Satisfactory sex takes 3-13 what?

Researchers at Penn State have concluded that satisfactory sexual intercourse for couples lasts from three to 13 minutes, contrary to popular fantasy about the need for hours of sexual activity. They arrived at these conclusions by conducting a survey of U.S. and Canadian sex therapists and published their findings in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

In this blog entry, Val Willingham, Medical Producer at CNN, echoes my feelings about this type of research:

"I realize sex studies will continue," he says. "But wouldn't it be nice if the money they put into this kind of research could go to finding the cure for breast, prostate or cervical cancer? Who cares if you go three minutes or three hours? If you wake up smiling, that's all that counts. Put the stopwatches away, and get down to some real research."


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Whenever I see the line "do some real research", I wince. So often I hear this used to deride theoretical or non-applied research as a waste of money, without any thought given to the rewards that have come from research that had no "real goal" at the time besides the pursuit of knowledge.
Also, I think many scientist would question specifically whether the huge amounts of money we pour into cancer research already, while more or less ignoring widespread diseases in "commercially weak" markets, is an argument to make against putting even more money into it.

Dear PA,
Thank you for your comment and for providing a different perspective on the subject.

The "huge amounts" of money that are poured into cancer research are into breast cancer not prostate so knock off the generalizations.

I doubt much money was spent on this, and not everyone can cure cancer. By widening the expected "range of normalcy", sex research has liberated millions of people from unnecessary guilt and recriminations and let them lead happier lives. A huge contribution to the quality of human life.

Whenever the word sex is mentioned in public people argue, disagree and get all worked up. It is obvious, we all know that good sex does not take more than 15 minutes regardless of or bragging and what the porn industry say.


I'm sorry, but I'm genuinely astounded. Multiple medical sources state that it takes an average of 20 minutes of direct clitoral stimulation for a woman to orgasm. So, who is 13 minutes good for, really? No wonder they measured from penetration to ejaculation! They're completely ignoring the other half of the equation in defining "good" sex.

Satisfactory sex is why we have marriage counsellors, sex therapists, psychologists, etc. Read Dr. Ruth Westheimer for christsake! There are tons of good books on the subject, and I'm fairly certain there is an audio library of them for the blind and illiterate. If two people do not work together for mutual satisfaction, time is of no consequence anyway. Some of the best sex I ever had sometimes only lasted 10 to 15 minutes; but that did not mean my husband was inadequate at it.

As a matter of fact, that husband died on Dec. 29, 2003 from squamous cell carcinoma (neoplastic etiology) of the head and neck, or lung, or wherever the fatal cells began. They were never able to pinpoint any origin. He had x-rays seven months before they found it; and when they found it it was already at stage four and there was nothing they could do. It had already metastasized and was hugging major heart vessels (i.e., descending aorta, pulmonary artery, and the superior vena cava - not to mention the main stem bronchi, trachea, and 17 lymph glands that were removed from his neck). Four or five months later, he began developing necrotic tumors in several different places, even with the intense radiation and chemotherapy (cisplatin and 5FU carried home in a backpack). I turned into a nurse overnight. He had always been highly prone to sebaceous cysts too.

With it hugging his heart like that, and without the newer laser technology (or maybe even with it), he was a walking dead man. There was only one other person, a 35 year old man with a wife and five small children, who died within the first four months we knew them, that had something similar. I remember his nurse saying that it seemed like every time they got a grip on one type of cancer something much more aggressive and evil came along to take its place.

Today, the woman who was my angel when he died has stomach cancer that is already in stage four. Even M.D. Anderson in Houston said there was nothing they can do, and they have added years to countless of those supposedly hopeless cases.

I'm with Karen! Screw sex research! Dump it into cancer, or AIDS Vaccine Research (that would certainly make everyone's sex life better), or something that has a terrifying attrition rate because science doesn't know enough about it!

I apologize for the long post, Karen.

After all, life begins with sex. I think that it is worth studying it the best we can. It can be important, in the future, for human kind to survive. But I understand Angel's post. I could live without sex. But it would be very difficult to live without a hugh.

By M. Abrantes (not verified) on 09 Jun 2008 #permalink

3 - 13 minutes seems about right for us guys but 13 minutes usually leaves our partners out in the cold. That's what they make vibrating toys for.