14 tips to help you last longer in bed

Yael Cooperman, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD, Ro, 

Written by Linnea Zielinski 

Yael Cooperman, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD, Ro, 

Written by Linnea Zielinski 

last updated: Dec 21, 2023

8 min read

Your sex life is supposed to be about pleasure and intimacy, but as many of us know, it can also be a source of anxiety and self-consciousness. 

Your sex life is supposed to be about pleasure and intimacy, but as many of us know, it can also be a source of anxiety, especially if you find that you can’t last long enough to satisfy your partner, which can be a sign of premature ejaculation (PE). Luckily, there are methods and treatments available that can boost how long you can last. Read on to learn more.

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What is the average ejaculation time?

You might wonder if the time it takes you to ejaculate is “normal.” But there really isn’t a solid answer to what an average ejaculation time looks like. 

One study gathered information from men in five countries to assess the average time ejaculation time. They found the majority of men ejaculated after four minutes or more from the moment of penetration. Another study of 500 couples found that the average time until ejaculation for vaginal sex ranged from 3–7 minutes.

Of course, these numbers don’t capture the whole picture. The studies only examined heterosexual couples, meaning a whole range of other demographics weren’t surveyed. The time also only measured penetrative vaginal sex and didn’t take time spent on foreplay into account.

Another thing to keep in mind is that society gives us a bit of a skewed understanding of how long we’re supposed to last. While “going all night” might sound like goals, the truth is that most people find sex lasting up to 13 minutes to be ideal, with anything beyond that being too long. Now, with that said, there are plenty of people out there who find that they can’t last longer than a few seconds during penetrative sex. When that’s the case, or anytime you find that you can’t stave off ejaculation long enough for you and your partner to enjoy sex, there may be room to try some tips and tricks that can help you last longer in bed. 

Tips for lasting longer in bed 

To find the right strategy, you need to identify the root of your concern. Some methods will focus on you, while others address your partner’s pleasure.

1. Use more foreplay

If you’re worried about your partner's satisfaction, adding in or increasing foreplay is a good strategy. Switching to sex positions they enjoy, or upping your communication to discover new ones together, is another tactic. This is especially true for heterosexual couples, since there tends to be a gap between how long it takes men and women to finish. 

While everyone is different, in general, women require direct clitoral stimulation to orgasm, and often find it more difficult to finish from penetrative sex alone, since the clitoris doesn’t come into direct contact with the penis during penetrative sex. One survey of over 50,000 people found that just 18% of women reported experiencing an orgasm from vaginal penetration.

Starting with fingerplay, oral sex, or asking your partner what they love is a great way to bridge the orgasm gap and improve sexual satisfaction to ensure that you last long enough for both of you to enjoy sex. 

2. Try edging

Edging can help extend the time it takes to orgasm, though it takes some practice to get right. What is edging, you ask? This technique is when you get very close to ejaculation, but then stop until the feeling has passed. These pauses can calm things down and keep your sex session lasting longer. 

There are a few different methods for edging. You can try the stop-start method, which is when you pause sex or masturbation until you no longer feel like you're going to finish. There is also the squeeze technique where you or a partner squeezes the head of your penis until you feel like you can keep going.

3. Bring sex toys into the bedroom

If there’s a gap between when you finish and when your partner does, using a toy they like can help close the gap. The great thing about sex toys is the endless variety. You can try using a vibrator during sex or foreplay to focus on getting your partner to that sweet spot faster.

4. Masturbate before sex

This option may take some experimentation to get right. Try to find a time for masturbation close enough to sex so you’re not too worked up before it starts, but  that still leaves enough time for you to get excited and enjoy sex as you should.

5. Use thicker condoms

Thicker condoms create a more significant barrier, which may decrease the intensity of sensation during sex. If what you’re feeling is less intense than usual, it could take you longer to ejaculate. That’s why thicker condoms are commonly marketed for extended pleasure. 

There’s little research to back up this method, but it may be worth a try. One study including men across five countries found no connection between condom use and time to ejaculation, but it wasn’t looking at people with PE. They also didn’t ask participants to use thicker condoms. 

Though studies don’t prove thicker condoms work, there’s little risk in trying it since condoms are cheap and offer the added benefit of protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), too.

6. Explore different sex positions

There’s a reason they say, “Variety is the spice of life.” Adopting that motto in the bedroom can help you last longer in bed. Things necessarily slow down, if only for a moment, when you change sex positions, which may help bring you back from that “point of no return.” Plus, different positions can be more or less stimulating for you, or your partner. And, you might discover a new favorite position (or two)!

7. Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles

There is a physical component to PE that historically hasn’t gotten much attention. Those would be your pelvic floor muscles, and strengthening them could help improve PE

Kegels are a good pelvic floor exercise and aren’t just for women. To perform kegels, focus on lifting and pulling in your pelvic floor without using your back or butt muscles to help. Squeeze the muscles down there like you’re trying to hold in pee or prevent yourself from passing gas. That squeeze you feel is your pelvic floor muscles contracting. 

Repeat that squeeze 10–15 times, holding each for three seconds and relaxing for three. Do this at least three times every day. It’s okay if you can’t do a full set of 15 kegels on your first day. Keep at it and work your way up. 

