Reality check: how do men in porn last so long?

In porn, men have endless stamina. How do they last so long? And what can us mere mortals learn from porn to improve our own performances?

Researchers gave stopwatches to 500 couples and asked them to time themselves having sex. When the results were analysed, the average duration of penetrative sex was 5.4 minutes. However, the immense variation in timings was striking. Some men came in a matter of seconds.

In porn, on the other hand, men have endless stamina. They perform feats of sexual endurance and then ejaculate right on demand. How do porn stars last so long? If you ever feel insecure about your own endurance, comparing yourself to the guys sweating away on screen isn’t going to help with that.

Porn is so cartoonish. Men who view adult films are more likely to have an unrealistic expectation about themselves. Most dudes can’t have sex for 45 minutes!Nina Hartley, veteran porn star

Sometimes an hour-long sex scene does get shot without stopping the camera or bits that need to be edited out. I would be willing to believe that a few of these scenes involve penis-in-lower orifice penetration for the entire length of the scene. But I have never performed in a scene like that – nor have I seen one.Stoya, porn star and industry commentator

So in the world of porn, all is not as it seems. There are genetically gifted men working in the industry, but other factors and methods are at work. Some truths emerge when we watch porn with an enquiring mind. For us 5-minutes-on-a-good-day mere mortals, there are useful takeaways too.

So why do men last longer under porn set conditions than in real-world encounters?

Porn sex is not as hot as it looks

Our sexual excitement builds to orgasm faster when it’s boosted by an erotic charge. The more turned on we are, the more difficult it is to slow things down. Typically, the set of a porn shoot is not conducive to being turned on; it’s a place of work. The lights, the production crew and the intense pressure to perform is enough to keep anyone’s sexual excitement in check. It’s tough work for hardened professionals (see what I did there).

Another fast-forward to orgasm is sharing the experience with an attractive partner who is equally excited. There are many beautiful women working in porn and genuinely enjoying what they do. But even the most breathless, enthusiastic performances are paid performances. The male performer is well aware of this during the shoot, which limits the ‘hotness’ of the encounter. Subconsciously, his erotic response just doesn’t fire as it would during a real-world encounter.

Cartoon of actor on a porn set feeling under pressure

We might assume that the variety of beautiful female performers would boost the male porn star’s sexual charge. In psychological terms, this is called the Coolidge Effect. This is the phenomenon where men “exhibit renewed sexual interest if introduced to new, receptive sexual partners”, especially if they have been with the same partner for some time. Porn stars praise the stream of novel partners as a major perk of the job, and it no doubt helps in getting them aroused and ready to go to work. But their sexual excitement levels are still less likely to surge. In fact, the sheer multitude of co-performers may well have a numbing effect on their ability to reach orgasm.

Porn sex is meaningless sex

A primary cause of early ejaculation is the meaning that we attribute to what’s going on between our legs. We might experience fear of not pleasing our partner, confusion about the role that we should be taking, deep-seated feelings of unworthiness or insecurity. We might idealise or loathe certain aspects of sex, or even our partners themselves.

The end result is anxiety, and an inability to relax into mutual sexual pleasure. Performance anxiety is a major cause of premature ejaculation.

Having sex EVERYDAY for hours make it so you get used to it.Stoya

Porn brings its own set of performance pressures, but it is effectively meaningless sex. The porn star needs to please the director and complete the scene, but there is no attraction dynamic involved. There is no pressure to impress or satisfy her. There is no relationship to maintain (or relationship power struggle to overcome) or fear of not getting laid again. His partner is a co-worker with the same lack of emotional investment, so many of the usual tensions and insecurities are absent.

Porn sex has lower expectations

Many men who struggle with premature ejaculation have the ‘frantic thrusting’ habit. We might bang away in the hope that we’ll bring her to orgasm this way, just like the men in porn do. This tends to backfire because the intensity pushes us over the edge. Also, many women say that frantic pumping has the opposite effect. They experience much more sensation from slower or varying speed of strokes.

