Men often worry about how long they might or might not last in bed. Usually, it's a concern that is never talked about, but your neurosis is unfounded, gentlemen: when it comes to sex, countless studies show that most people value the quality over quantity.
For this reason and a few others, here's why straight men should stop worrying about going and going and going in the bedroom — and why they should start brushing up on their communication skills instead.
1) Guess what? Most people don't last that long in bed to begin with.
There are plenty of cultural misconceptions about how long sex should take. But despite what porn might tell you, penetration during heterosexual, PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex usually lasts for just a few minutes. One Glamour survey of 1,000 women found that 28% of women said the average duration of heterosexual sex was 10 to 14 minutes — not nearly as long as one might expect from porno videos of rapid-fire, jackhammer 40-minute fucking.
Interestingly, while gay men also struggle with performance anxiety in the bedroom, a report published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggested that "ejaculation concerns are less prevalent in gay-identified men." Perhaps that has something to do with the LGBTQ community's broader definition of physical intimacy, which can include oral sex and not only penetration.
2) Premature ejaculation is incredibly common.
Lots of men are anxious about coming too early, and with good reason — considering how many jokes fratty sitcoms and movies make about premature ejaculation, it's understandable that dudes would be self-conscious about shooting their load too soon.
Guys don't necessarily have to fret over shooting their load too soon, though. For starters, according to an article published in the Reviews of Urology, an estimated 33% of men will complain of premature or early ejaculation sometime during their lives — a fairly sizable percentage. The only reason why premature ejaculation is so stigmatized is because no one ever talks about it.
3) Very few women have orgasms from PIV sex.
Although many men pride themselves on their ability to have an erection for a long period of time, it's important to remember that only a small fraction of women actually orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone. According to The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, "only about a third of women experience orgasm regularly during intercourse," and those who do still need extra stimulation to help them cross the finish line.
When it comes to people who don't have PIV sex, lesbians generally orgasm more often than straight women. But for men who have sex with women, it doesn't matter how much time a man spends giving a lady the D — more time still doesn't guarantee that she will climax.
3) Good oral skills count a lot more than penetrative intercourse.
Most women who have sex with men will tell you that they don't care how quickly a man comes, or how small his package is. As long as they're willing to compensate with their oral skills, they're good to go.
Considering that most women come from clitoral stimulation rather than direct penetration (see #2), they don't really care if their dudes come too quickly, provided they're willing to pay attention to their needs in other areas.
According to a study published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine, which consisted of a survey of more than 1,460 women from three different countries, by far the biggest frustration among women in relationships with men suffering from premature ejaculation was his "lack of attention to her other sexual needs." Disappointment about short intercourse was only a secondary concern.
4) Ultimately, good sex is more about intimacy and less about skill.
Emotional connection outside the bedroom has a huge impact on women's sexual satisfaction. A survey of 500 women by the fertility app Kindara showed that 53.2% of women said "emotional connection" was the most important factor for good sex, while only 23.6% of women said foreplay was the most important.
New York therapist and clinical social worker Douglas Brooks said he completely agrees with these findings, based on his work with clients of both genders.
"[Women] do appreciate a healthy sexual tension that is more emotionally based than just the physical or just the mechanics," Brooks said in a phone interview, referring to flirting and other displays of affection. "One of the issues is men don't really talk to other men about those aspects."
Brooks thinks focusing on the ability to establish an emotional connection with sexual partners, through conversation and communication, has a greater long-lasting impact than merely working towards lasting longer in bed.
"People try to strive for this perfection," he said. "And that's not really the answer."