8. Try benzocaine wipes

These wipes use benzocaine as the active ingredient, which has a mild numbing effect. Benzocaine wipes are generally used on the most sensitive parts of the penis like the frenulum, which is the connective tissue on the underside of the penis that runs between the head and shaft. You use these wipes about five minutes before sex. Be sure to allow the substance to dry before sex so it doesn’t transfer to your partner. 

Preliminary research on these wipes is promising. In one study, the average time to ejaculate doubled for participants after two months of using them. Participants also felt less performance anxiety and better control over their orgasms when they used them.

9. Use numbing creams or sprays

Like benzocaine wipes, there is a wide range of other desensitizing products out there. Promescent is a topical desensitizer spray used on your penis that delays how long it takes to orgasm. 

Creams are also available. These mild numbing agents decrease sensitivity so orgasms don’t come as quickly. The main active ingredients in these products are lidocaine and benzocaine, which are both mild anesthetics used for the treatment of PE.

10. Consider weight management if you have overweight

Studies have documented a link between premature ejaculation and metabolic syndrome, which refers to a cluster of health conditions often associated with overweight and obesity. These include:

  • Abdominal obesity

  • High blood pressure

  • High blood sugar levels, prediabetes, and diabetes

  • High blood triglycerides, or “bad” cholesterol

  • Low HDL, or “good,” cholesterol

In one study, people with metabolic syndrome were twice as likely to have premature ejaculation. If you have obesity, getting in better shape and losing weight may help you last longer in bed, with the added plus of giving you more sexual stamina. Quitting smoking and exercising more have also been shown to improve erectile function.

11. Drink more coffee

If you don’t drink coffee, now might be a good time to start. One small study found that drinking 100 mg of caffeine, or about 1 cup of strong coffee, two hours before intercourse helped participants last much longer during sex before ejaculating. 

Avoid overdoing it with caffeine, though. Experts say 400 mg of caffeine is a safe amount to have daily. Go above that, and you might experience unfavorable side effects like an increased heart rate. If coffee isn't your thing, there are other drinks that can help you last longer in bed.

12. Consider medication

Prescription medication may be necessary to treat PE for some people. Although there are no FDA-approved medications specifically for PE, some providers prescribe PDE5 inhibitors. These include popular erectile dysfunction drugs like sildenafil (brand name Viagra)

You may also be recommended antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors as an off-label treatment

13. Look into adult circumcision

Circumcision may feel like an extreme option, but it has merit, according to one study of over 1,000 men with premature ejaculation. Participants were split into two groups, and one group underwent adult circumcision (removal of the penis foreskin). At a one-year follow-up, the group that got circumcised reported being able to last longer during sex, with better control over when they ejaculated and improved satisfaction with the sex they were having. 

However, other researchers have found conflicting results indicating that a foreskin might actually help you last longer, so more research needs to be done in this area.

14. Talk to a therapist

If lifestyle changes don’t seem to be helping you last longer in bed, consider talking to a therapist. For some men, underlying mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression can prevent them from lasting as long as they would like to during sex. And, premature ejaculation can only add to that stress and anxiety. Working with a psychotherapist can help you get back control over your mental health, which can make life easier and sex more enjoyable.

If the cause is something physical, a certified sex therapist can guide you on techniques, such as biofeedback, visualizations, cognitive distraction, and others, that can help you last longer in bed.  

What is PE?

Premature ejaculation (or PE) is the most common form of sexual dysfunction among men, and roughly one in three people with a penis experience it. PE is a sexual dysfunction in which a man ejaculates sooner than he or his partner would like. Occasional PE is usually nothing to worry about, but if you regularly come sooner than you would like and is causing you significant distress, you can speak with a healthcare provider to explore the various treatment options available.

Causes and risk factors of PE

We don’t yet fully understand the causes of PE, but we do know its risk factors. 

One is low levels of serotonin, a hormone responsible for stabilizing mood. Medical experts theorize that low serotonin levels can quicken how fast you ejaculate. This is why SSRIs can be used as a treatment for PE since they raise serotonin levels. 

Other risk factors include abnormal hormone levels and prostate inflammation. But mostly, PE seems to be psychological. This sexual dysfunction is often associated with other psychological conditions like anxiety, depression, and stress

Everyday mental health stressors can also affect sexual stamina. These include poor body image, low confidence, and relationship problems. A history of sexual abuse can also increase your chances of experiencing PE.

Foods to help you last longer in bed

When it comes to erectile dysfunction, we know that maintaining a diet that supports a healthy heart and improves blood flow can help bolster your erections. But does the same apply to premature ejaculation? Are there foods that help you last longer in bed?

The answer is that food alone won’t work the same way medications (such as lidocaine wipes) do, but a healthy diet may help prevent diseases that can contribute to sexual dysfunction, including PE. For example, magnesium may play a role in male sexual health, and people with premature ejaculation have been shown to have less magnesium in their semen. While the role vitamins and minerals play in PE is not well understood or established, getting enough of it can’t hurt. The best way to increase your magnesium intake is through diet, by eating foods rich in magnesium, including leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole-grain cereal.

It’s never too early to get medical advice if you’re regularly experiencing PE––especially if it’s affecting your sexual experience. A healthcare professional can suggest behavioral therapies like working with a sex therapist, or move on to medication if your symptoms don’t improve.


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

December 21, 2023

Written by

Linnea Zielinski

Fact checked by

Yael Cooperman, MD

About the medical reviewer

Yael Cooperman is a physician and works as a Senior Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.