How to Last Longer In Bed – The Complete Guide

The Do’s and Don’ts for Sexual Stamina and Satisfying Your Partner

happy couple in bed after sex

Do you wish you could keep going for longer? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! It’s a no brainer: both men and women all around the world would love to spend more time feeling that ecstasy, intimacy, and connection. But for many people, sex ends far too soon, and it feels like it’s all over mere moments after it began! As men, this can cause big problems when it comes to our self-esteem, relationship quality, and overall life satisfaction.

Premature ejaculation – a disorder that’s usually diagnosed when you ejaculate in under two minutes – is a very common problem, affecting up to 30% of men. But even for those who don’t have this condition, lasting longer in bed is a real concern for men all over the world. In this article, we take you through everything you need to know, including how long you should be able to last in bed, what doesn’t work, and what you can do to improve your sexual stamina.

An important side note: The methods described below are effective for men who do have some degree of control over their ejaculation. But these would most likely be ineffective for men who suffer from full-blown premature ejaculation. Do you think that you might suffer from premature ejaculation? Then you should try our online premature ejaculation evaluation tool. If you are looking for ways to treat premature ejaculation, read our article on “how to prevent premature ejaculation” to get an extensive overview of the possible treatment methods.

How Long is Long Enough?

Do you ever wonder what’s actually considered normal, when it comes to the average time spent having sex? What counts as too fast? One study from 2008 found that most people spend anything between 3 and 13 minutes having sex. If you’re able to last longer than 3 minutes, then, this would be considered normal.

But these statistics can only tell us so much, because at the end of the day, sex is about more than just making it past a certain time. The end goal should be a feeling of sexual satisfaction for both you and your partner. The amount of time that it takes you to get there doesn’t really matter – as long as you’re getting there. One thing that often makes it harder to have mutually satisfying sexual experiences is the orgasm gap: read on to learn more.

Relationship Goals: Closing the Orgasm Gap

Men are hard-wired to ejaculate more quickly than women – this is called the orgasm gap. This crucial space of time between your orgasm and hers leaves so many men feeling ashamed and so many women feeling unsatisfied! A good relationship goal for any couple is to work toward closing that gap, so that both of you are able to experience enough sexual satisfaction before it’s all over!
A caveat: keep in mind that most women (75%, in fact) are unable to orgasm from penetration; and some women struggle to orgasm at all, whether from foreplay or sex. But this doesn’t mean you’re off the hook and that she doesn’t still enjoy the sexual contact or want you to be able to last that much longer!

Now that we have discussed the importance of closing the orgasm gap, let’s think about ways of putting that in action by lasting longer in bed.

7 Ways to Last Longer In Bed

  1. Try New Sex Positions

    Sex positions that apply less stimulation to the underside of the penis can help you last longer

    Sex positions that apply less stimulation to the underside of the penis can help you last longer

    Certain sex positions can help you to last longer by helping you to pace yourself without becoming too excited too quickly. For example, did you know that the underside of the penis is one of the most sensitive parts, because it has the most nerve endings? Any sex position that stimulates this part, including fast thrusting and deep penetration, can bring things to an end for you before you intended.

    You can use all this information to your advantage by trying out new styles that help you last longer. “Spooning” and “cowgirl” are two positions that reduce overstimulation. The same goes for most positions in which the woman is more dominant or where the man is able to keep his leg and pelvic muscles relaxed! If you want to learn more about the specific sex positions that help you last longer, then take a look at this article we wrote on the topic.

  2. Refractory Period

    Orgasming for the second time within a short period usually takes longer

    Orgasming for the second time within a short period usually takes longer

    The refractory period is the waiting time between your first orgasm and your second sex session, if you should opt to go for round two. The upside to doing this is that your penis will be less sensitive, making it easier for you to last longer the second-time round.

    Some men use this refractory period to their advantage, ejaculating quickly the first time and counting on the second time to last long enough for their partner to orgasm. The problem here is that your partner might be left frustrated and disappointed after your first ejaculation. Also, after a rest – most men need at least several minutes before they can get going again – she might not feel in the mood to start up again!

    One way of avoiding this problem is to masturbate in private, just before having sex. But the timing can be complicated: moments of sexual passion often happen when we’re least expecting them, and we can’t always plan to secretly sort ourselves out before the moment!

    Also, keep in mind that as we grow older we need to wait longer and longer – even up to a day – before we’re ready for round two. This means that the refractory period, whilst used successfully by many men, isn’t the most practical solution for men who want to last longer.

  3. Masturbate More Often or Have More Sex

    Sexual tension builds up until it “explodes” just like an overinflated balloon

    Sexual tension builds up until it “explodes” just like an overinflated balloon

    What happens when we overinflate a balloon? Eventually, it explodes. This happens because there are too many air particles trapped inside, which creates too much pressure. The pressure becomes so great that it needs to be released and this happens with a bang. For men, the analogy stands!

