Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 10/20/2021
A rush of performance anxiety mixes with excitement, and the result is chaos — how many of us have been there?
Whether it’s with a new partner or a familiar one, the result of finishing, ejaculating or cumming too fast can be disastrous for more than just the mood.
You feel ashamed, and your partner feels compelled to be reassuring at best, and disappointed or turned off at worst.
Whether this is a one-time problem or a recurring issue in your life, it’s perfectly normal to be self-conscious about how long you last in bed.
The important thing, however, is to understand why it’s happening and how you can help it.
Whether you are or aren’t learning more about lasting longer in bed is the key to unlocking those extra minutes (or longer, maybe).
But perhaps before we start down the litany of solutions for your too-brief sexual encounter problem, we should look at the question on many men’s minds: how long should you last?
The “how long” question is likely as old as modern civilization. We can imagine the women of our early cave-dwelling ancestors quietly gossiping about how many cricket chirps it took for their partners to finish the night before.
Men, likewise, have probably asked how to last longer in bed for all of recorded history (or since the invention of Google, at least).
But for as long as the “how long” question has been around, we’ve had varying answers. These days, we look to science and scientific studies.
A recent study, for example, found that the typical sexual intercourse session between male and female partners lasts between three and 13 minutes.
What your “average ejaculation time” should be is a complicated question to answer, because partners don’t always have similar needs, preferences or expectations.
With penetrative sex, for instance, the receiving partner may need longer to finish, but also experience more discomfort the longer the sex lasts.
Likewise, the penetrating partner might be inclined to achieve orgasm sooner, but delay to please their partner, as well.
That’s just for penetrative sex. Other acts can have entirely different timeframes.
What constitutes the “right” average ejaculation time is also a matter of taste, but unlike with music, there’s a little less diversity of opinion.
That same study mentioned above about average sexual intercourse sessions also found that there were ranges of time related to satisfaction levels: one to two minutes was too short, three to seven minutes was adequate, seven to 13 minutes was ideal, and the range for “too long” fell between 10 and 30 minutes.
These ranges may have data behind them, but they’re also another example of something not often discussed in the “how long” debate: the fact that people’s preferences can differ.
You may cum too fast for someone who loves an hour-long session, but for a sexual partner that prefers quickies, your five minutes (plus some foreplay) might be their ideal sexual encounter.
In other words, cumming too fast is relative — to a degree, at least — and it’s important not to get hung up on the minutes, but rather to focus on whether everyone enjoyed themselves.
If your sexual partner isn’t satisfied when you’re done, perhaps it’s because you’re not lasting long enough.
And if you cum before you feel satisfied, perhaps you’re experiencing ejaculation control issues.
There are a lot of men dealing with this condition, so if you’re finding that you cum too fast, you’re definitely not alone.
Some estimates put the number of men dealing with PE as high as 39 percent, which means two of every five basketball players on the court at any given time are coming up short on more than their free throws.
PE diagnoses require a certain number of criteria, too. For instance, the World Health Organization says you have premature ejaculation issues if you find yourself ejaculating with minimal sexual stimulation (just a little over-the-pants contact) or shortly after penetration (just a few pumps).
The key difference, however, is that you’re ejaculationg before you would ideally prefer to, meaning you don’t actually have control over it. This will typically cause you and/or a partner distress.
Sound familiar? It might be time to consult a healthcare provider about your stamina problem. A trained professional will be able to further diagnose you, and they may be able to single out individual root causes.
At the very least, they’ll be able to offer some guidance on how to deal with premature ejaculation.
It’s possible that advice may include treatment with medication, but there are other techniques and tools at your disposal to help you better control your ejaculatory response.
Let’s take a look at some of the tips for doing that.
Whether you have premature ejaculation or not, there are some ways to keep from finishing too early.
Consider employing a condom if you’re not using one, or switch to thicker condoms if the ones you’re using leave you too much sensitivity.
Some condoms even come equipped with numbing agents specifically for this purpose, but you may want to mention your concerns to a healthcare professional before switching to medicated condoms — allergies to certain numbing agents can be a real problem.
If you’re nearly finished and your partner isn’t even out of the gate yet, calling for a brief pause can give you a moment to relax and keep from finishing too early.
Sometimes referred to as the start-stop technique, a quick mid-session pause is a simple way to stave off rapid ejaculation.
The science is so-so on this technique for premature ejaculation sufferers, and one of the most prominent studies of start-stop (also known as stop-start technique) left unanswered questions about whether it was only beneficial in conjunction with other treatments.
But if it works for you, great.
Bonus tip: take the time to address some of your partner’s needs until you’re ready to dive back in. There’s no reason why the entire show has to stop just because the star needs a break.
One way you might extend your sexual stamina is by working out — just make sure it’s a particular muscle group.
Pelvic floor exercises are basically a practice of contracting the muscle you use to hold in urine, training it to be firmer, and giving you the muscle control to hold back if you want to hit the brakes on ejaculation.
No serious studies have been done on the right technique, however, so you’re just going to have to feel this one out yourself — don’t pull anything.
Great sex might just require you to add another tool to your utility belt. Rather than pocketing condoms (or in addition to — there’s always room for safety in the bedroom!) you might pack a couple of PE wipes for the big night.
Premature ejaculation wipes are like moist towelettes, except instead of cleaning agents to get rid of barbecue sauce, they’re coated with a numbing agent like lidocaine or benzocaine.
These guys have backing for PE treatment from research, too: a small randomized study of 21 men showed that PE wipes increase ejaculatory control and decreased distress for many users.
If you’re not digging the wipes, benzocaine is also available as a liquid spray aerosol, and as a cream.
But make sure to use them a few minutes before sex (as opposed to right before), so that you don’t numb your partner, too.
Trying to snatch victory from the jaws of PE? One technique is to simply snatch the tip of your penis and squeeze for a few seconds.
No joke: the squeeze technique was pretty much the only medically recommended premature ejaculation solution until the ‘90s, which seems crazy to think with all the treatments available now.
The limitations are of course many: in addition to the olympic feat of self control required, you’ve also got to find the right amount of pressure to restrict but not cut off blood flow.
It turns out that the popular class of antidepressant medication, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), have actually been shown to possess the ability to affect the hardwire connection between your penis and brain.
Difficulty completing during sex is labeled as a side effect of SSRIs, but if you’ve got premature ejaculation issues or just want to last longer before you cum, these medications may help solve two problems.
A study done on this showed that literally 100 percent of the participating men saw improvement in their stamina and premature ejaculation issues.
Whether your time to cum ratio is off subjectively or because you’re suffering from premature ejaculation, there are solutions available to you, including things that you can do without the help of a healthcare provider.
That said, one of the smartest first things you can do for yourself is talk to a healthcare professional.
The relief you’ll feel from knowing whether you have a problem or not is going to put a lot of the stress around this issue to rest immediately and, regardless of whether you have PE or not, knowing will open up options that you currently don’t have.
That might include other treatments for PE or a referral from your healthcare professional to get something else.
As for the stopwatch, you can put that back in the drawer — time is relative. The point is to for everyone to enjoy themselves, not fill out a spreadsheet. As long as you’re doing that, who cares?
Insider tips, early access and more.