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Erection for almost an hour: what should we do?

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Macy asks:

My boyfriend is 22 this year and he has had one sexual partner before me, I am 21 and he is the first person I've ever had a sexual relationship with. We've been having sex for almost a year and we've been together for about two years. I was wondering whether it is normal for a guy to be able to have an erection that lasts for 40 minutes (at least) to almost an hour (sometimes more) in bed? He tells me that a lot of girls want a guy who can last long in bed, but unfortunately for me (and ironically, him as well), I can never find the stamina to keep going for that long - we both do our parts and take turns with who is on top, but I reckon this is due to the whole process taking about 3 hours at least because of foreplay and the cuddling after sex. If we take a break, either of us will just lose the mood to continue. It is the same whether or not I give him a hand/blow job before we start having sex - he still maintains his erection for a very long time. I do get frustrated because of how long it can take, and although there are times when I do enjoy him being able to last so long, other times I'd rather just have a quickie. Is there anything we can do about this? Or is it just something certain guys have? I don't want to ask him about his previous sexual relationship because I'm comfortable not knowing the details.

Another question I have is whether a guy can be too used to his own hands when he masturbates, so much so that no matter how I try I can't get him to cum no matter what method I use when I'm giving him a blow/hand job (just my hands, hands and mouth, mouth only) which is what I do when he needs a release and I'm having my period. The reason I'm asking is also because when I'm tired or sore from all the vigorous sexercise, sometimes I try to finish him off with a hand/blow job but it's the same and it doesn't get him off unless he takes over and does it himself.

He doesn't complain about it, and doesn't force me to do anything that I am not comfortable with, but I do want to be able to satisfy him from beginning until the end because he never fails to satisfy me. Am I missing anything here?

Heather Corinna replies:

Your boyfriend seems to be dismissing the fact that for the majority of women, intercourse all by itself, no matter how long or short it lasts, is not very satisfying, especially physically. But even if it were, and even if a majority of women wanted intercourse to last a long time, that wouldn't be very important because the woman he is sleeping with right now is you, and what matters isn't what other women may or may not like, but what works for you. Rather than telling you what they think (or want to think) other people like, what a partner should be doing is asking what's best for you.

(And for the record, you really do rarely hear groups of women talking amongst themselves about how they'd like a male erection to last forever and ever, or to have vaginal intercourse for hours and hours all the time. You hear a lot more of men talking that way, or women talking that way in sexual material made for men than you hear women expressing per their own real desires. Are there some women who feel that way? Sure: sexuality is really so diverse. But since intercourse doesn't stimulate most women's most sensitive parts very well alone, and the vaginal canal is made of delicate tissue, as well as a few other factors, those women are really more the exception than the norm.)

Him having an erection for a long time doesn't mean you or any other sexual partner he may have needs to engage that erection for that length of time. The times you want to, that's great, but for the times you don't, he can tend to his erection himself or just let it subside. Sex isn't all about his penis, anyway (or at least, it shouldn't be).

That is an unusual length of time for an erection to stick around when it's being constantly stimulated. Is he on antidepressants, by any chance? That's one common cause of young men finding it difficult to orgasm, but still sustain erection. Too, is it at any point becoming painful for him? I can't tell how he's feeling about this, but it's possible it's not comfortable, and he feels like talking about it as a great thing is the only acceptable thing to say. Erections that hang on too long can be very frustrating and painful for some men, depending, but for men where erection lasts more than an hour, it usually does become painful. If it is uncomfortable or painful for him, it's actually smart for him to talk to his doctor rather than trying to sell you or himself on it.

His masturbation habits likely have little or nothing to do with any of this. Certainly, we can all get used to how we masturbate and sometimes, get ourselves off more quickly with our hands than someone else can: you may have experienced that yourself, too. But again, if he prefers that, mutual masturbation can be just as intimate as anything else. In addition, a sexual partner really isn't who we should look to when we're JUST looking for a "release." When that's all we need, that's when it's right to masturbate: partnered sex is about that, too, but it's also about intimacy, being close, and what both partners enjoy. I hear you being worn out, tired and frustrated, not enjoying yourself. Even when one or both partners don't reach orgasm, sex should be enjoyable -- for both partners -- and be more than a marathon to try and reach a finish line, you know?

Please also understand that a partner not reaching orgasm -- especially if they have something physical going on where that's a problem or a challenge -- does not mean their partner isn't satisfying them. Again -- don't mean to sound like a broken record here -- there is so much more to partnered sex than just physical satisfaction, even though that's obviously important and fantastic, too.

Here's what I'd suggest:
1) Have him just check in with his doctor about this. Is it possible nothing is wrong? Yep. Again, people's sexualities do vary vastly, and genetics can also play a role (particularly in this, believe it or not: if other men in his family have this issue, that may be why). But it is certainly unusual and outside the norm, particularly for younger men, and it's smart to make sure all is well, particularly if it also causes him any pain or discomfort.

2) No matter what the medical verdict is, I think you two could benefit a lot from a talk in which you both each talk about what you really do and don't enjoy very candidly, and find where your middle ground is. For instance, if you generally like some vaginal intercourse, and know it becomes uncomfortable at a certain point, and he enjoys mutual masturbation, you've got yourselves a very easy fix there. When you're all done with the intercourse portions, you can both move on to masturbating together. That's just one of any number of possible solutions.

I think it'd also be sage to make clear that sex when it's not pleasurable for either of you isn't a good idea, not for your bodies, your own sexual self-image or your relationship. Even if his extended erections cause him discomfort, it's not your job to also be in pain yourself because of them: it's his to investigate why they're happening, and if there's no cause, his to relieve himself when you're just no longer feeling it. While partners are certainly responsible in some sense for investing themselves in one another's pleasure, there's a line in there when it's both more about relief than pleasure and about one partner being serviced rather than both really doing something together.

One last thing? It really is helpful for sexual partners to be able to talk about previous sexual experience. If that makes you feel insecure, know that he's with YOU now, not his previous partner, and his previous partnership was about him and that person, not about you. Not being able to talk about previous sexual experience can really be a barrier for couples, particularly if something problematic now has been before, or if something that is a problem has been ignored in the past. And someone having had a previous sexual partnership doesn't make their current partner or partnership any less valuable.

Here are a few extra links that should help you both out:

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