What Surveys Reveal About Premature Ejaculation

stopwatch in a hand to time sex duration

Is the average length of time men last for during sex 5.4 minutes? Do 3% or 30% of men have premature ejaculation?

Researchers have tried to find the answers to questions like these many times over the years, often with very different results.

Not everyone agrees on the exact definition of premature ejaculation, so the exact number is hard to pin down for the average interested person.

The definition of PE makes a difference

The International Society for Sexual Medicine says there are ‘estimated prevalence rates of up to 30%’ rather than giving an exact figure.

Perhaps this is because they have a different definition for lifelong PE (under 1 minute) and aquired PE later in life (under 3 minutes).

In contrast, the American Psychiatric Association’s stricter definition of sex regularly lasting under 1 minute would mean a more conservative figure of 3% have premature ejaculation.

So in this article, I’ll look at some interesting studies which have tried to find out how long men last for. And how many men could be seen as having premature ejaculation – depending on who you ask.


Surveys into the length of sex

1. In 2005, a study involving 500 couple in 5 countries found that:

  • The average time men last during sex is 5.4 minutes.
  • The average time decreased with age: 6.5 minutes for 18-30 year olds. But just 4.3 minutes in those older than 51.
  • The average time was not affected by condom use.

2. In the 2006 Congress of the European Society for Sexual Medicine, American researchers reported the average time during sex for men with premature ejaculation was 1.8 minutes. And that 2.5% finish in under 1.5 minutes during sex.

3. Going back a long time, in a study in the 1940s in America, three quarters of men said they lasted for under 2 minutes in half of their sexual experiences.

4. In 2010, a study of 2037 Korean men found:

  • 27.5% reported that they had PE.
  • 38.6% ejaculated during sex within 5 to 10 minutes.
  • 29.9% lasted longer than 10 minutes.
  • 23.6% finished in 2-5 minutes.
  • 5.4% finished in 1-2 minutes.
  • 2.5% finished in under 1 minute.

The number of men with PE changes according to the definition

In 2015, researchers published an interesting article about the effect of changing the exact definition of premature ejaculation.

This was in response to a change in the definition of premature ejaculation by the American Psychiatric Association. Their new definition included more stringent points, including:

  • Ejaculating during sex in under 1 minute.
  • Ejaculating before the desired time.
  • Causing distress to the person.

The researchers found that if you changed the time to 2 minutes, for example, or how much distress it causes, then it has a major impact on the percentage of men who would have PE.

They published a program where you can alter different conditions to see how many men in their subset of 374 would be diagnosed as having PE.

For example, if you put in: 1 minute, 75% of the time, and causes distress 50% of the time, then 4.55% men would have it.

But if you change just the time to 2 minutes, it becomes 14.71% of men.

It’s interesting to change the conditions to see whether the time, distress or frequency has the biggest impact on the number of men that would be given a diagnosis of PE.


Surveys about satisfaction levels

In 2008, a survey of American and Canadian sex therapists looked at how long women actually want sex to last for:

  1. Too short: 1-2 minutes
  2. Adequate: 3-7 minutes
  3. Desirable 7-13 minutes
  4. Too long: 10-30 minutes

A large survey of 10,000 people in 2010 by Men’s Health magazine in conjunction with NBC found interesting differences in how men and women perceive sex.

In terms of lasting time, men said:

  1. 23% – always last long enough.
  2. 52% – usually last long enough.
  3. 20% – have difficulties with it, though not always.
  4. 5% – rarely last as long as they want to.

In the same survey, these are the responses the women gave:

  1. 38% said their man always lasts long enough.
  2. 43% said not always, but most of the time.
  3. 13% said he finds it difficult.
  4. 6.5% said he rarely last long enough.

Just 22% of women quoted how long the man lasts as their main complaint. Their number one complaint was not enough foreplay.


Interesting points in the surveys

You can see from these surveys that premature ejaculation statistics can vary enormously.

Still, there are a few key points which taken together give an insight into the reality of sexual stamina. And more importantly, the reality of how long women want men to last:

  • Many men experience premature ejaculation regularly, and many more men at least sometimes.
  • The average lasting time for men appears to between 5 and 6 minutes.
  • Many women don’t want sex that goes on for a long time. 7-13 minutes is plenty as long as there’s good foreplay and other forms of intimacy happening.
  • Women don’t find the length of time the main concern – lack of foreplay is.

What does it mean for you?

These statistics will mean different things to different men. You might have what you view as severe premature ejaculation, maybe ejaculating before you even have sex. In which case reaching 5 minutes or longer may seem a long way off.

But at the same time, for many men, it’s achievable to get to the average 5 to 6 minutes with some treatment or self-help.

But ultimately, the actual length of time you need to last for will depend on both you and your partner’s wishes. There’s no point thinking you need to be better than the global average to be good in bed.

You only need to last long enough for you and your partner to be happy. Whether that’s 2, 5 ,10 or 20 minutes depends on the particular combination of people that you are. Not on statistics and surveys.


What can help?

If it’s a serious ongoing issue for you, and you aren’t shy to talk about it, it can help to bring it up with your doctor.

You might also find it helpful to read my breakdown of the different self-help treatment options.

Your view

What do you think an adequate amount of time is for sex? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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