[NEWS] How to Last Longer in Bed — Without Stressing Yourself Out

Sex doesn’t always have to be a slow, tantric-inspired session, but two minutes isn’t exactly enough time for most women to get to the good stuff. It has a lot of women and their partners wondering how to last longer in bed?

Average time of sex sessions
There’s no scientific definition of the “ideal” length of a sex session but a 2020 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that, at least in heterosexual women, it took an average of 13.41 minutes to climax. The study was conducted from October 2017 to September 2018 and included 645 participants from 20 countries, with a median age of 30. So, while the collection of people, ranging from the U.K., to the U.S, to India, among other nations, was diverse, it was still a relatively small group. It also found that the majority of those in the study were unable to reach orgasm with only penovaginal intercourse and 17% had never had an orgasm at all. Granted, an orgasm shouldn’t be the only reason to have sex—the journey can be just as satisfying—but the results do give us a good idea of how to make sex last longer.

We asked the experts how to last longer in bed when you’re craving more connection, more intimacy, and of course, more orgasms.

1. First things first: Don’t get too preoccupied with pulling an all-nighter.
“Women are supposed to want hour-long sex,” says relationship and sexuality educator Logan Levkoff. That’s great if that’s what you want—but if you don’t, that’s okay too, she says. Personally, every time I see a rom-com with a classic post-coital comment like, “Wow didn’t get any sleep last night,” my first thought is: How? Why? What about chafing? Making sex last longer doesn’t need to mean turning it into a marathon.

“What someone wants—whether it’s shorter or longer—is very individualized and also very contextual based on the relationship and partnership,” Levkoff says. Having a conversation before going into sex about what each person wants to get out of it—including duration!—is step one, she says. Plus, once you take the pressure off to win gold in the all-night sex Olympics, it may naturally go longer—probably because you’re less preoccupied with goalposts and more focused on enjoying your experience.

2. Get to know your body.
If you’re looking to have sex for hours, there’s no better way to do that than to know what your body wants and doesn’t want before you even begin. The best way to do that is through regular masturbation. “Masturbation is so important to figure out where your pleasure spots are, what you like and prefer in sex, and in general to learn more and feel more connected with your body,” says ethical erotic film director Erika Lust of XConfessions.

“Masturbating can increase your sexual satisfaction, enhance your arousal response, and improve partnered sex to the same extent as it improves self-confidence. When you know how to stimulate your body for sexual pleasure, you’re more likely to know how to demand that from another person with less anxiety and more agency.”

Lust is such an advocate for masturbation as a means to having better, longer, and more empowered sexual encounters, and reaping the positive mental and physical effects of regular masturbation, that her company recently became the first company in the world to offer employees a 30-minute masturbation break.

3. Remember, sex isn’t all about penetration.
“Sex shouldn’t simply be about something being in someone else’s body for a particular period of time,” says Levkoff. Translation: Penetration doesn’t have to be the final destination.

Jenni Skyler, a sex therapist at the Intimacy Institute in Boulder, Colorado, refers to sexual encounters as the Cheesecake of Pleasure when her patients need help mixing up their routine. Perhaps you start with a bite of graham cracker crust, next the cheese filling, a bit more graham cracker, some blueberry compote, cheese again—you get the idea. (See also Friends episode “The One with Phoebe’s Uterus.” Seven, seven, SEVEN!) In other words, sample the sexual menu.

4. Foreplay can be the main event.
“Women’s sexual response cycle varies from the average men’s sexual response cycle in that their arousal patterns tend to rise, fall, and plateau before a climax,” says Sari Cooper, a certified sex therapist and founder and director of the Center for Love and Sex in New York City. Take advantage of those fluctuations: “Two women can take full advantage by playing with their partner’s arousal levels through stimulating their more erogenous areas that heighten and increase arousal to a 7 or 8 (out of 10) then focusing on stimulating less erogenous areas to bring the arousal down to a 4 or 5.” Think of this kind of foreplay as its own thing, not just the opening act. This kind of play is more realistic for going all night long, Cooper says.

5. Delay the orgasm.
When a male partner feels like he’s about to ejaculate, he (or you) can grab his shaft right below the head and gently squeeze for 5 to 10 seconds. The pressure on his urethra and the constriction of blood flow will help repress his orgasm. This kind of tactic is a common practice for edging, where the goal is halting an orgasm (for men or women) just before climax. “Edging is your friend,” says clinical sexologist Megan Stubbs, Ed.D. and author of Playing Without a Partner. “It allows you to not only prolong your sex session, but have more intense orgasms.” It’s that build-up of coming so close to climax, then having it taken away, that takes all orgasms to the next level. And you don’t have to just do it once; you can practice edging multiple times throughout your sex session.

6. Realize it’s about the journey, not necessarily the end result.
While we’re probably all in agreement that orgasms are fantastic, great sex is more about the journey along the way than reaching orgasm. “For those with performance anxiety, you can take the pressure off yourself—and your partner—if you look at your sexual adventure as pleasure-based instead of orgasm-based,” says Stubbs. Having control over any impending anxiety gives you the opportunity to have more control over sex sessions, so it’s easier to prolong them.

7. Hold a Sexy Q&A.
Talking counts as foreplay, too. In fact, Levkoff recommends it: “There are so many great conversations that take place when we’re about to be intimate,” she says. Try a sexy Q&A to get you both in the right mindset before you even touch each other. Levkoff recommends starting with the basics: What are the things that turn you on visually? Your go-to masturbation fantasy? The first movie or book you remember feeling turned on by? The back and forth can be “really fun and exciting,” in addition to slowing down the tempo from ripping your clothes off to making eye contact and listening—a whole new layer to connection.

