want to have intercourse a second or third time does not mean she will want to. Even if she does, sex may be more comfortable for her if you have lubricant nearby, such as K-Y Liquid or Astroglide or Good Clean Love.

Learn More

To learn more about sex, check out books like Great in Bed or Moregasm. You can learn more about these on our website.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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