Q&A: Is There A Quick Way To Regain An Erection After Orgasm?

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QUESTION: I find it time consuming to regain an erection after orgasming during sex with my girlfriend. Is there some technique to speed up the process? I’m 19 years old – shouldn’t this be easy for me?

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Photo: Andres Rueda

It takes time for a man to get a second erection after he has already ejaculated (whether that ejaculation was from masturbation, oral sex, mutual masturbation, vaginal sex or anal sex).

Men Vs. Women

Although men’s and women’s bodies are similar in many ways (both sexes have two eyes, two ears, a nose, two legs, etc) there are also some key differences.

For example, not only do males and females vary in terms of their genitals – the whole “boys have a penis and girls have a vagina” – but our genitals and sexual response work in different ways too.

Refractory Period

Unlike women (who are capable of multiple orgasms), men have what’s called a refractory period which is the time between one ejaculation and their ability to ejaculate again.

Young men, particularly those in their teens and twenties, can often have more than one ejaculation in a short period of time. Sometimes after sex that ends in ejaculation, a guy can keep having sex with only a slight decrease in the firmness of his erection.

Mostly, though, it takes time for a man to get a second erection after he has already ejaculated (whether that ejaculation was from masturbation, oral sex, mutual masturbation, vaginal sex or anal sex).

Sometimes it may only take a few moments but often it takes at least 15 or 30 minutes for men – even young, college-aged men like yourself – to get a second erection after they ejaculate. Welcome to your refractory period!

As men age, their refractory period typically lengthens meaning that it often takes longer for men to get a second erection after they ejaculate. Some men may need to wait hours before they can ejaculate again or get a second erection. Other men may need to wait a day or longer.

Can It Be Changed?

There is no way to change one’s refractory period and no special technique to being able to have multiple ejaculations in a short period of time.

Some men pay attention to how their particular bodies work and may notice that it’s easier for them to become erect again if they are working out, eating well, getting sufficient sleep, abstaining from cigarettes or alcohol (both of which may impair men’s erectile function), or if they are feeling extremely mentally or physically aroused. Other times, men find it difficult to pinpoint any specific pattern to the way their erections work.

Other Ways To Enjoy Each Other

The good news is that pleasurable, enjoyable sex doesn’t always require an erection. Pleasurable sex isn’t always about intercourse or what some may think of as “normal” or “standard” sex.

If you want to keep exploring each other’s bodies, then whether or not you have a second erection, you and your partner can continue to kiss, to stimulate each others’ genitals with your hands, to massage each other’s bodies all over, to play with sex toys or to lay in bed and talk and laugh.

More Information

You can learn more about men’s sexuality, including erections, ejaculation and enhancing sex play with a partner, in The New Male Sexuality.

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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