How long can the average man stay erect?

Health Tips - Nov 14, 2023

Updated at

Jun 04, 2024

Jennifer Litner - Reviewer Image
Medically reviewed by

Jennifer Litner

Written by

Jamie Smith

how long can the average man stay erect

If you are going to have sex with your partner for the first time, it’s normal to think about how long should an erection last and will your partner be happy with your performance.

The straight answer is most men ejaculate between 5-10 minutes and vaginal intercourse lasts around 10 to 30 minutes or longer, but it depends on your lifestyle, food intake, and other numerous factors.

"There are perfectly happy and healthy couples who don’t enjoy long-lasting sex, and this isn't a problem as long as both are truly happy and OK with this"- Jessa Zimmerman, M.A., certified sex therapist.

After all, are you still wondering how long can the average man stay erect, this article covers all about erection, how long it lasts, steps to improve it, and more.

What is an erection?

Before diving into the duration of how long a man should stay erect, it's crucial to understand the basics of erection and male anatomy.

Erection is a perfectly normal function of the male body that causes the penis to enlarge, hard, and usually stand outward or upward when penile tissue fills up with blood.

It is common with physical stimulation, and sexual arousal. Sometimes it happens during sleep or early morning for no reason and goes away after ejaculation or shiting mind to other things.

Satisfactory sex is incomplete without an erection and if it doesn’t occur at the right moment which means you may have effects of erectile dysfunction – a sexual disorder that happens at some point in men of all ages.

American Journal of Medicine states that 15% of men aged between 20 to 39 years face difficulty in achieving a long-lasting erection.

How does an erection work?

Erection is a part of day-to-day life and requires knowledge to understand it properly.

When men start to feel sexually aroused, their private part surprisingly hardens and becomes larger. There is a complex process behind feeling arousal and erection.

An erection is a physiological process that begins with either mental or physical stimulation. Whether you see the female body, kiss your partner, feel their touch, or watch pornography or sexually explicit material. 

Such a process involves your internal parts like lungs, hormones, nerves, blood vessels,  cardiovascular system, and most importantly your mood for any kind of activity.

When you are ready for intercourse nerves located inside your penis — called the cavernous nerves send a signal to blood flowing instantly to corpora cavernosa. It is a sponge-like tissue inside your penis.

As blood flows smoothly in the areas of erectile tissue, the corpora cavernosa becomes larger and firmer, creating an erection that’s suitable for sexual activity. As a result, the penis becomes engorged with blood, larger than its actual size, and stands erect.

A study found that when men feel aroused, blood flow increases from 20 to 40 times above their normal volume around their genitals.

In the end, men can get firmer erections and stay erect for longer. And after ejaculation, the penis comes back to its flaccid size and appearance.

Understand three types of erections

Hope that you understand how erection works and now discuss different types of erections.

Typically, teenagers and older men somehow feel three different types of erections throughout the day that feel normal.

  1. Psychogenic erections
  2. Refloxogenic erections
  3. Nocturnal erections

Let’s dive deeper to make sense of each of them:

1. Nocturnal erection

Nocturnal erection is one of the most common types of erection that usually occurs while sleeping. In other terms, it’s called morning wood which men of all ages daily experience when they wake up in the morning after a peaceful rest.

Additionally, nocturnal erections occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which is normal and nothing to worry about. But prolonged erection may lead to disturbance in sleep.

Testosterone levels in men are also involved in the occurrence of nocturnal erections.

2. Reflexogenic erections

When your female partner touches your body or you come with physical contact, Reflexogenic erections happen in response to physical stimulation.

Reflexogenic erections are completely different from Nocturnal erections because here you have full control of your desire for sex and erection.

Simply put, oral sex, foreplay, and physical stimulation activates your nervous system and stimulate blood to flow smoothly inside the vessels of the penis.

3. Psychogenic erections

A psychogenic erection is directly linked to your brain and penis.

It occurs when sexual thoughts pop - up in your mind, fantasize, and emotionally think about your favorite person. 

Normally, when we see hot scenes in the movie, talking about sex topics with a partner, going on a date, and any kind of thought that triggers a series of impulses from the brain to the penis. 

As a result, the penis gets an erection.

How to improve erection?

As you already know satisfactory sex starts with an erection that requires arousal for intercourse.

As mentioned earlier, if you find difficulty in achieving a firmer erection, you may be experiencing erectile dysfunction or ED.

It is the most common sexual problem for men and research states that 22 million men will have ED globally by 2025, 

There are some natural and medical ways that you can follow to make your erection last longer and increase its strength.

Medications for ED

It’s common that when age is increased, erectile strength gets weakened in men. Therefore, people need ED medications that can improve their performance.

