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Take your pick from any memorable intense sex scene in a movie; Jason’s LyricJungle Fever, and Unfaithful have a few of my favorites. If it were up to the scenes in these movies, they would have us all thinking that good sex includes trying all of the Kama Sutra positions and going at it for hours upon hours (possibly in a field of grass). Movies rarely account for those moments when you almost kill yourself by tripping out of your own underwear, or when the wet spot in the bed becomes kind of repulsive afterwards. But there’s one thing that annoys me the most that they won’t admit: Anything more than 20 minutes starts to get more tiring than fun. I know I am not the only one who has been caught trying to watch Breaking Amish over my boyfriend’s shoulder because he wore out his welcome ten minutes earlier.

We are so used to women running around talking about they don’t want a “one-minute man” that we never really made it clear that having sex for hours at a time is exhausting and can get downright uncomfortable if you’re distracted enough.  It could be because of men who are just plain bad in bed, social networking forcing our attention spans to become shorter and shorter, or unrealistic expectations women have because of Halle Berry begging Billy Bob to “make her feel good.”  But the truth is, sometimes short and sweet isn’t so bad and you just want the guy to wrap it up in more ways than one.

So what is the ideal duration for a single session? According to a survey noted by the UK’s Daily Mail, most couples were completely satisfied with anything between seven and 13 minutes when it came to a single encounter. When participants from both U.S. and Canada were asked to rate a range of times for sex that was “adequate, desirable, too short and too long,” anything over 13 minutes was rated “too long.”

When it comes to pleasure, it’s all about time management, folks.  The best encounters are a balance of 4play, passion, skill, intensity and an occasional head butt or “tooth toast” (you know, when you go to kiss and your teeth end up meeting before your lips do) just to break the tension.  Great sex doesn’t have to be epic every time or worthy of an NC-17 rating.  If you’re thinking you’re going to look like Zoe Saldana and feel like Janet Jackson every time you go to get it on, you’re setting yourself up for a fail. And if there’s one class that should be a piece of cake in life, it’s sex.

Not only do you run the risk for your mind to check out of encounters that run over the clock,  you can do some physical damage as well.  When a woman fails to get aroused, there’s a good chance that her lady parts will not produce enough lubrication, meaning that sex can become very painful very fast when partners begin to chafe in areas that they never thought they could. It’s nothing a little KY Jelly can’t fix, but what’s the point of going at it for hours at a time if you’re not enjoying yourself, or worse yet, if you’re uncomfortable? For men, about five percent of the population may experience delayed climax.  Sometimes this can be caused by having one Ciroc on the rocks too many, but when it happens on a regular basis, it could be a legitimate cause for concern.  Medications, anxiety, or previous sexual activity can all contribute to delayed climax.  Keep your expectations realistic. Fellas, if your goal is to give your girl the big “O,” keep in mind that most women don’t achieve it solely through vaginal penetration.

Sex should be about pleasure and intimacy, not proving a point about who can last the longest or your man bragging about “beating” anything up. Rough sex is one thing, but our parts were not meant to be pulverized, ladies.  Leave the marathons to House and Breaking Bad weekends spent with Netflix. Because rest assured fellas, if your 60+ thrusts are met with silence, there’s a good chance your girl is more into the idea of sleep than the work your putting in.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.  

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