Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
If you’re having trouble keeping up with your partner in bed, and it’s affecting your sex life, you’re not alone. Not to worry, though, because there are plenty of ways you can increase your sexual stamina, even if you’re encountering some hurdles.
Let’s get into it.
Sexual stamina is the ability to sustain sexual activity before having to rest. Low sexual stamina can affect how long erections last and when you reach orgasm. On average, it takes five to seven minutes for men to reach orgasm and ejaculate.
Certain sexual dysfunction problems and overall health issues can weaken your stamina. Premature ejaculation is one of the most common forms of sexual dysfunction, affecting about 20 to 30 percent of men who are sexually active. While PE can occur alone, it’s often seen along with erectile dysfunction.
Other factors that can affect sexual stamina include:
Orgasm and ejaculation. Many guys face difficulty reaching orgasm and ejaculating, thus limiting their sexual stamina. As you’ve probably noticed, you have to take a break after ejaculating to rest and let your refractory period pass. The refractory period allows your body to rest from sexual activity and return to a normal state.
Erectile dysfunction. Sometimes, your ability to maintain an erection can interfere with your sexual performance. ED is the inability to get or maintain an erection for sex. When you have ED, you may lose your erection during sex, affecting your stamina.
Physical exhaustion. At the end of the day, sex is a physical act that can wear you out. If you’re exhausted from work, lack of sleep or overextending yourself physically, you may be too fatigued for sex.
Psychological factors. Your mind can play a role in your ability to perform in bed. Mental health disorders, dealing with PE in a relationship or just the fear of not satisfying your partner are all psychological factors that can affect sexual stamina.
If you’re aiming to increase your sexual stamina and last longer during sex, there are several things you can do — from making changes to your habits and lifestyle to using medication.
Below, we’ll share 17 simple, science-based tactics to increase your stamina, improve your sexual performance and make sex a longer-lasting, better experience for you and your partner.
If you tend to ejaculate too early during penetrative sex, topical treatments might help.
Delay Spray is a premature ejaculation spray that can reduce sensitivity in your penis without any numbing sensation. Spray it on 10 to 15 minutes before getting intimate to have enjoyable sex without worrying about coming too quickly.
Our guide to lidocaine spray for premature ejaculation goes into greater detail about how these products work and how you can use them effectively for better sexual stamina and more pleasurable sex.
According to one study, these wipes may improve symptoms of PE.
To use these wipes, apply them to the shaft of your penis and allow it to dry for five minutes before sex.
If do-it-yourself methods for how to improve sexual stamina are ineffective, it might be time to seek medical care. If you’ve been diagnosed with premature ejaculation, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to help manage symptoms.
Some medications can be used to treat premature ejaculation, though they aren’t approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) to treat PE specifically. These include sertraline (the active ingredient in Zoloft®), paroxetine (generic for Paxil®) and sildenafil (Viagra®).
When used as prescribed, these medications might help you control your climax and last significantly longer in bed.
Does Viagra make you last longer? Read our guide for answers.
If you have sexual dysfunction problems like erectile dysfunction, prescription medication may be a good option to increase stamina.
PDE5 inhibitors are ED drugs that can help you get an erection by increasing blood flow to your penis. Some of the more common PDE5-inhibiting medications include sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) and avanafil (Stendra®).
Our guide to PDE5 inhibitors covers how these medications work and how they can help promote harder erections and better sexual performance.
We offer several FDA-approved erectile dysfunction medications online, such as chewable ED hard mints, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who’ll determine if a prescription is appropriate.
In case you didn’t know, poor health habits can contribute to low sexual desire, as well as PE and ED.
Sorry — you might have to pick up some weights to gain stamina in the bedroom. Working out and sex drive go hand-in-hand, so exercise is crucial for better stamina.
While sex can be considered mild to moderate physical activity, you’ll need to get physical outside the bedroom to maintain the healthy weight and muscle tone to keep you at peak performance in the bedroom.
According to a review of multiple studies, erectile dysfunction is commonly associated with the following factors:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Obesity can impact sexual stamina. A review of 47 studies revealed a substantial connection between obesity and decreased sexual function. In fact, ED is more common among obese men than non-obese men.
