How to Last Longer in Bed: 14 Ways to Help

Kristin Hall, FNP

Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Published 01/08/2021

Updated 03/08/2023

So, last night was disappointing. You were stroking, your partner was waiting and as the reality set in that you’d already blown the evening by, well, blowing too fast, you made a mental note to Google “how to last longer” in the cold light of day.

Awkward as this experience might be, it’s actually kinda common. Though estimates vary, some research suggests that up to 30 percent of men deal with symptoms of premature ejaculation at one point in life or another.

Point being, you’re not alone. But even if premature ejaculation isn’t an issue for you, sexual stamina is one of those traits you can always improve on. If you want to become a master of stamina, you must learn to delay ejaculation whenever you want to. After all, better control is the key to longer-lasting, more satisfying sex with your partner. 

So how do you do it? How do you become a master? What is the best way to last longer in bed?

We’ve got answers. Specifically, we have 14 science-based strategies, tools and techniques that can make sex last longer including:

  • Desensitizing agents

  • Medication

  • Kegels

  • Improving your heart health

  • Therapy

  • Mid-session plays 

  • Better communication and foreplay with your partner

To learn why they work and how you can use them for a better, more satisfying sexual experience, read on.

14 Science-Based Ways to Last Longer in Bed

How to last longer during sex isn’t a simple question, and there’s no best way to last longer in bed that works for everyone. Instead, you can think of the 14 suggestions below as a sexual pleasure toolbox. There’s at least one “right tool” for every job. 

Figuring out what works best for your needs may take some time, so be patient (and ask your partner to be patient with you) until you find the best way to last longer in bed for you.

Try Desensitizing Condoms or Premature Ejaculation Spray

If there’s a problem you can’t solve, there’s a chance you just haven’t found the right gadget yet — and that non-medical advice extends enthusiastically to sex. From specially designed condoms to numbing agents that can reduce your sensitivity, there are plenty of ways to last longer with help.

Wearing a condom in general provides some degree of desensitization, and some are thicker than others. 

Another way to extend your sexual stamina is to use topical anesthetics such as benzocaine and lidocaine.

Both benzocaine and lidocaine are used as localized anesthetics, but in appropriate topical doses, they can also reduce your sensitivity.

How you apply those medications to your penis depends on what seems easiest for you — medicated wipes, sprays, gels, and some condoms for premature ejaculation contain these numbing liquids and creams.

For example, our Clockstopper Climax Delay Wipes and Delay Spray for Men use benzocaine to give you greater control over your level of sensitivity during sex, all without excess numbing or discomfort. 

Applied five to 15 minutes before sex, these over-the-counter products can help you stave off premature ejaculation and provide a nice confidence boost that can prevent sexual performance anxiety. Just make sure to wait if you’re about to have penetrative sex — otherwise you might leave your partner uncomfortably numb.

Ask Your Healthcare Provider About Medication

Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) paroxetine and sertraline, are commonly prescribed to treat depression, but they’re also prescribed off-label as treatments for premature ejaculation. The reason? One common side effect: delayed orgasm. 

While SSRIs for PE aren’t FDA approved, your healthcare provider may recommend using this type of medication if you often reach orgasm too early, effectively boosting your mental health in two ways (wink).

A 2019 review and meta-analysis published in BMC Urology found that the SSRI paroxetine was well-tolerated and more effective than fluoxetine and escitalopram in the treatment of premature ejaculation, so that may be a good place to start.

Talk with a healthcare professional and, in the meantime, our guide to premature ejaculation pills goes into more detail about how these medications can work to help you last longer in bed. 

Practice Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises, or kegel exercises, are linked to several improvements in sexual health, including more control over ejaculation.

Yes, that’s correct, fellas. Men can benefit from kegels, too.

Your pelvic floor muscles are located below your penis and control the flow of urine from your bladder. You can feel your pelvic floor muscles in action when you tense while peeing — they help to stop your urinary flow and prevent you from defecating.

For example, in a 2014 study, 40 men with lifelong premature ejaculation engaged in 12 weeks of pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation. 

At the end of the treatment period, more than 80 percent of the patients had gained control over their ejaculatory reflex and increased their intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT) — the total amount of time required to climax after penetrating the vagina.

On average, the men increased from an IELT of less than 40 seconds to a range between 123.6 and 152.4 seconds by the end of the 12 weeks.