Women don’t want you to have sex for an hour anyway. So don’t stress too much about making it last as long as they do in the movies.Nina Hartley

In porn, it doesn’t really matter whether she comes or not. There is no expectation on the man to provide satisfaction, and faking orgasm is all part of her performance. All kinds of off-camera stimulation can get her there if the scene does call for a genuine orgasm (a squirting scene, for example).

Female performers claim that they often reach orgasm on set. Reasons for this will certainly include the variety of moves, foreplay and teasing performed for the camera. Porn is criticised by sex educators for not featuring enough foreplay and interaction. But when it does, we really are getting a lesson from the professionals.

I’ve found that the best way to extend the sex is to extend the foreplay. Instead of just taking 5 minutes to get warmed up, take 20. Or an hour. Really tease each other.Casey Calvert, porn star

Porn sex is uncomfortable sex

As well as speed and rhythm, position is a major factor in enjoying sex for longer. This brings us to another habit that’s easy to fall into: sticking to the same position. Shaky sexual confidence usually underlies this habit rather than sheer laziness. We find a position that’s comfortable, feels good and even if we don’t last for long, it gets us through. Missionary position is a classic in this respect, as we can thrust for a while even after we’ve come in order to prolong things by a few precious seconds.

If you are really feeling like you are going to pop, switch it up. Don’t stay too long in a position that feels the best to you – save that for last. You don’t need to do it 20 times, just change it up a few times and pleasure her orally in between, and she’ll think you are pro, not just delaying the inevitable.Kelly Madison, porn star

Porn positions are all about the camera. It’s essential that the action isn’t obscured by arms and legs, resulting in athletic and downright uncomfortable moves. Positioning is directed to get the best shots, and to give the audience plenty of variety so they don’t get bored with the same view for too long. Pleasure is less of a concern in this environment, and again, it’s much less likely that the man’s sexual excitement will escalate out of control.

The biggest challenge [for male performers] is the physically compromising positions. Erections are based on blood flow. It’s like trying to keep a hard-on while running on a treadmill.Conner Habib, porn performer

I have worked with performers who feel themselves heading towards orgasm before they want to. When that happens they can change position or movement or tempo, use their hands or mouth to touch their partner or themselves differently, or even take a total break that will be edited out of the final movie, so there can be some movie trickery involved. In my experience I find that I can hit a wave of stimulation early on, but if I can get past that then I will keep going for a pretty long time.Parker, porn actor

Porn sex requires communication

I’ll wager that the vast majority of sexual encounters happen with scarce understanding of what each partner wants. This applies to one-night stands and 20-year marriages. We’re either too shy to ask or to disclose our own desires, or we assume that we already know it all. So we pretty much do our own thing.

When early finishes become the norm, we get ourselves stuck in a loop of anxiety and denial. A guy in this situation is even less likely to talk to his partner about sex, before or during. Maybe just some painful apologising afterwards, which only reduces the appeal of sex even more.

The real desires and needs of the porn performer are pretty much irrelevant to the required scene. But shooting the scene does call for open discussion, from preliminary planning and direction to filthy talk during the scene to make it more exciting to watch. There is constant communication throughout a porn scene, whether the mic catches it or not.

Honest discussion about wants, fantasies, preferences and fears between partners is a very healthy thing, natch. When done right, talking during sex brings an additional benefit. It helps keep us from retreating into our thoughts and anxieties about our own performance. Veteran porn star Peter North even deploys a little reverse-logic trick:

When things are getting hot… what I’ve done is… talking to the girl. I’m the one who’s getting closer to coming, but I say to her “don’t come yet, hold on, hold on, don’t come yet. Ride that line, stay on that fence”Peter North, veteran pornstar

Peter North

Peter North by Glenn Francis

Porn sex is distracted sex

In many ways, this underlines all of the premature ejaculation scenarios described above. We lose ourselves in waves of pleasure (or anxiety) and before we know it, we’ve hit the point of no return. These might even be evolutionary mechanisms at work, narrowing our mental and physical focus as we approach orgasm.