When you have a high body weight, you’re more susceptible to weight-related diseases and other health problems.
The body mass index (BMI) can be a great screening tool to help estimate your risk for developing certain diseases that may later contribute to sexual dysfunction. You can use the CDC’s BMI calculator to see what your number is.
See the breakdown of BMI rates for men below.
Underweight: 18.4 or below
Healthy weight: 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight: 25.0 to 29.9
Obese: 30.0 or higher
Keep in mind BMI isn’t the be-all and end-all for physical health. Speak with your healthcare provider to discuss weight concerns.
So, what can you do to maintain a healthy weight to last longer in bed? Generally speaking, adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity.
Even small bouts of exercise can help improve your sexual functioning, so get moving.
Our guide to obesity and erectile dysfunction has more information about how weight can affect sexual health and steps you can take to improve sexual performance and stamina.
Remember the old saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, it’s actually true. If you want to increase stamina, you need to eat the right foods.
Aim for foods rich in amino acids like l-arginine. You can find l-arginine in most animal-based sources of protein, including fish, poultry, red meat and dairy products.
According to a review, your body converts l-arginine into nitric oxide, which helps increase the diameter of your blood vessels to promote blood flow throughout your body. Nitric oxide is responsible for increasing blood flow to the penis to help you get erect.
Beyond protein, you can add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes to your diet. And try to limit junk foods, of course.
Since erections are about healthy, consistent blood flow, good heart health is essential for maintaining optimal stamina and sexual performance.
There are many connections between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular diseases. In fact, ED is considered a vascular disease, meaning it affects blood flow.
A review showed that ED is commonly seen in men with high blood pressure. It also noted that this sexual dysfunction problem could be a side effect of antihypertensive medications.
Diabetes is another cardiovascular disease that can cause ED problems and affect stamina. Research shows that men with diabetes are three times more likely to develop ED than nondiabetic men.
Talk to a healthcare provider about your cardiovascular health and how it might affect stamina in bed. If necessary, your provider may prescribe medication or suggest changes to your habits and lifestyle to improve your heart function and promote better sexual performance.
Are you catching enough Z’s each night?
Poor sleep is associated with many health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, hypertension and cardiovascular disease — which, as you now know, are often at least party to blame for many guys’ issues with erectile function and sexual stamina.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 33 percent of American adults have a “short sleep duration,” meaning they get an average of less than seven hours of sleep per night.
The CDC recommends adults 18 and older get seven or more hours of sleep each night.
A review of studies linked these sleep disorders to erectile dysfunction and other urological disorders:
Obstructive sleep apnea
Shift work disorder
Restless legs syndrome
To get your shut-eye, set a sleep schedule you can stick to or try an over-the-counter supplement or prescription aid to fall asleep faster.
There’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail here and there in social settings. But over-consuming alcohol is a no-no when it comes to how to increase your stamina.
There’s a myth that drinking alcohol can slow orgasm and delay ejaculation. However, a review of multiple studies revealed that alcohol is actually tied to sexual performance problems, such as the slang term “whiskey dick” or alcohol-induced erectile dysfunction.
In a study involving 100 men diagnosed with alcohol dependence, 72 percent had one or more sexual dysfunction problems, such as PE, ED or low libido.
With this in mind, the CDC suggests limiting alcohol to no more than two drinks a day.
As you may already know, drinking heavily can affect your heart health too. A review found that daily binge drinking was associated with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and hypertension — both conditions affect blood flow to the penis.
Learn more about the connection between alcohol and sexual performance in our guide.
Another habit that can impact sexual stamina is smoking. A review found that cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing ED regardless of age or health problems. This is because cigarettes can affect nitric oxide, worsening the mechanisms responsible for erectile function.
If you’re ready to quit smoking, contact your healthcare provider. They can provide resources and recommend medications to help you quit.
Want to know how to improve stamina in a more simplified way? Spend more time on foreplay.
What exactly can you do with foreplay? For starters, try kissing, touching or oral sex with your partner to help you last longer.
The longer the foreplay, the less likely you’ll tap out quickly when it’s time for the main event.
As with foreplay, take your time to slow things down. Unless that’s the goal, fast sex can lead to early orgasm and ejaculation.
