On Your Mark, Get Set......Come!

On Your Mark, Get Set......Come!

The other day, a toy company that I mostly respect posted a link to an article in the Sun UK which says new research shows that women take an average of 13 minutes and 25 seconds to reach orgasm, while men take just 6 minutes. The paper did an experiment with three couples to find out if this is true.  Sigh....

The article does not mention exactly what it was the study subjects were doing when they had these orgasms, yet the writers assume that it was putting a penis in a vagina and pumping until someone has an orgasm.  So that's what they had their test couples do.

Timing that specific act doesn't tell us much at all about how most people experience sex.  And using that narrow definition of what 'sex' is, leaves out a lot of people who don't have, or enjoy, that kind of sex.  Where are they in all of this?  Do their orgasms not count?

I will, grudgingly, admit that this article can be useful in some ways.  It shows that it's  pretty common for sex (the actual penetration part of penis in vagina sex) to last somewhere between 7 and 15 minutes.  There seems to be a pervasive idea that we are supposed to be at it for a lot longer than that - that good sex means going at it for an hour or maybe hours.  It certainly could, but that's not a terribly common experience, and we should not feel like there's something wrong with us if most of our penis in vagina times (if that's the kind of sex we have) last 7 to 15 minutes.  That's rather standard for a lot of people and sex that lasts that long can be, and for very many people is, really great.

But that's about it for the good stuff.  I think the negative here really outweighs the positive.

First of all, put down the bloody stopwatch! What the hell are you timing anyway?  When do you start the stopwatch?  Sex doesn't start when a penis enters a vagina - it starts when someone touches someone that certain way, when one person says that thing that gets the other all tingly, when someone gets a saucy idea in their head.  Often, that part of sex starts long before any genitals get into the act.  The nature of that kind of contact and how much it turns the players on, has a lot to do with how long the rest of sex is going to last and how much fun it's going to be.  

Also, and this probably goes without saying, the stopwatch is not going to help.  Unless the idea of timing yourself totally turns you on (which it might, not judging here), knowing that you are being timed is likely to distract you and take you out of the moment, making sex less pleasurable and as a result, probably longer.  So the times here are probably skewed upwards.  One surefire way to make sex less fun is to feel like you're being judged or expected to perform in a certain way.  Who really cares how long it takes?  Was it good for you?  Was it good for your partner(s)?  That's all that matters.

The other thing that confuses me about this 'experiment' is the whole 'who comes first' concept.  The article says research shows that women take longer to orgasm than men. It does not say how they reached that conclusion.   Was this during partner sex or solo play?  Did they time people while they were observing them?  Or with this self report?  In the Sun's little experiment, for all three couples, the men took longer.  If you have any understanding of how penis in vagina sex works, this is not at all surprising.  If the person with the vagina is going to orgasm during PIV sex, the penis in question usually needs to stay hard and that usually means the owner of the penis hasn't cum yet.  Of course not always, but usually.  So it's not at all surprising that if the women in this experiment are having an orgasm from this activity, they are having it before the men are.  It just makes sense.  In spite of all the soap operas and movies we've seen where couples come at the exact same time, that's not something that happens often in real life.   So if the penis haver is coming first, the vagina haver is probably not coming at all, unless it's by some  other kind of play than just PIV.  

The article actually does kind of address this.  One of the men in the experiment says "I always want her to climax first – that’s why it takes me longer. As a bloke, being able to control your orgasms is important to ensure your partner is satisfied."  This is probably why the men are taking longer.  That's a really good thing.  That means they are paying attention to their partners and helping them to have a great experience. Yet the article still kind of implies that faster is better.  WTF?

It's not a race, folks.  Good sex isn't about being fast or slow.  It's not about timing yourself - unless that's fun for you and everyone involved.  It's about connecting to yourself and the person/people you're with and enjoying an experience together. It's certainly not about comparing yourself to other people to see if you're doing it right or if you're normal.   If everyone involved is happy, you're doing it right.  You don't need to know anything else.

Tags: research sex research