The duration of intercourse – 16.2 minutes on average – is the clincher, according to the research. The findings suggest that sex therapists, who emphasise the value of foreplay, may have that been getting it wrong.
“In contrast to the assumptions of many sex therapists and educators, more attention should be given to improve the quality and duration of intercourse rather than foreplay,” say Professor Stuart Brody of the University of the West of Scotland, and Professor Peter Weiss, from Charles University, Prague.
In the study, reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the academics quizzed a representative sample of 2,360 Czech women of all ages about details of their sex lives, including orgasmic consistency with a partner along with estimated duration of foreplay and intercourse.
Results show that for the women in the study, the average duration of foreplay was 15.4 minutes, and intercourse, 16.2 minutes.
The researchers point out that 16.2 minutes is considerably longer than reported in American studies, where intercourse was found to last on average seven minutes.
They added: “It could be that this reflects, a greater appreciation of intercourse and sensuality by Europeans than by Americans.”
The researchers looked at frequency of orgasm in the women, and foreplay and intercourse data. They concluded the links with foreplay were insignificant. Instead they suggest that the longer intercourse lasts, the greater the probability of orgasm for the women.
“This was a large number of women and the results are robust,” says Professor Brody. “Sex therapists and educators put the overwhelming emphasis on foreplay, but they need to be guided by the evidence which shows that it is not the case.
“Intercourse is significantly more important. Our findings should lead researchers, educators, and clinicians to reconsider the contributions of foreplay and intercourse.”