Wednesday, November 26, 2008

sweet sex

Short and Sweet Intercourse Satisfies Most...

Old married folks have joked about it for years... the reality of lovemaking with your partner is that it is rarely as long and intense as in the movies. Whereas the movie-star version of sexual intercourse may look like an epic drama, real people make far faster work of it -- and the dirty little secret recently uncovered by researchers at Penn State is that most of us should be perfectly happy with short, sweet intimate encounters.


Eric Corty, PhD, associate professor of clinical psychology at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, polled members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR) -- therapists and other professionals in human sexuality -- for their opinion. The results may surprise you.

Dr. Corty got responses from 34 SSTAR members (average length of time in practice was 26 years), who reported their opinion, partly based on the sexual experiences of their clients. Defining intercourse as lasting from penetration to ejaculation, it was deemed "adequate" if it lasts three to seven minutes. A "desirable" amount of time would be from seven to 13 minutes. Intercourse that lasts just one to two minutes was too short. It seemed too long (yes, too long) when and if it continues from 10 to 30 minutes. And, no, there was no difference between what men and women reported... there was a general consensus from both genders about what constitutes a desirable length of time.

Just as it is said that you can't be too rich or too thin, Dr. Corty told me he had longstanding curiosity about the popular idea that there's no such thing as sex that lasts too long. Dr. Corty felt concern that this belief put unrealistic performance expectations upon men, so he wanted to know if such longevity is a myth or if it is actually desirable. What he learned from the sex therapists is that prolonged intercourse generally means there is a problem -- men suffering from delayed or retarded ejaculation rather than possessing remarkable stamina. It turns out that such long-lasting intercourse is uncomfortable for the women involved as well -- Dr. Corty says, as they end up questioning their desirability.


What the survey did not evaluate however, was how much time couples devote to foreplay. Dr. Corty says he didn't ask about this and admits that the idea of intercourse as specifically penetration is a male-focused view of sex. However, he says that loving and satisfying sex should indeed include "hugging, kissing, caressing, etc.," in order to be fulfilling for both people, however long it lasts.


Eric Corty, PhD, associate professor of clinical psychology, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

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