How Long Should It Take To Orgasm?

April 25,2017

Do you worry that it takes you too long to reach orgasm?

Over at my column for Bustle, I got a question from a reader who was worried about the amount of time she takes to reach orgasm. She said she’d had partners who had made little comments, and she was self-conscious that they were bored or irritated. She wanted to know how long it should take to orgasm, and how she could speed hers up.

This is one of the most popular questions I get in Finishing School: Learn How To Orgasm and Finishing School: Orgasm With A Partner. I know how much it sucks to be lying there thinking, “Am I getting close? Am I any closer now?”

So here are six important things to know about orgasmic timing.

Orgasms Are Wonderful, No Matter How Long They Take

If you’re worried about how long your orgasm takes, that implies that you’re having orgasms. That’s awesome! It probably doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, since you’re concerned about your timing right now. But I work with so many women who have yet to have their first orgasm, and who would be thrilled to be in your place.

It Doesn’t Matter How Long It Takes You

Here’s my bottom line when it comes to orgasmic timing: it doesn’t matter how long it takes. However long your body needs to orgasm is however long your body needs to orgasm. In my work, I try to teach women to respect and connect with their bodies instead of fight against them.

A big piece of the puzzle might be acknowledging your body’s natural timing, and being happily willing to give your body what it needs. Because hey, your body deserves this!

Think About Ways You Can Enjoy The “Waiting”

I also want to take a moment to point out the language that we typically use when it comes to orgasmic timing. We use words like “waiting” and “taking too long.” I know it’s easy to get wrapped up in self-consciousness and anxiety about your orgasm.

But the reality is that this isn’t the same thing as waiting in line at the DMV.

I want to offer you a simple but powerful way to reframe this process – you’re not “waiting” to have an orgasm; you’re “building up” to one.

You’re feeling waves of pleasure slowly but gradually rising. You’re noticing sensation in more and more parts of your body. You’re enjoying that anticipation of reaching your peak. The build up can be just as much fun as the orgasm itself!

And here’s another funny reality – an actual orgasm lasts 10-20 seconds, but that building up process can last for hours if you want it to.

Here’s The Average

At the same time, I know it can be nice to have some sort of ballpark idea of how long female orgasm typically takes. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of great research out there. I usually use the timeframe of 20 minutes, but that number came from research done in the 1960s by famous sex researchers Masters and Johnson. so it’s not exactly current.

It’s also tricky because that number is an average created from data – which doesn’t mean it’s exactly how long the average woman takes to orgasm. There are some women who can take an hour or more to orgasm, and there are some women who can take just 30 seconds to orgasm. It’s not the most useful piece of information, but there you go.

Don’t Let Partners Guilt You

Don’t let your partner get in the way of you enjoying yourself. If your partner asks a question about your timing, you can respond with something like, “I’m enjoying the ride right now, but I’ll let you know when I’m close.” If someone pesters you about it or seems to be judgmental, that’s a major red flag that they don’t deserve to be sleeping with you in the first place.

I also want to point out that sometimes timing questions are relatively harmless. Your partner may be trying to check in on you out of curiosity, rather than out of judgment. They might be trying to figure out if they needed to switch into a more comfortable position, or give their tongue a break. Or they might be concerned about their own orgasmic performance – like orgasming too quickly – and want to make sure you get yours before they get theirs.

The Only Way To Speed Things Up Is To Focus On Pleasure

All that being said, I also know that there are logistical realities when it comes to sex. In the real world, we don’t always have the time to have long, luxurious sex sessions. Sometimes you just have a few minutes for a quickie before you need to run out the door to an appointment, or you just want a fast orgasm so you can go to sleep.

You can typically get yourself to orgasm faster by creating more sensation. The idea is to add even more pleasure, so you get yourself closer to that peak experience. You can play around with a couple of different things:

Trying a vibrator. This can be a great option. Vibrators create an intensity of stimulation that we just can’t replicate with our hands or mouths, so a vibrator may be able to get you off faster.

Touching yourself while you’re with your partner. You probably know how to get yourself off faster than a partner does. Nothing wrong with taking the lead and getting it done for yourself!

Tag-teaming your body with your partner. You can focus on your clitoris while your partner fingers you internally, or plays with other parts of your body.

Increasing speed and pressure. A lot of women need more intensity in the lead-up to orgasm.

Hitting multiple hot spots at once. You don’t have to limit yourself to what you’ve got between your legs. You may be able to orgasm faster by also incorporating nipple play, anal play, or any of your other favorite spots.

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HI THERE!

I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!