Instead of speeding through sex, dial it back a notch and go at a slower pace, focusing on enjoying the shared experience with your partner.
To keep things interesting, try mixing different intensity levels. When things get more intense and you feel orgasm approaching, slow down to get your breath. This is known as edging.
Going slow initially can pay off in more intense, exciting and pleasurable sex.
Yes, something as simple as switching what condom you use can increase stamina in bed. If you’re feeling overstimulated, thicker condoms might be the answer.
Several brands sell “extended pleasure” or “delay” condoms to help slow ejaculation. Some condoms for PE are thicker than average, while others may contain numbing ingredients to reduce the physical sensations of sex.
A study involving 100 patients with PE found that thicker condoms can be effective in enhancing the intensity and time of your erection. You may have to try a few to find a comfortable condom that meets your needs.
The stop-start and squeeze techniques are non-medical ways to treat low sexual stamina.
With the stop-start technique, you have sex as usual until right before you reach orgasm, then slow down or stop until the urge to ejaculate disappears.
This method can be fairly easy and effective, but you might have to practice a few times to get it right.
Studies have shown that 45 to 65 percent of men have short-term improvements with sex using this technique.
The squeeze technique involves squeezing the head of your penis right before orgasm, then waiting about 30 seconds to recover before continuing sex. Like the stop-start technique, this method can take practice.
Guys, pelvic floor exercises aren’t just for women.
Pelvic floor exercises (aka kegel exercises) can train the muscles extending from your pubic bone across your tailbone. These muscles are responsible for controlling urination and some aspects of the ejaculatory process.
Check out our guide to pelvic floor exercises for a simple kegel exercise routine. It only takes a few minutes a day to improve your ejaculatory control and potentially boost your stamina.
It’s okay if you need more time to reach orgasm and ejaculate. In fact, it can be quite normal for many men due to the refractory period, which can last a few minutes or as long as a day.
If you want to know how to improve stamina, consider masturbating hours before sex to slow down orgasm and ejaculation.
Results of this method vary among men. Research suggests that some men find masturbation before sex helpful, but it only works if they’re able to get a second erection within the right time frame.
Masturbate too long before sex, and you won’t notice as much of a benefit. Experiment with timing to see what works best for you.
Nothing’s wrong with watching porn here and there, but too much of a good thing can negatively impact your sex drive, stamina and overall sexual performance.
As discussed in our guide to porn-induced erectile dysfunction, some research has found a link between porn usage and decreased sexual satisfaction — an issue that could contribute to a reduced level of interest in sex.
Also, porn addiction can impact real-life sexual relationships. A study involving 487 men aged 18 to 29 suggested that higher pornography use negatively impacted the enjoyment of sexual intimacy with a partner.
While you might be tempted to skip the doctor’s office and try over-the-counter (OTC) pills to increase stamina — take caution.
Learn more about the risks of these products in our guide to over-the-counter ED drugs. Or check out the FDA’s list of tainted sexual enhancement products.
Mental health disorders and emotional issues may contribute to low sexual stamina.
In a study involving over 18,000 patients, having depression was highly associated with the risk of premature ejaculation. A review of multiple studies showed that sexual dysfunction can arise in younger men due to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and relationship issues.
If you’re facing emotional issues or have a mental health condition, consider in-person or therapy.
To control ejaculation and last longer in bed, explore ways to increase sexual stamina. The above tips and techniques can help you improve sexual performance and enjoy longer-lasting sexual experiences.
Here are a few takeaways:
Low or absent sexual stamina may arise from sexual dysfunction, sexual performance anxiety, medical conditions, poor physical health or mental health issues.
Premature ejaculation treatments typically involve a combination of psychotherapy, behavioral modifications and pharmacologic therapy.
Erectile dysfunction treatments may include PDE5 inhibitors or topical desensitizing medications.
Non-medical approaches and lifestyle changes might help with sexual endurance. This includes the stop-start technique, using thicker condoms, limiting porn, masturbating before sex, maintaining a healthy weight, doing regular workouts, drinking less and quitting smoking.
Kate Hagerty is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of healthcare experience. She has worked in critical care, community health, and as a retail health provider.