How to Last Longer During Sex

Dr Kathryn Basford

Medically reviewed by

Dr Kathryn Basford

Last reviewed: 07 Nov 2021

There could be many reasons why you are not lasting as long as you would like during sex. Different conditions can affect how long you last during sex. If you are ejaculating too quickly you may be experiencing premature ejaculation. If you are having a hard time getting and maintaining an erection you could have erectile dysfunction.


Luckily, there are many ways to help you last longer during sex, such as medications and creams. There are also lifestyle changes you can make, as well as exercise techniques you can practise.

The treatment that works best for you will depend on what you are experiencing and what you think will help you the most.

Tips for lasting longer in bed

If you are having problems with premature ejaculation, there are many different tips that you can try, to last longer in bed.

Remember that what works for others may not work for you, so you may have to try different options before finding which is best for you.

Focus on foreplay

When you focus on foreplay before sex, you’re more likely to have longer lasting and more pleasurable sex.

Foreplay gets you and your partner in the mood for sex. This excites you and will help you get an erection. The feel good hormones that are released during foreplay will also help you last longer during sex.

You can focus on touching and kissing to help get foreplay started, or use sex toys, like vibrators, that stimulate your genital area.

Having a relaxing massage or a warm bath before sex can lead to better foreplay too.

Try using condoms

Wearing a male condom reduces the sensitivity of your penis, making you feel less stimulated, and this can help you last longer during sex.

Even though using a condom creates a barrier between your penis your partner, you can try using textured condoms. These condoms have bumps in the shape of ribs or dots on them, which can make the experience more enjoyable for your partner too.

Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help you control your penis during sex. Pelvic floor muscles are the same muscles you use to stop yourself from peeing. You can learn to tense these muscles to stop yourself from ejaculating, and this can help your erection last longer.

You can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by doing kegel exercises, which involves tensing the muscle for a few seconds and then releasing it. Repeating this exercise for short sessions will seem tiring at first, but as you get stronger you’ll be able to last longer in bed.

Practising pelvic floor muscle exercises can also help with erectile dysfunction, as it helps improve blood flow to the penis.

Try the pause and squeeze method

During the pause and squeeze technique, your partner should give you a hand or blowjob until right before you ejaculate. They should then pause for 10 to 20 seconds and hold the tip of your penis, then let go of your penis for 30 seconds before continuing to touch you. This should be done a few times before you ejaculate.

You could also try having sex until you are close to coming, then hold the tip of your penis until the feeling disappears, before continuing having sex.

Both these techniques will increase your stamina and help you last longer during sex.

Masturbate before sex

Masturbating an hour or two before having sex will decrease the sensitivity of your penis. This means that it will take longer to trigger an orgasm during sex, and this will help you last longer in bed.

Quit smoking

Smoking damages the blood vessels and nerve endings that help stimulate your penis when you get an erection. Quitting smoking will reduce this damage and help your erection last longer during sex.

Manage stress

Your mental health can have a big impact on how you perform when having sex, and reducing stress can help you last longer during sex. Some suggestions on how to manage your stress include:

  • having therapy sessions
  • keeping a diary
  • having a warm bath or shower
  • working out or exercising regularly

If you’re having trouble managing stress or anxiety, it may be helpful to speak with a doctor to find a solution for you.

Medication that can help with premature ejaculation

There are different medications that can help with premature ejaculation. There are tablets such as Priligy and numbing creams such as EMLA cream which can help you last longer during sex.

There are also medications such as Viagra which can help if you are experiencing erectile dysfunction.

What treatment is best for you is based on preference, so you may want to try different options to see which you like best.

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Priligy contains the active ingredient dapoxetine. Priligy stops your nerves from absorbing serotonin, allowing more to build up in your nervous system. This helps give you better control of your penis, so you can last longer during sex.

Priligy comes in 30mg tablets and should only be taken once a day, around 1 to 3 hours before you have sex.

Numbing creams

EMLA cream is a numbing cream that can help with premature ejaculation. EMLA cream contains two local anaesthetics which reduces how sensitive your penis is, helping you last longer when having sex.

You should put a small amount of EMLA cream on the head and length of your penis at least 30 minutes before you have sex. You need to wash the cream off before having sex.

Erectile dysfunction medication

If you find it difficult to get an erection or stay hard during sex you might have erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction medication can help increase blood flow to your penis when you’re sexually aroused. This can help you maintain an erection during sex and help you last longer in bed.

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How do I know if I have premature ejaculation?

You may have premature ejaculation if you regularly ejaculate too quickly during sex. It’s normal for quick ejaculation to happen every so often, but you might have ejaculation issues if it’s happening more than half the time.

You can treat premature ejaculation with medication, such as Priligy tablets and EMLA cream.

It’s important to note the difference between premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Premature ejaculation is when you ejaculate soon after starting sex. Erectile dysfunction is when you have a hard time getting and keeping an erection. If you have erectile dysfunction, you can treat it with medications such as Viagra. Treating your erectile dysfunction could help with your premature ejaculation. So it’s important to ask a doctor for help to find out which condition applies to you.

How long does the average person last in bed?

How long you last during sex is personal to you. The average person can last anywhere between a few minutes to just under an hour in bed, but it varies from person to person.

Premature ejaculation is when you ejaculate too soon during sex, and it happens more often than you’d like.

It’s normal for the time that you last during sex to change depending on your age and physical health.

There are lifestyle factors that could be affecting how long you last during sex, such as:

  • drinking alcohol
  • smoking
  • eating high salt, high fat or high sugar foods daily
  • not getting enough exercise
  • being an unhealthy weight for your height

How long you last during sex can also be affected by medications you are taking or other health conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Is premature ejaculation the same as erectile dysfunction?

Premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction are not the same.

Premature ejaculation is when you find it hard to last a long time during sex, and you ejaculate earlier than you’d like. You can solve this problem with Priligy tablets or EMLA cream, so you can last longer during sex.

Erectile dysfunction is when you have a hard time getting and maintaining an erection. You can treat erectile dysfunction with tablets such as Viagra, and sildenafil, which you can take an hour before sex. Viagra increases blood flow to your penis to help you get an erection.

It’s possible that erectile dysfunction may be causing your premature ejaculation. So if you treat your erectile dysfunction first, your premature ejaculation will go away too.

Medically reviewed by:
Dr Kathryn Basford

Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.

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Last reviewed: 07 Nov 2021

(Reviews are for ZAVA UK)

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