We all know the answer to this, it’s been drummed into our heads, we know it’s all about foreplay. Thing is, we may all be wrong. A study with a very long name, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found the amount of time intercourse lasted was more important for a woman to have an orgasm during intercourse than was the amount of foreplay. For those of you who struggle with premature ejaculation this study is of no help – sorry about that. For the rest of you…
There are some details not given by the study, and some discrepancies with what is common in the States (the study was done with 2,360 Czech women) so this is not the definitive answer to the issue. However, it is interesting, and it does line up with some anecdotal information we’ve heard a number of times. In the study the women reported an average of 15.4 minutes of foreplay, and 16.2 minutes of intercourse. This would be about the same total time as is found in many studies of couples in the States, but in those there is far more foreplay and much less intercourse. When intercourse lasted 1 to 10 minutes (those lasting less than a minute were excluded), half of the women said they orgasmed “most of the time”. When intercourse lasted 11 to 20 minutes, two-thirds experienced orgasm most of the time. When intercourse exceeded 20 minutes, 72% climaxed most of the time.
If these findings are valid (I’m not doubting they are, but another study finding much the same would help a great deal) what might it mean? Some thoughts based on this study and things we’ve heard over the years
- Clearly some foreplay is needed for most women most of the time. Sometimes a woman is past ready, but this is the exception. However, if her mind and marriage relationship are in a good place, the needed amount of time may be less than we’ve all been told. For many women 15 minutes, give or take, was plenty.
- Sometimes too much foreplay can be a problem. Some women sometimes reach a point where they want and need intercourse to start, and if it does not happen right then they find it difficult to get into it and to climax after more foreplay.
- Duration of intercourse is critical. Those who claim “any woman who will climax by intercourse will have done so by ten minutes” may be very wrong. Going another ten minutes meant another 12% climaxed, and going past that meant another 10% still. If you can go half an hour, do so unless she indicates she is sore or just ready to be done.
- Much of what we’ve been told about sex is less than accurate, and even what is right for “most” people is not right for some. Please don’t stick to something that is “supposed to work” if it’s not.
Yes, the rates of female orgasm given in the study are significantly higher than what is found in the States. However, the durations of intercourse are also much longer, which may well explain the difference.
Women’s partnered orgasm consistency is associated with greater duration of penile-vaginal intercourse but not of foreplay – Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6 (1), 135-141 DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01041.x