Sex Talk: Duration

It’s not how long you make it; it’s how you make it long. And we’re talking minutes, not inches here. Many of us idealize marathon sex sessions that last till the wee hours. But those of us who have been around the booty block know that’s often not quite what we get.

For whatever reason—impatience, over-enthusiasm, lack of control, having to get up early the next day—funtime can be brief. Even the passing years may play a part. “Yes,” says one man in his 40s, “I love to get completely lost in sex and spend hours playing. But as I get older, my endurance isn’t what it once was.”

Surprisingly, perhaps, many folks actually prefer rather brief encounters. One gay guy who follows the news says, “A recent large study of hetero couples found that most of them typically had sex for between three and 13 minutes. What’s more, most of them preferred a session that lasted longer than seven minutes, but less than a quarter-hour.” He grins. “Of course, they’re straight.”

So are gay guys just greedier? Perhaps it’s a matter of so many queer men working hard on their sexual technique. Or it could be the blurring of “foreplay” and “real sex” when it comes to male/male messing around. Whatever the reason, it seems that for many gays, coming isn’t the be-all and end-all of sex. Rather, the journey and the goal are one, and many of us like that trip to last. As one bottom proclaims, “I like to be screwed forever…or at least for as long as my butt can stand it.”

On the other hand, a quick “wham, bam” can be wondrous, too. Recalls one lucky fellow, “I was parking my motorcycle when I spotted the cutest damn guy walking along, talking on his cell phone. Within three minutes, we were in my apartment, naked and hard. The sex just never slowed up. It was hurried, frantic, intense, and absolutely great.”

How long you do it can be influenced by the choice of whom you do. A partnered guy says, “I’ve been in an open relationship for nearly a decade. When my honey and I have sex, it usually doesn’t last longer than 15 minutes. But if I’m exploring with a stranger, I can go for many times that. Either way, what matters is how good whoever and I feel. Sex is not an Olympic event—though sometimes it feels like it.”

It’s all well and good to prefer quality to quantity, but guys can have both in bed. If it’s important to you to hump for hours, you might practice solo by masturbatorily edging yourself to your limits, backing off, and then getting excited again…and again. “I’ve found through experimentation that there are muscles I can tense,” says one long-laster, “that pull me back from the brink of orgasm—usually.”

“Start slow and ramp up” is also good advice. And it may seem like a cliche, but communication can be the key to long-lasting lust. Attention to body language can prevent you from pushing a partner to orgasm, and just a simple “I’m close, so back off” can keep coming from coming too soon.

As with the rest of life, variety is the spice of screwing. If disinterest hits your—or his—dingus, try a carnal change-up. One of the nice things about a long sex session is that it provides an opportunity to explore. Sure, you could suck till the cows come home, but what if your pal would like to try a little fingering, or maybe a bit of bondage? Go for it—you can always fill your mouth again later.
And of course, there are pharmaceutical aids to keeping it up, though it’s wise to take them only under medical supervision.

Protracted penis play can have its downsides, though. Jaws get tired. Butts get sore. Many of us simply can’t stay hard for hours, at least without penis rings or pills. And there’s always the possibility of a boyfriend getting bored. Things can get especially tricky if one of you wants to keep on sucking, while the other is ready to get up and make coffee. “Just because someone can play for hours, doesn’t mean that he should,” says one often-well-worn bottomboy.

Whether you tend to be a sprinter or a marathoner, take heart. As with other sex-related things, the desired duration of lovemaking is a highly personal matter. Whether it’s five-minute head in the backseat of a car, or a dusk-to-dawn fandango in a candlelit suite, what matters most is the pleasure you give and take. However long it lasts.

Simon Sheppard is the editor of Homosex: Sixty Years of Gay Erotica, and the author of Sex Parties 101, Kinkorama, and In Deep: Erotic Stories, and can be reached at [email protected] Visit Simon at

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