    Sexual tension is a real thing – and if we don’t get release through sex or masturbation, the ‘pressure’ inside us starts to build. In this state, our bodies will be hypersensitive and will respond instantly, making it more likely for us to become aroused and ‘blow it’ in a matter of moments.

    The solution is simple: try to get rid of that sexual tension by having sex or masturbating more often – ideally no less than once per week. But when it comes to masturbation, be careful: it’s important not to rush through the process. If you do this, you may be accidentally training yourself to ejaculate quickly, which could lead to premature ejaculation.

  4. Use a Thick Condom

    A think condom can be used as a desensitizer

    A think condom can be used as a desensitizer

    Some men find that certain types of condoms help them to last longer. Look out for brands that boast “extended performance” or “extra strength”. Usually, these condoms are thicker than most (although some also have desensitizing gel in them). By creating a thicker barrier between your penis and the vagina, these condoms make it harder for your penis to become overstimulated.

  5. Communication is Key

    Opening-up will help you feel safer and calmer and can help you last longer

    Opening-up will help you feel safer and calmer and can help you last longer

    What does communication have to do with lasting longer in bed? When you’re not talking openly about the things that worry you, this can make you tense and anxious. On the other hand, opening-up with your partner can help you to feel safer and more relaxed when you’re in bed with her.

    When we struggle to perform, it’s easy to become self-conscious and start having unhelpful thoughts such as: “I’m not a real man because I can’t last long enough in bed” or “she’s going to leave me if this happens again”. Apart from being untrue, these kinds of ideas make us feel even more anxious and put us under unnecessary pressure.

    The solution is simple: tell your partner when you have these sorts of thoughts about your sexual performance! Help her to understand how you feel! Opening-up like this will help you to feel safer, calmer, and more trusting – all of which are conducive to longer and more satisfying sexual experiences!

  6. Take Your Time

    Take it slow and only penetrate when your body and mind are calm and ready

    Take it slow and only penetrate when your body and mind are calm and ready

    Some men thrive under pressure; in sport or business, for example. But when it comes to sex, a different set of rules apply: when we feel pressured, we perform worse, not better. Why is this the case?

    Imagine this scenario: you’re in bed with your partner and you’re worrying that you won’t be able to make her orgasm. You feel tense and uncomfortable, worried about failing. You tell yourself that this time you will do better – but this just makes you feel even more anxious. Then, the inevitable happens: you finish before her. She’s disappointed, you’re disappointed – but you know what, at least you’re not anxious about messing up anymore. The pressure is off.

    For our bodies and minds, sex can be a hugely exciting experience. Obviously – otherwise we wouldn’t enjoy it so much, right? But if you become too excited, this can also be counter-productive for those who want to last longer in bed. Why? When you’re hyped up and lost in a frenzy of sexual ecstasy, you start to disconnect from what’s happening in your body.

    Often, in this state, your orgasm can sneak up on you before you’re able to read the signs – and then it will all be over far too quickly. Moreover, when you’re worked up and overstimulated, it’s very easy to become anxious. Anxiety further disconnects you from what’s happening in your body and may put you at greater risk of developing premature ejaculation.

    So, what’s the answer? Try to take things slowly in the bedroom! Ease into the sexual experience and be sure to savor every moment – remind yourself that there’s no need to rush! Talk to your partner and take deep breaths; notice the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations that come up. Make sure that you only penetrate when your body and mind are calm and ready.

  7. Help Her to Orgasm First

    Make sure she has already had some sexual satisfaction before penetration

    Make sure she has already had some sexual satisfaction before penetration

    Rather than going straight for penetrative sex, why not see if you can help her to orgasm simply through foreplay? This way, by the time you go ahead with penetration you can be confident that your partner has already had some sexual satisfaction.

    This often takes the pressure off, leaving you free to have sex without worrying too much about your performance. Just keep in mind, though, that if you have become very aroused whilst pleasuring your partner, then you should take a few moments to cool off so that things can last a bit longer once you get going.

  8. Use Premature Ejaculation Treatments

    Although so many men want to last longer in bed, not everyone can be counted as having a diagnosis of premature ejaculation. Nonetheless, this condition is very common, with as many as 1 in 3 men struggling with it! What can you do if you have been diagnosed with premature ejaculation?

    Two of the most popular sex-therapy exercises – the “stop-start” and “squeeze” methods – have been used successfully by men all over the world. These are physical techniques that can be done by yourself during masturbation, or with the help of your partner. These methods train us to recognize the important signals in our bodies and minds that are sent-out during sex, right up until the moment of climax. In doing this, we learn to know our bodies better, helping us move closer toward ejaculatory control. Since practicing these exercises is done best with guidance and support, we created the PE Program – an online exercise program for premature ejaculation. You can read all about it here.

    Another treatment option is to apply a desensitizing spray or cream to the penis. Basically, these work by numbing the penis, which means that you feel less and therefore last longer. The downside to this strategy is that you’re not really “curing” your condition by learning to take control of your own ejaculatory timing – it’s more like using a temporary band-aid for a wound. Also, because your penis becomes a bit numb, this takes some of the pleasure and excitement out of sex!

