How long does an erection 'normally' last?

The answer may surprise you.

It’s a question that has been pondered by many lovers: how long does the average man last in bed?

From under a minute to endless love-making – the length of an erection varies widely from man to man. A plethora of factors such as physical and mental, and age can influence sexual stamina. Yet the topic continues to be prone to exaggeration. Scientific research may finally shed some light on the issue.  

According to a study of 500 participants from Europe and the US, the average duration of an erection was 5.4 minutes. But the length of an erection decreased with age. Participants who were 18 to 30 years old lasted an average of 6.5 minutes, whilst those over the age of 51 years ejaculated after 4.3 minutes.

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Another study found similar results with an average erection duration of 5.7 minutes. Erections lasted anywhere from 0.1 to 52.1 minutes. This shows that what’s average isn’t necessarily normal. (What’s ‘normal’ anyway?) But what’s interesting is that most men guessed they lasted approximately 31% longer than they really did.  


It should be mentioned that neither of the studies considered the full length of an erection which often includes foreplay. In both cases, the clock began ticking after vaginal penetration. So, it’s possible that average penile erections actually do last a little longer.


What about morning wood?

Duration of nocturnal penile tumescence – the fancy word for morning wood – is a little longer at 25 to 30 minutes. Most men may have between three to five erections in a single night. But that’s good news because morning wood is a sign of a normal functioning penis. If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction alongside morning wood, your dysfunction may be psychological rather than physiological in nature.


If you never or very rarely wake up to morning wood, it may be a good idea to see a doctor. You can also track your morning erections using the ‘Morning Glory’ app. This lets you monitor your erections and suggests if or when it may be beneficial to visit a doctor.  



  1. Waldinger, M., Quinn, P., Dilleen, M., Mundayat, R., Schweitzer, D., & Boolell, M. (2005). ORIGINAL RESEARCH—EJACULATION DISORDERS: A Multinational Population Survey of Intravaginal Ejaculation Latency Time. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2/4: 492-497. DOI:
  2. Waldinger, M., McIntosh, J., & Schweitzer, D. (2009). A Five-nation Survey to Assess the Distribution of the Intravaginal Ejaculatory Latency Time among the General Male Population. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6/10: 2888-2895. DOI:
  3. Why Do You Get Morning Wood? Believe It Or Not, There's an Important Scientific Reason. (2019). Men's Health. Retrieved September 16, 2019, from <>

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