Lasting All Night: Desirable or Detrimental?

Popular media can have you believing that lasting “all night long” during a sexual encounter is the best thing ever but, believe it or not, it sure as heck isn’t. Yes, enjoying sex and not rushing to orgasm or making it the goal is the best thing ever but have you ever had sex for so long it actually hurts and you’re just … done? I remember distinctly in 8th grade making out with a boy and when we finally stopped, I think an hour later, my jaw hurt, I had no saliva left, and he said: “wow, I’ve never made out for that long before.” Uh same, dude and now I know why. Flash forward to an older and more sexually active age and the same thing happened, but this time with penetration. “Wow, I’ve never had sex for that long before.” Uh, same- and again, I know why.

Why is there a complex for lasting? Why is this something that has been spun to sound desirable? Is there an actual reason our partners or ourselves to think that it’s imperative for sex to last a specific (likely too long) amount of time? Why does long sex = good sex? Is my partner actually enjoying this hour-long activity?? *side note: this discussion is strictly about consensual sexual activity between two consenting adults*


A quick google search of lasting in bed comes up with pages upon pages of articles with various titles along the lines of “How to last longer” and zero articles on how to speed up long-winded, starting to get sore and bored sex; or alternatively, how to determine the optimal length of time for you, your partner, and your bodies. From Cosmo to Medical Daily everyone has at least 5 tips on how to keep going. If you’ve ever experienced a sexual encounter that lasted way too long, been tapping your finger waiting for the finish line, or decided not to finish because it was taking WAY too long, you likely want to read about how to navigate those difficult situations rather than how to make them longer.

Harry Fisch, author of the book The New Naked: The Ultimate Sex Education for Grown-Ups, found that although an astonishing 45% of men finish sex within two minutes, the average duration is 7.3 minutes — only four minutes less than women’s ideal time.

Adam and Eve, the famous sex toy shop did a survey and found that the average couple spends about 20 minutes engaging in foreplay. They also found that 12.5% of people who said their sexual encounters usually average over an hour long.

Yep, to that 12.5% that admitted it, we’re talking to you and we’re in the same damn boat.

But while we’re in the googling mood, let’s check these other typical searches out: 

Having sex for long periods of time can actually be pretty detrimental to your vagina, penis, labia, foreskin, clit, legs, anus, mouth, tongue, fingers…. should we keep going? In one study of the effects of too much sex/too long of sexual encounters there has been found that there are plenty of negative side effects from going “all night long” *cue Lionel Richie* the list includes but is not limited to:

  • Bruising
  • Muscle Strains/Pulls
  • Soreness and Swelling
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Nerve Damage

…and the list continues

What this list of physical ailments that could come from longer-than-desired romps in the sheets does not include is the emotional strain that may come along with these types of interactions. First and foremost: boredom.

Now we are huge advocates for seeking to ensure everyone is enjoying themselves during sex, so we don’t think it’s a good practice to roll over the second you’re finished without giving your partner a chance to do the same, but the line needs to be drawn somewhere. When it gets to the point that one partner is no longer aroused, has become disinterested, and is perhaps even uncomfortable, something has got to give. These prolonged interactions can make one or both parties feel awkward and unsure what to say, they can cause physical pain or discomfort, and they may even cause emotional distress. So, rather than brave through these hard times (pun intended), here are three tips to help ease a bit of the “all night long” blues.

  1. Lube, Lube, and More Lube: Keep a bottle of lube next to your bed and apply it frequently throughout your sexual encounter, giving your body no change to run out of natural lubricant and experience dryness, discomfort, or chafing. This will ease the interaction and may give you a chance to enjoy it for longer and more consistently.
  2. Dip Back Into Foreplay: When you know, you know. If you are certain that your current session is no longer doing anything for you, give yourself a break and tap out for a moment. Pleasure your partner with your hands, your mouth, or dry humping. The change of pace my excite them and hurry along the process or (best case scenario) it may re-excite you.
  3. OPEN COMMUNICATION: Any partner is allowed to withdraw consent at any point, period. If you don’t want to do something anymore, you can say so. If you’d like to continue but switch it up, be honest and open with what you need. Additionally, don’t fake enjoyment when you aren’t enjoying something! How is someone supposed to know you need a change of pace, position, or something of the sort if you’re screaming with pleasure? Be honest, that’s all you need to do.

Almost anything can be remedied with some good old fashioned honesty. If your partner is lasting so long in bed that it is having negative effects on your body or your mental health, you need to say something. On the flip side, if there is something that is making you have trouble reaching climax and resulting in your lasting extraordinarily long, something needs to be said in this case as well. Choose your words carefully, speak about it outside of your sexual experience in a calm, controlled environment, and be completely honest with yourself and your partner about what you need and want either sexually, romantically, or both.

Last but not least, before buying into the hyperbolized, heteronormative, hyper-masculine propaganda out there such as the messages about lasting all night, dial it down to the individual and ask yourself what feels right and good for YOU; chances are you’ll realize that most of the messages floating around are attached to a product, trend, ideology, or price tag that you simply do not need in your life.

 

 

 

Sasha

Co- Founder of Psych n Sex, previous writer and campus educator for the Kinsey Institute & published psychology researcher. Manhattan girl obsessed with post ww2 abstract expressionism, beet juice, vintage clothing & Scandinavia.

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