    On the other hand, some prescription anti-depressants (e.g. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI’s) are prescribed by doctors when people are dangerously unhappy about their premature ejaculation. Although these medications can help you to last longer, they can also come with other unwanted side-effects, including a reduced sexual appetite, drowsiness, and nausea.

    At the end of the day, people with premature ejaculation are lucky enough to have a variety of treatment options at their fingertips. If you are interested in learning more, read the article we wrote on this subject – how to prevent premature ejaculation – which will give you a more detailed overview of what’s out there and the pros and cons of each approach.

Beware: Other Strategies That Don’t Work!


Distractions don’t usually work and can even be counterproductive

Distractions don’t usually work and can even be counterproductive

Thinking about something boring during sex might seem like a good way to last longer, but you’d just be shooting yourself in the foot. Why? We already mentioned developing sexual stamina is about becoming more aware of your body’s signals and sensations. In other words, we want to become more in-tune with our bodies, rather than disconnecting from the whole experience by thinking unsexy thoughts!

But even more importantly, how would your partner feel if you told her that you’re thinking of your accountant during sex, rather than her? (tip: we would recommend approaching this as a rhetorical question. Please do not tell her if you are thinking of your accountant, as this is unlikely to be well received).

The point is that if you’re not present during sex, not only are you missing out on a pleasurable experience, but you’ll also be tense, detached, and stiff to the touch. Your partner is going to pick up on all of this and the experience will be less enjoyable for both of you.

Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol and drugs can actually prevent you from lasting longer

Alcohol and drugs can actually prevent you from lasting longer

Some men use alcohol or other drugs, such as marijuana, to last longer in bed. What’s wrong with this strategy? First off, it is true that some men are able to last a bit longer under the influence, but for others it’s becomes another form distraction: you’re using substances that numb you and disconnect you from your body, which will take you further away from your goal of controlling ejaculation. Besides, researchers think that marijuana could actually make sexual dysfunction worse, not better. In one study, for example, men who smoked pot every day were three times more likely to have premature ejaculation, as well as orgasm issues! Second, if you need to get drunk or take drugs every time you plan on having sex, you’re on a one-way street to addiction and a host of other medical nightmares.

Natural Supplements

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

Snake-oil has been around for centuries, sold by scammers who use fake science to sell bogus medicine to people with real problems. Today, with the internet, this is happening more than ever: supplements that make wild and unrealistic claims about fixing all sorts of sexual problems are only a click away. But do they really work?

Our answer is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. To our professional knowledge, there are no effective natural supplements that truly help men to last longer. But apart from being a waste of money, these sorts of pills can even be harmful. Be sure to check who manufactures the supplements and to see what ingredients are included. Do these medications have the necessary health approvals and certifications? If you can’t be sure that what you’re taking is safe, it’s best not to risk it.

A Final Note on Foreplay: Man’s Best Friend

Don’t underestimate the impotence of foreplay

Don’t underestimate the impotence of foreplay

Some men see foreplay as a waste of time, like a pre-course appetizer that can be skipped in favor of the main meal. But those who jump right into penetrative sex without warming up first are missing out on something vitally important. Remember, sex is about more than just biology: it’s an emotional experience of bonding and connection with your partner. This is where foreplay comes in.

Giving you partner this sort of attention creates a burst of oxytocin in both of you: this is the love hormone that makes us feel safe, intimate, and connected! Foreplay also gives your partner the message that you want her and are willing to prioritize her needs. This way, by the time you get to the actual sex, the experience will be so much deeper, safer, and more intimate for both of you!

To Sum Things Up

Whether you suffer from full-blown premature ejaculation or not, it’s normal for you to want to be able to last longer in bed. Sex is one of the most pleasurable and intimate experiences that we can share with our partners – of course we want to keep this going for as long as possible!

Unfortunately, though, when men feel that they aren’t lasting long enough, we can feel gut-wrenching shame and the impact on our self-esteem can be devastating. Sexual dysfunction can also cause serious problems in our relationships. This is unfortunate, because premature ejaculation is nothing to be ashamed of and luckily, there are effective ways of taking back control.

If you’re looking to last longer in bed, you can now use this article as a resource for what works and what doesn’t. Remember to try our online premature ejaculation evaluation tool if you think you might suffer from this condition; and don’t forget that with a click of your mouse you can learn how to prevent premature ejaculation.

On that note: go forth, last long, and enjoy every moment of sexual intimacy that you and your partner are able to share!

About Daniel Sher

Clinical Psychologist

Daniel Sher is a registered clinical psychologist practicing in Cape Town, South Africa. Daniel completed his master’s degree in clinical psychology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2014. A component of his training and practice involves working in the context of sexual and sex-related issues.

Daniel serves as a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, where he writes, edits, and reviews, professional materials and articles.