8. Try new positions.
If and when you do ultimately go for penetration, don’t stick to just one position from beginning to an all-too-soon end. “Switching positions and trying different types of stimulation can provide continued arousal but maybe not to the point of orgasm,” says Laurence A. Levine, a urologist and the chief medical officer of Promescent, maker of an FDA-approved topical spray that helps men last longer. If you typically take longer to reach orgasm than a male partner, this can help him pump the breaks while you enjoy the slow build.

Not only can you prolong a sex session by switching up positions, but if you stick to “low-impact sex positions, like missionary position,” says Stubbs, you can make the experience last longer. For example, doggy style is high on the sensation spectrum of sex positions and because of this it can lead to not only premature ejaculation from a partner with a penis, but a really speedy climax on their end. Taking these types of sex positions out of the equation will make a big difference.

9. Be good to your body.
How you treat your body can dramatically impact your ability to enjoy a nice long session between the sheets. Regular exercise promotes better blood flow (for women and men), Levine says. “Both of you will feel healthier, and you get the bonus endorphins and stamina to mix into your couple time.” Quitting smoking and limiting drinking can also help improve stamina—especially for men. “A healthy vascular system is essential if a man wants to have a reliable and strong erection,” Levine says. “Smoking does nothing but slow both of you down.” A drink or two is fine, but remember: Alcohol is a depressant; imbibe too much, and it can impact your sexual appetite.

10. Prioritize sex.
With our hectic lives, sometimes we want to have sex, but just don’t have it in us to give it our all. How to last longer in bed without getting tired? Prioritize or plan your sexcapade.

“Planning sex may not sound sexy or spontaneous, but if you reframe the building up to event, you can make it fun,” says Stubbs. Having it on the calendar and knowing ahead of time that you and your partner are going to have an evening of sexual bliss in advance can help alleviate getting tired too quickly. You’re aroused throughout the day and have something to look forward to. “If you don’t prioritize sex, and do it after a long day of work, you could be setting yourself up for failure,” says Stubbs. Possible sexual dysfunction can be avoided if both your body and head are well-rested and 100% in the game.

11. Explore unchartered territories.
We get it: Sunrise yoga, 9-to-5 job, cocktails with friends, and catching up on season four of The Handmaid’s Tale all in time to get a full night’s sleep takes energy and dedication. But so does the quest to last longer in bed. In addition to making time for sex, also make that time about trying new things. “Most people leave way too little time for a juicy exploratory encounter,” says Cooper. She recommends stimulating new places on your partner’s body and experimenting with varying levels of pressure—both things that require time and intention. Using toys to tease while exploring those new areas can also help extend those sex sessions.

12. Use a condom.
Not only are condoms vital for preventing STIs, they can also help you make sex last longer. For most guys, a condom decreases penis sensitivity—the thicker the condom, the less he’ll feel and the longer it will take him to orgasm. Condoms come in all different thicknesses, ranging from 0.05 millimeters to 1 millimeter. If you’re looking for a thick condom to decrease sensation, try Lifestyles Extra Strength. (Never, however, double up on condoms. That is a recipe for condom slippage and tearing.)

13. Strengthen your pelvic floor.
Kegel exercises—basically squeezing your pelvic floor muscles as you would to stop peeing midstream—can help heighten your arousal. The stronger your pelvic floor muscles, the stronger your orgasm. Men can do their own version of Kegels. “Studies show that Kegel exercises can help men improve the strength of their erection and help with premature ejaculation,” says Levine.

14. Cheer yourself on.
You’ve been going at it for an hour. Your hair has never been more tangled, all your mascara has somehow left your eyelashes and flaked on to your cheeks, and the lacy bra you so carefully picked out is just a heap on the floor. How do you keep going when your pre-coital look has clearly fallen apart but you’re not quite ready to throw in the towel? Do a little mental cheerleading with yourself. Take a moment to check in with your body regardless of how it may look and remember: you were sexy before and you’ll be sexy after. In fact, right now, you’re doing great—mascara flakes and all!

15. Take a breather.
Remember when Michael Scott ate a whole bowl of fettuccine Alfredo to prepare for a race? Don’t do that. Do, however, take water breaks—or cuddle/massage/chat/shower breaks during sex. Intimacy and sensuality mean a lot of different things to different people.

“Maybe that’s explicit sexual acts or maybe not,” says Levkoff. A shower, for example, doesn’t have to mean sex is over—it can be a part of the ongoing sexual experience, a steamy break before orgasm number two.

16. Make it into a game.
As Levkoff points out, sex isn’t just penetration. There are so many things that fall under the tier of sex that to limit your concept of sex as just penetration, is to miss out on a lot.

If you want to make sex last longer, Stubbs suggests making it into a game. Whether it’s a game you came up with on your own or something you purchase at a sex toy store, there are a lot of different and creative ways to prolong sex if you see the bigger picture. A deck of cards, flipping through the Kama Sutra for ideas, sex-related board games, or DTF dice are all things that can slow down the action and stave off the ending even longer.

17. Fantasize about it after the action is over.
Who says Sunday’s romp can’t be Tuesday’s fantasy? This way, that one time she surprised you with a new move won’t just be exciting in the moment, but for weeks to come (no pun intended).

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