There are some popular medications that treat erectile dysfunction in men, such as Cenforce 100 mg (Sildenafil, the active ingredient) and Vidalista 60 mg (Tadalafil, the active ingredient), that work by improving blood flow to the penis and blocking enzymes called phosphodiesterase-5.

It comes in tablet form and its effects last up to 4 hours. The only risk is sometimes you can feel adverse effects like headache, dizziness, and priapism. So it is necessary to consult with healthcare experts.

Quite bad habits

A good erection requires a healthy lifestyle and it will be best if you make changes in your behavior and daily lifestyle.

Smoking, drinking alcohol, tobacco products, sugary drinks, and living a sanitary lifestyle fall into bad habits that can affect your erection quality.

it’s worth reducing or quitting these bad habits to enjoy a sexual life.


Many men think sex is about giving each other a satisfactory orgasm but that’s not true!

Foreplay is a kind of technique to make a partner more arousal and maintain an erection for a long time.

If you have been experiencing premature ejaculation (erection lasts not more than 1 minute), foreplay is worth slowing things down and staying erect longer in bed.

Eat a balanced diet

Foods that highly sodium and saturated fat, fast food, processed foods, and red meat can negatively affect your arteries and blood flow which causes erectile dysfunction. 

Here are some foods that you may include in your plat:

  • Vegetables - eating green vegetables like spinach and leafy greens increases blood circulation and makes you healthier.
  • Fruits - fruits also contribute to maintaining blood flow and improving blood pressure.
  • Removing the consumption of processed foods and sugar can save you from various diseases diabetes, ED, anxiety, low testosterone levels, and damaging nerves and blood vessels.

Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential for great sexual health and getting a sufficient amount of rest recommended at least seven hours is a sign of a good lifestyle.

It directly affects our physical and mental wellness such as depression, stress, fatigue, and increased anger levels. 

Sleep is essential for great sexual health and sleeping well requires getting a sufficient amount of rest, recommends at least seven hours of sleep.

Kegel exercises

Just like weight lifting can strengthen other muscles in your body, Kegel exercises can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and also support your bladder and bowel function.

Your cardiovascular health plays a huge role in your erectile strength and ability to get a sustainable erection. Regular exercise can improve blood flow and heart rate.

Talk to your partner

Talking openly with your partner about your expectations, erectile dysfunction, and your feelings about her can improve sexual satisfaction, and reduce anxiety and stress levels.

So change your mind and make the bedroom environment romantic together

Factors that affect erection and its duration

How long can the average man stay erect depends on a variety of factors, including

  • Individual age
  • Fatigue
  • Stress - anxiety
  • Side effects of medicines
  • Mental health
  • Physiological problems
  • Diabetes 
  • Heavyweight
  • Alcohol consumption and smoking

Erectile dysfunction:- a condition in which a person constantly faces difficulty getting or maintaining an erection long enough to have penetrative sex and climax.

Premature ejaculation:- another sexual health condition in which men can't last longer in bed or ejaculate within a minute. around 20-30% of men from all age groups experience this issue throughout their life.

It is also known as “early ejaculation” and is easily treatable with some medications such as Super P Force. Which contains Dapoxetine to help you deal with this common issue.

Priapism:- When an erection lasts longer (up to 4 hours) and the penis stays erect longer than expected, this condition is called Priapism. 

Overdose of ED medication could also cause Priapism. If you ever experience this issue, urgently call your family doctor or seek medical treatment.

How does Mental Health affect Erection Duration?

Erection and its duration depend on physical factors like blood flow, obesity, hormonal balance, as well as mental health also play significant roles in erection duration. Around 40% of ED cases are psychogenic (mental health concerns) and these factors can include stress, anxiety, depression, guilt, low self-esteem, or relationship concerns. 

Such reasons can impact a person's sexual performance, leading to lower libido, and arousal. Working with a healthcare provider or therapist, daily meditation and yoga can improve mental health disorders and the ability to achieve an erection.

If you have been experiencing any of these psychological issues, there are many ways to overcome this situation.

How long should men last the first time?

If you are going to have sex with your partner for the first time, you may be wondering how long should I last in bed. The shortest answer is it depends on how long you and your partner want it to. 

Satisfaction doesn’t mean staying erect longer and climaxing but it means how better you and your pattern are treating each other, showing love, and overcoming all limitations.

So do not worry about ejaculation time, focus on your performance.

Bottom line

An erection, its strength, and duration vary from person to person. Good lifestyle, relationship status, mental health, genetics, hormonal balance, and more factors can influence the ability of men to stay erect.

If you find signs of erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, go to your healthcare provider to get medical advice. If needed, the doctor can prescribe essential medications.

Don’t just rely on medical treatment also seek natural ways that improve sexual function.