For our early ancestors, rapid ejaculation would provide an evolutionary advantage, reducing the risk of being ambushed by a bear or elbowed out by another member of the tribe. Our environment is far less hazardous, but we retain the primal reflex that narrows our consciousness to get sex over with fast.

As described earlier, the porn set is full of distractions. This no doubt presents challenges (see ‘supplements’ below) but they keep the male performer ‘stepped back’ from his inner experience. He’s unlikely to become overwhelmed by the action and his primal narrowing of consciousness just doesn’t happen. We should be aware of just how big a difference this makes.

Porn sex is medicated sex

This article would not be complete without a mention of the various medications and stimulants that are commonly used in porn. To deal with the immense pressure to maintain an erection, viagra is the obvious supplement of choice. It’s often used in combination with various creams and numbing sprays to reduce sensitivity.

I should be honest and say that one of the reasons I last a long time is as a side effect of some medication I take for depression. So yes, I suppose that that is a drug that helps, albeit tangentially.Parker

The ejaculation-delaying side effect of SSRI medication is well known, and many male performers self-prescribe it specifically for this benefit. Some of them also go to the lengths of injecting Bi-Mix, which has the effect of maintaining a rock hard erection that remains hard even if orgasm occurs.

I discuss the impact of SSRIs and performance products in other articles, along with some of the genuine benefits for guys who struggle with premature ejaculation. Suffice to say that injections of Bi-Mix is extreme and should be left strictly to the porn professionals. Much safer is this organic nugget of wisdom from Japan’s most enduring male pornstar:

If we’re talking about things that give you stamina, I eat eggs every day.Shigeo Tokuda, 82yr old Japanese star

Shigeo Tokuda

Shigeo Tokuda

The takeaway

There are multiple environmental, contextual and psychological factors that set porn apart from real-world sex. Along with the editing and supplement tricks that occur behind the scenes, of course. No wonder the performers bodies respond so differently when triggers for sexual excitement are absent.

Knowing how male porn stars last so long, we can put our own sexual efforts into perspective. We can stop making unhelpful comparisons between ourselves and the guys on the screen, and benefit from their insights instead.

If you want to increase your sexual stamina, you’re going to need to expand the range of parts you use sexually. Get creative with it.Stoya

It’s a matter of learning how to embrace sexual pleasure whilst maintaining awareness of the interactions between our own and our partners bodies. Notice and break out of old habits, mix things up, stay present and remember to communicate. Who would have thought that all that time spent watching porn could be put to such good use?

Cartoon of man learning how do porn stars last so long

 

Posted by jason

  1. I saw James Deen say in an interview that he can literally fuck for as long as he wants and only comes when he decides to. Is he a freak of nature??

    Reply

    1. Hello Kev,

      He certainly could be, or he might experience the opposite of premature ejaculation: delayed ejaculation (also known as male orgasmic disorder).

      Men with delayed ejaculation generally find it difficult to reach orgasm. They might need to have non-stop intercourse for an hour, or need to masturbate in order to get off, or simply never reach orgasm at all.

      I don’t know about James Deen, but have you spotted guys in porn who, despite receiving oral sex and intercourse in multiple positions, resort to jerking themselves off for the money shot? There’s a clue to their staying power right there.

      I know, I know. For guys with PE, DE sounds pretty awesome. But DE is also just as frustrating, and can be even more problematic in relationships. It’s useful for a porn actor though, as long as he can get there somehow.

      Jason

      Reply

  2. This is interesting, enjoyed reading. I watch amateur porn as most porn is too fake and gets boring, and it think its true that the man tends to come faster in amateur porn. Maybe he lasts 5 minutes which is more like the average. Sometimes 10 minutes but not 30 like porn stars seem to do. Makes me feel a bit better about my own skills 🙂

    Reply

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