Start The Clock

How Long Should Sex Last In Your 40’s? Here’s What 8 Women Told Us

The answers might surprise you.

Originally Published: 

How long should sex last in your 40s? Not just any sex, but good sex? It depends, says Debra Herbenick, the director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University in Bloomington. “There’s no magic number,” she previously told Fatherly. “Some people prefer quick sex — maybe they have kids that will wake up any second or are prone to vaginal pain. Also, people define sex in varied ways, it’s not just intercourse.”

They certainly do. So, it should be no surprise that sex after 40 is, much like sex in your 30s and your 20s, different for every couple. And, as couples age and grow together, their sexual needs change and deepen. For many women, their sexual peak in their 40’s comes alongside a deepening of an acceptance and understanding of what their body looks like, wants, and needs. Sex after 40, basically, is a whole new ball game — and it should be liberating because of that.

So, how long should good sex last in your 40s? As there is no one answer, we asked a small sample size of women in their 40s to tell us their thoughts. They offered frank, nuanced takes on the matter that added layers to the question. Here’s what they said.

No More Than 30 Minutes

“For me I think 10 minutes of foreplay and 10 to 15 minutes of intercourse is perfect. After about 25 minutes, I tend to get bored and start to think about my to-do list. I’ve been married for almost 14 years and the sex is great.” — Christina, 48, New York

It Doesn’t Really Matter

“As I gain years, I feel increasingly accepting of my sexuality, so I no longer set parameters around what makes sex great. Details such as frequency and length feel less important. Instead, I really value how that time is spent. I used to have a difficult time with sex that took a while, preferring quickies consistently and feeling pretty impatient when a partner wanted it to linger on. Now I cherish the variety of short sessions and occasional lengthy ones. I’ve never timed sex, but anywhere from a few minutes to closer to 30 minutes or an hour can be awesome. When it comes to sex, numbers really are just numbers.” — August, 40, California

It Depends On What I Want

“If I want something quick and simple, 15 minutes is more than enough time. If I’m looking for more of the entire package, it takes two hours. Conversation, pampering, foreplay, oral sex, sex, and post-coital cuddling is needed to make me say, ‘Wow, that was off the chain.’” — Jocelyn, 41, Georgia

It’s All About Being Present

“‘Good Sex’ has less to do with length of time and everything to do with how dialed-in/present both people are into the act of having sex. My man could make me come on the couch while watching TV in five minutes. That’s good sex! Good sex means you are either being pleasured or you are enjoying being the giver the entire time. My man or myself could get off in three minutes or an hour, and both would be considered good sex. Length of time has little to do with good sex. Getting off is the qualifier, not time.” — Ginger, 44, Nevada

At Least An Hour

“Good sex should last at the least an hour from foreplay to ejaculation.” — Lisamarie, 46, Florida

As Long As It Takes

“As a woman on the other side of 45, and someone with a doctorate in human sexuality, I can definitively say that sex should last as long as it takes to reach satisfaction levels. There is no prescribed length of time. For some women five minutes may be good and then for others, 45 minutes. Even the same woman, with the same partner, will want varying amounts of time — depending on where they are at that precise moment. Sometimes a quickie can not be beat and other times I may need a good 40 minutes of foreplay just to get started.” Miro, 47, California

60 Minutes or Bust

“It should last an hour. I need lots of teasing, kissing, and foreplay before my partner ‘gets to work.'” — Becky, 45, California

However Long It Needs (As Long As It’s Mostly Foreplay)

“I think sex should last as long as it takes, which could be minutes or hours. I’m also a firm believer that sex is mostly foreplay and the actual act of intercourse can sometimes be too long depending on the focus.” — Melissa, 48, Iowa

At Least 30 Minutes

“Long enough to where I don’t have to feel rushed if I want to have an orgasm — 30 minutes minimum.” — Chrissie, 42, Colorado

This article was originally published on