Friday Weird Science: Sex Therapists and the Expectations

We hereby take a break from the female reproductive cycle to ask:
How’s your sex life?
How do you FEEL about your sex life?
sex therapist.jpg
(If Sci were a psychiatrist, she would have to have this as her computer background.)
More importantly, how does your SEX THERAPIST feel about your sex life?
ResearchBlogging.org Corty EW, Guardiani JM. “Canadian and American sex therapists’ perceptions of normal and abnormal ejaculatory latencies: how long should intercourse last?” Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2008.


Of course, you might not think that your sex therapists opinion had much to do with your sex life, but really, it does. After all, people who study sex will provide the prevailing wisdom on how often is often enough and how long is long enough. So the opinion of your sex therapist could have a lot to do with how you perceive your OWN sex life. Which could have a lot to do, in turn, with how your sex life is. You might think your sex life is just fine, thank you, until your therapist turns to you with furrowed brow and says “you only last HOW long?”
Yikes.
What you really need to know is whether the opinion of your sex therapist matches up with what the majority of the population actually experiences in terms of their sex lives. You want to make sure your therapist is basing his opinions of your sexual complaints on reality.
So what to do? Poll the sex therapists, of course.
These authors asked a bunch of sex therapists their opinions on what duration of sexual intercourse they thought was “adequate,””desirable,””too short,” or “too long.” Keep in mind, by “sexual intercourse”, we mean time spent penis in vagina and thrusting.
And what did they come up with?
sex therpist1.jpg
So you can see that “adequate” was around 3-7 min, “desirable” around 7-13 min, “too short” from 1-2 min, and “too long” from 10-30.
The study concluded that the therapists opinions on the subject were consistent with objective data on ejaculation latency, in that they think 3-13 min is normative.
But Sci was curious (like normal). So she compared these results to the ones she covered back in December of 2009 (not so long ago), when they gave a bunch of guys stopwatches to see how long they really took.
The average there? 5 min. So the “adequate” designation of the sex therapists apparently matches right up. However, it appears that the “desirable” designation (7-13 min) does not.
See the graph
sex therpist2.jpg
Judging from the way the graph falls off, Sci would think “desirable” would be around 7 min, maybe 7-9, but 13 seems a bit much.
It looks like the sex therapists had a good idea of what ejaculation latency looks like at the lower end, but 13 minutes is still more than a little bit high.
But this leaves Sci with a question. A very, very important question. What about the WOMEN!? We know what’s normal, and we know what’s “desirable” for the males, but do women want to be humped for 13 minutes straight? After all, it takes two to tango. Sci wants to see that study!
Corty, E., & Guardiani, J. (2008). Canadian and American Sex Therapists’ Perceptions of Normal and Abnormal Ejaculatory Latencies: How Long Should Intercourse Last? The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5 (5), 1251-1256 DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00797.x

17 Responses

  1. From the looks of it 3-13 minutes is the norm. So both studies were similiar in their findings. Does the answer vary with age?

  2. Where these therapists all men?
    Who the hell thought 10 minutes was too long? A pig lasts longer. Literally.
    I think the poll was dumb. The length of acceptable intercourse is contextual. Sometimes I’d like a freakin’ quickie, yeah! Race you to the finish, who gets off first?
    But even my personal playtime flying solo length varies.
    I seriously would like to meet the people that thought 10 minutes of sex was too long. I wonder if they’re as expedient in other areas of life? I’ll bet I have bowel movements that outlast their intercourse sessions.
    And I’m a pretty fast pooper.

  3. So is this, like…you start the stopwatch when you start with the insertion-and-thrusting stuff, then when you take a break from that and do something else you pause the stopwatch, then you start with the thrusting again and hit the button again, then…?
    Just sayin’, that kind of external job to be performed will mess up your sexytimes something fierce. This might have impacted the results a bit.

  4. “we know what’s “desirable” for the males”
    Do we?

  5. 1. That second graph is just weird, not totalling to 100%. This issue is briefly mentioned in the December post, but I still don’t fully understand what it’s supposed to show.
    2. How is “desirable” defined and what makes you think it’s “for men”? I wouldn’t go quite as far as saying that for men it would be 0 minutes (i.e. as soon as they try), but I have the feeling that the desirability of lasting longer mainly comes from women (who also want to get off). Or from what men think women want.

  6. *confused* But a good fuck doesn’t consist of a single period of uninterrupted thrusting. You at least gotta take breaks for switching positions, not to mention all the good non-thrusting activities. They asked the wrong question.

  7. We hereby take a break from the female reproductive cycle

    It’s that easy?O_o

  8. I have to agree with Inky and Martin R.

  9. For people that think 13 minutes is too short, remember that they’re only talking about the thrusting component for sex. Obviously any decent sex is going to involve a lot more than just that.

  10. So is this, like…you start the stopwatch when you start with the insertion-and-thrusting stuff, then when you take a break from that and do something else you pause the stopwatch, then you start with the thrusting again and hit the button again, then…?
    Just sayin’, that kind of external job to be performed will mess up your sexytimes something fierce. This might have impacted the results a bit.

    Presumably the ideal way to do this would be to record the encounter, then use the video later to determine the time spent thrusting.

  11. Several points, y’all.
    Just to clear things up: the only people tested for time to ejaculation were men. The sex therapists polled, I have no idea, it was a survey through an association and they didn’t report that.😦
    And to make it clear: ejaculation latency was JUST time spent thrusting. Which yes, probably does make your experience a little more boring than usual. How this contributes to ejaculation latency Sci does not venture to guess.🙂
    And it’s true, it would be interesting to compare results of how long men last vs how long they THINK they should last, with the poll also given to women to see what they think. No studies on lesbians, I’m afraid, but since this is on male ejaculation latency, well, the female orgasm latency is for another study.

  12. Odd little bias in the answer choices–there’s “adequate” for “shorter than desirable, but not too short” but nothing for “longer than desirable, but not too long”

  13. As far as the sex therapists go, I would tend to assume that they were mostly women. While there are male sex therapists, the majority seem to be women. Although if they are including surrogates as therapists (both would be involved in the same professional organization) then the numbers might be closer to an even split.
    And cmb, there is definitely wiggle room:) There are things to be done for women who want more in the way of thrusting and of course, things to be done for those who want less…
    The very best thing about sex, there are no wrong preferences…
    (as long as they are completely consentual and preferably safe)

  14. Next door to the office is a psychotherapist, she needed to borrow our vacuum cleaner, when she saw the long crevice tool, she laughed “Wow, its got a vibrator too!” I’m guessing she’s a sex therapist…

  15. But this leaves Sci with a question. A very, very important question. What about the WOMEN!? We know what’s normal, and we know what’s “desirable” for the males, but do women want to be humped for 13 minutes straight? After all, it takes two to tango. Sci wants to see that study!

    I absolutely agree! It’s kind of interesting that there is all this attention, and pressure, on the length of a man’s performance (ie ejactulation latency), but no corresponding data on general female preferences of the same!

  16. Now seriously.. I often have sex longer than an hour. 4.30h is my max but about 60-70 min is what I love. Is that weird? I never had complains.. one girl needed a rest in between, but only once.

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