Focus on Foreplay

So you know that foreplay thing you’re always hearing about? It’s pretty important. Only around 18 percent of the women surveyed reported they orgasm from sexual intercourse alone. This is your opportunity. 

Take advantage of foreplay time — use your mouth, fingers, or sex toys (yes, plural, like this one) to stimulate your partner and make sex more enjoyable for both of you. According to a survey of over 1,000 women published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, more than 70 percent of women either reported clitoral stimulation helped them orgasm during sex, or that it was essential for them to successfully reach orgasm at all.

Even a few minutes of foreplay can also significantly increase the intensity of sex, helping you and your partner keep the good time going longer. And all the while, increase the time you’re having sexual contact without increasing your penetration time.

Try Different Sex Positions

Elaborate sexual positions can cause anxiety. Everyone talks a big game until the first attempt at imitating a Cirque du Soleil performer lands them in urgent care. The good news is you don’t need to be double-jointed somewhere to try a new position — one that might improve your stamina.

Sex is all about angles, as anyone who’s switched from years of missionary to the exciting doggy style alternative will confirm. But you don’t actually want doggy — you want cowgirl, or another position that allows your partner to get more pleasure with less thrusting. This reduces your stimulation, increases theirs, and in the process might put the two of you on the same pace to the finish line.

We have a guide on sexual positions for small penis, too.

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Try the Stop-Start Technique to Slow Down Ejaculation

The stop-start technique is an old-fashioned therapeutic technique for slowing down ejaculation and increasing the amount of time you can last in bed. 

It’s simple: when you feel like you’re about to ejaculate, simply stop doing the fun stuff until you feel the urge to orgasm go away. You can repeat this process several times while you and your partner have sex to extend your stamina by avoiding orgasm and ejaculation.

Not only does the stop-start technique let you have sex for longer — it can also help you to feel more comfortable with the sensation that occurs when you’re about to ejaculate.

This can make it easier for you to react to a too-early oncoming orgasm, and either slow down or stop your movement until the sensation passes.

Experiment With Edging

Edging — masturbating until close to climax, then stopping until you can continue — is kind of like a solo version of the stop-start technique that you can use to quickly and easily familiarize yourself with the warning signs that you’re about to ejaculate. 

By practicing this technique, you may find that when you’re with a partner you can quickly bring yourself back from the point of no return. 

Use Visualization Techniques to Calm Yourself

Here’s a question for you: have you ever walked in on a grandparent while they were changing? That upsetting experience may be something you want to banish from memory, but you may also want to store it somewhere, for one particular use: extending your sex sessions.

Visualization is the process of using mental visual images to draw yourself into a specific scene or environment, such as a relaxing space free of any worries. While it’s used mostly in meditative relaxation, it can also be used in the bedroom to distract you from your urge to climax.

There’s no high quality research on the effectiveness of visualization for PE, but many guys find that distractions in bed can improve their stamina.

Grandpa after a shower, however, is probably unnecessary. Think about a spreadsheet or filling out tax forms if it helps you and your penis chill out. Just try not to fall asleep, either. 

Learn the Squeeze Technique

Another way to put the brakes on an imminent orgasm is the squeeze technique. When you’re sexually aroused, blood flow to the penis increases

Similar to the stop-start technique, the squeeze technique involves firmly squeezing below the glans (head) of your penis as you feel orgasm approaching. Then, wait for the urge to recede before getting back to business with your partner.

It’s important to communicate with your partner when using this technique. If you prefer to have your partner squeeze for you, make sure to clearly explain to them how much pressure to apply to your penis and when to squeeze. 

Masturbate Before You Have Sex

At the end of the day, everyone wants a quick way to beat the system. But the best way to do that may be a solo quickie — beating something by yourself

After having an orgasm, your body starts to enter what’s called the refractory period. During this recovery phase, you’ll likely find it harder to get an erection — if you’re even interested in sex at all.

The length of the male refractory period can vary. For some men, it’s less than one hour, while for others, it may last for up to 24 hours. You may need to figure out what yours is, but once you have that information, masturbating before sex can increase your time to ejaculation.

