There are some things in life that, inevitably, don’t last a long time (read: gum flavor, power naps, buffalo chicken pizza slices, etc.). But sex… should not be one of those things. Sure, there’s a time and place for a quickie, but for the most part, sex should be an experience that is enjoyed for as long as you and your partner want, preferably with no time limit.
According to sex therapists surveyed in a study conducted by the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, sex that lasts between seven to 13 minutes is considered “desirable.” And when researchers looked even deeper, they found that the average person was lasting a total of three to seven minutes during strictly vaginal sex. Which, like, isn’t a long time…
So if you want to up your sex game and add a few min to the deed, here are some practical ways to last longer in bed.
1. Remember that "sex" doesn't just mean penetration.
Everyone has a different definition of what sex means to them. In this context specifically, it's important to keep in mind that "sex" doesn't only mean strictly p-in-v action. It can also include loads, and loads, and loads of foreplay, kissing, massaging, etc. Warming up will increase your odds of an orgasm, and this way, you won't be totally bothered by penetration that only lasts a few minutes. Also, pro tip: Sex doesn't have to end just because one of you orgasmed.
2. Have him tap into lower levels of arousal.
Xanet Pailet, author of Living an Orgasmic Life, explains that sometimes men who struggle to last long during sex are so highly aroused, they can’t prevent ejaculation from happening until it’s too late. “To be able to last longer during sex, a man needs to learn how to hang out at lower levels of arousal for long periods of time.”
3. Try a penis ring.
It’s not a one-size-cures-all solution, but as Carol Queen, PhD, notes, some guys do find that trying a penis ring helps them last longer, so it’s worth a try. As Lisa Finn, brand manager and sex educator at Babeland, has explained to Cosmopolitan before, penis rings work by restricting the blood flow into the shaft of the penis, which can help maintain a stronger erection.
4. Practice mindfulness.
August McLaughlin, author of Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment, says that practicing mindfulness and breathing can also help slow ejaculation down. Bonus: Practicing mindfulness outside the bedroom can only help your game in bed too. “Use an app for guided meditation once a day, for example, or try mindful eating, where you focus on foods’ flavors and textures while avoiding distractions, such as your phone,” says McLaughlin.
5. Focus on the other partner’s pleasure to take the pressure off.
If things are getting too hot and heavy for the penis-haver, August recommends taking a step back and focusing the attention on the other partner’s pleasure instead. “When you stop what you’re doing once you’re super close to orgasm, then chill for a bit, then start again (sort of like sexual interval training),” arousal tends to skyrocket, explains August.
6. Try training for it.
Seriously! If this premature finishing situation doesn’t stem from a medical issue for either one of you, it’s always possible to just try…having more sex. For some couples, it’s a matter of sexual endurance conditioning. Think of it the same way you’d go to a gym to get stronger. This is especially helpful if the partner in question doesn’t masturbate very often. I’m aware this sounds incredibly unsexy, but taking some of the novelty out of it can extend the time before an orgasm feels inevitable.
7. Have him incorporate toys.
Sure, this might feel like “cheating” a little, but that shouldn’t matter when it comes to making sure you both orgasm. If he can’t last long enough for you to finish, wait until he’s close but not there yet and let him tag out and use a vibrator on you. Then he can tag back in when you’re both close to the finish line.
8. Spend more time on foreplay.
Yes, it might make the intercourse part a little shorter, but spending more time on foreplay so you’re more warmed up will extend the sex session on the whole and make sure you’re both satisfied.
9. Have him masturbate beforehand.
If you’ve seen There’s Something About Mary, you know that having sex without masturbating is “like going out there with a loaded gun.” Ejaculating an hour or two beforehand makes it harder for a man to come quickly. As Dr. Jane Greer, relationship expert and family therapist, puts it, “You can build up arousal again with slow and intimate foreplay with your partner, so the guy’s excitement is initially satisfied and he can better pace himself and sync up with his partner’s rhythm.”
10. Take advantage of men’s refractory period.
Who says sex needs to be limited to just one session? This one won’t work for everyone, but marriage therapist Lisa Thomas recommends starting things up again a few minutes after he ejaculates. “Many men experience less sensitivity during the second erection,” Thomas explains. As long as you don’t mind waiting the few minutes (or switching back to foreplay), and he can get it up relatively quickly, you should have better results in round two.
11. Try something new and out of the ordinary in bed.
When you’ve been with the same partner for a while, your routine sex positions can make his body anticipate coming and thus come a lot sooner. New positions and sensations will distract him and make him last longer. “The more awkward and unfamiliar, the better,” says Greer.
12. Try edging.
When he’s about to orgasm, have him stop and wait about a minute or so before going back at it. Everyone has an orgasmic point of no return, an “ejaculatory inevitability,” as sex researcher Dr. Ian Kerner puts it. Edging trains his body to delay that point so he can spend more time on the edge (and more time pleasing you).
13. Squeeze the base of his penis.
This is an old one that comes courtesy of sex researchers Masters and Johnson. You can do this with your hand or using a cock ring. It quite literally stops him from ejaculating. Think of it like bending a hose in half to stop the flow of water, but definitely do not bend his penis in half under any circumstances. Just give it a firm grip.
14. Have him do kegels, yoga, and pilates.
All of these exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which help him control orgasm spasms. (And yeah, dudes can do kegels too.)
15. Try perpendicular sex positions.
This is technically an outercourse position, but it’s a way to avoid the most sensitive areas of the penis (specifically, the underside of the head, where a lot of the nerves are located). “Don’t actually enter her, but let her glide back and forth along the top of the shaft,” says Kerner. Spoon or face each other on your sides, and it can still be enjoyable without making him rush to orgasm.
In some situations, your partner may want to consider seeing a doctor. A variety of prescriptions are available if premature ejaculation is a serious issue that’s negatively affecting your relationship. And while there are over-the-counter supplements that tout their ability to improve a guy’s stamina, your best bet is to go through someone who knows what they’re talking about. Guys can check in with a urologist to see what the issue is and what steps can be taken. And as a general idea, it’s best to avoid supplements you can buy at a gas station.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.