How long should SEX take?

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When people brag about sex, they often talk about having done it ‘all night long’. Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than having sex all night.

It sounds like a recipe for chafing and much as I like sex, I’ve got to get up in the morning. Most women I know seemed to agree.

Anecdotally, I’ve only ever heard women express a desire for sex which goes on for a bit. Twenty minutes.

Maybe half an hour. Certainly not more than an hour. In the words of writer and comedian Stevie Martin on The Climax, ‘It’s going to erode.

‘But is there a ‘right’ amount of time for sex to last? We’ve talked a lot about how often couples ‘should’ be having sex (spoiler: it’s however many times you and your partner feel mutually happy with) but what about how long that sex lasts?

We spoke to registered psychologist Dr Becky Spelman, an expert in sex and sexuality: ‘It doesn’t matter how long you have sex for, it matters how much satisfaction both partners are getting from it,’ she tells

‘Often there’s a medical reason to have sex for less time, as it can become uncomfortable for women for a variety of health reasons.

Women who suffer from UTIs may find that having sex for shorter time periods results in fewer infections. ‘The majority of women don’t orgasm from penetrative sex, so they are more likely to experience their orgasm before or after penetration.

For women who do not orgasm during sex, it is understandable that they may enjoy the penetrative aspect of sex less than other parts. ‘For lots of couples, sex isn’t just about pleasure but about closeness and intimacy, so having sex for a very short period of time might compromise how close they feel to their partner.

‘Ultimately, if both partners are satisfied, it doesn’t matter how long they are having sex for. The ‘right’ amount of time to have sex for is the amount of time that you both find gratifying.

‘Some people have extremely high standards about their sex lives and are perfectionists, which can mean that they end up being disappointed.

Everyone has different expectations about sex. Some couples will have quick sex and feel satisfied, others might feel that it’s a failure.‘Most of all, it’s important to check in with your partner about your sex life regularly, so that you can communicate about any issues.’



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