Even if you choose not to keep an hourly log, you can still get some benefits by masturbating earlier in the day or shortly before being with a partner. Just don’t overdo it and stroke your erectile potential into the ground. If you do, you could end up with a situational version of erectile dysfunction

Improve Your Cardiovascular Fitness

Erectile function and high blood pressure go together like sex and the Hamilton soundtrack. 

You probably knew this already, but exercise is vital for maintaining men’s health and wellness, and cardiovascular fitness is particularly important when it comes to sexual performance. While neither of these things affects PE directly, your cardiovascular fitness level is a crucial element of your overall sexual satisfaction (and your partner’s, too).

According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, high levels of cardiovascular exercise may have a protective effect against common forms of sexual dysfunction in both men and women.

Cardiovascular exercise — jogging with your dog, playing basketball with friends, riding your bike around your neighborhood, going for a hike — is more about the habit than the form. The key is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy so that you’ll stick to it. 

With regular exercise, you may also see improvements in your weight, mood and sleep, all of which can have a positive impact on your erections, stamina and overall sexual function. 

Aim for 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, and try to incorporate at least two days of strength training as well.

Change to a Healthier Diet

It's no secret that obesity can have a negative effect on your sexual performance, but did you know that the opposite is true, too? Exercising more and eating a balanced diet can help you to get rid of excess body fat and maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI), which can in turn improve your ability to perform. 

For example, a meta-analysis reviewing over 600 patients found that obese men have an increased risk of erectile dysfunction, while a scientific study of more than 200 non-diabetic obese men noted sexual dysfunction could be present even without the disease.

Certain foods, such as whole grain carbohydrates, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables may improve blood flow throughout your body, helping reduce your risk of issues like ED.

Above all else, try to limit foods that are high in saturated fats and sodium, which could have a negative effect on your blood circulation and sexual performance. 

Communicate with Your Partner

Communication is great. It’s how airplanes avoid colliding in the air, it’s how you order a beer at a bar and it’s how your partner knows how you’re feeling — and how you know their feelings

Communication is a two-way street down the highway of love (or something like that). Taking time to communicate your needs is just as important as asking them what you could be doing more of, or better. 

For instance, your partner may not even be worried about how long you can or can’t last. Maybe they prefer clitoral stimulation over penetration. Maybe sex doesn’t actually “do it” for them regardless of how long you can last. 

Tell them you’re struggling to last longer. Tell them you want to do it for their enjoyment. Tell them what makes you finish faster. It can help them avoid pressing the “magic button” — or give them the tools to do it whenever they please.

Talk to a Therapy Professional

If you’ve tried some of the methods above and you’re still struggling, you may want to consider seeing a sex therapist or other mental health professional.

Although it may seem awkward to talk about your sex life with a stranger, therapists are trained to handle these particular challenges. You may even want to consider couples therapy if you’re struggling to connect with your partner as a result of sexual performance issues.

While the idea of using therapy to treat premature ejaculation and last longer in bed might seem unusual, there is some science to back it up.

For example, a 2011 scientific review noted that there are several studies that suggest a benefit to psychological interventions such as therapy for premature ejaculation, although the evidence is currently “weak and inconsistent.”

Often, talking with a therapist can help you to deal with other issues that may be affecting you in bed, such as a stressful workplace or challenges in your relationship.

We offer an online therapy service that you can use to connect with a licensed therapy provider online and take part in private psychotherapy from your home. 

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improve performance with doctor-trusted treatments

The Final Word on How to Last Longer in Bed 

Contrary to what porn and pop culture might have taught us, sex doesn’t need to be a marathon to be enjoyable. However, being able to “go the distance” certainly isn’t a bad thing when it comes to pleasurable, satisfying sex. 

  • There are ways to improve your stamina. Medications, topical agents, tools and techniques offer a variety of solutions for a variety of lifestyles.

  • You’ll need to figure out what works for your needs. If you’d like to improve your stamina and last for longer the next time you have sex, try one, two or several of the tips above — feel free to mix and match. 

  • Getting professional help can speed up your improvements. If you find it very difficult to last in bed and feel concerned about premature ejaculation, you may also want to talk to a licensed healthcare provider about treatment options and get tailored tips.

We can help — Hims offers a large range of premature ejaculation treatments online, with prescription medications available following an online consultation with a physician. 

Now get out there and be the tantric marathon sex god you’ve always deserved to be. 

17 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.