A romantic couple in bed together
Ibai Acevedo/Stocksy United

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

A healthy sex life can help you sleep better. Problems with sexual performance can be frustrating and embarrassing.

If you are having trouble with your sexual performance or are unable to have an erection during a sexual encounter, you may be wondering how you can last longer in bed.

Sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose the cause of these changes. These issues may resolve naturally over time, or they could be an underlying medical issue.

You can try out treatment options on your own, or you can reach out to your doctor to discuss your options.

You might not be staying in bed as long as you would like. There can be emotional and physical reasons.

You may be experiencing premature ejaculation, which causes ejaculation to happen sooner than you or your partner would like, or you may be experiencing ED, which causes difficulty becoming erect or keeping an erection long enough to have penetrative sex.

To address the question of how to last longer in bed, it is important to know which of the two conditions you have. Someone who is not having any trouble becoming erect may find that they are reaching climax much faster than usual, which is a sign of PE and not ED.

It is difficult to tell if someone is having difficulties becoming erect until they are able to stay erect throughout sex. Since ED and PE treatments are often very different, the person would want to meet with their doctor or healthcare professional to explore and prioritize ED treatments first. PE may not be a problem once ED is treated.

When you include elements like foreplay, how long it takes both partners to complete, and other activities that can extend the length of a sexual encounter, it can be difficult to define the duration of sex.

Scientifically speaking, research shows that, on average, it takes a person with a penis about 5 to 7 minutes to become erect and ejaculate, but this window of time will vary. For people experiencing PE, this amount of time can be much shorter.

One 2005 survey showed the median time for some 500 couples, conducted over a 4-week period, was approximately 5.4 minutes for vaginal sex. This average is based strictly on the start and end of vaginal sex and doesn’t include any time spent during foreplay. The overall range was from approximately 30 seconds to 44 minutes.

The couples in this study were all heterosexual and had been in stable relationships for at least 6 months.

The time needed for a partner to also reach climax is not accounted for in the estimates. Sex may last longer in these instances.

Stress, anxiety, and depression can all contribute to ED. Many underlying health conditions like sleep apnea, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other mental health conditions, can also play roles. You may not even know you have one of these conditions.

Age may also be a factor. The likelihood of ED increases with age, but experts are now seeing it more in younger people. ED in young people is often ignored or overlooked but it can be an indicator of future cardiovascular conditions.

Prescription medication can help improve erection quality and sexual performance by increasing blood flow to the penis. Prescription ED medications include:

As with all prescription medications, they come with some risks. ED medications can lead to numerous side effects. For a quick rundown on what you might experience, check out this article.

ED medications can be associated with a number of symptoms. People with heart problems and diabetes can be at risk of having side effects from taking nitrates or blood thinners.

Natural solutions may not be as risky or have the same health benefits.

1. Quit smoking

Smoking could be to blame for sexual dysfunction, among other conditions. Smoking can impair circulation, increase your risk of ED, and decrease your sperm count and viability.

2. Exercise

Managing your weight and exercising can improve your performance. You could build bedroom endurance by tuning your cardiovascular health.

3. Therapy

“There is a connection between ED and mental health, even if you think it’s a result of your biology or physical health. ED can be caused by depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, and can be treated with therapy and a mental health professional.”

However, it can be a case of “chicken or the egg” when trying to determine the cause. According to a 2018 meta-analysis on the subject, some people experiencing depression were more at risk for ED, while others currently with ED were at a higher risk of depression.

In a 2017 study that focused on people assigned male at birth, 28 participants under 40 with ED symptoms showed a significant improvement after they underwent cognitive behavioral therapy.

4. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a treatment method of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that’s been practiced for over 2,500 years. The practice of inserting small needles into certain points across the body stimulates the nervous system and affects natural opioids and hormones.

Research into the use of acupuncture to treat ED is limited. Only small studies are currently available, but some results seem promising.

In fact, a 2019 review analyzed many of the clinical trials exploring acupuncture as an ED treatment and found the results to be very positive. However, the review also notes the limited number of studies available and relatively low sample sizes from those studies, which could influence the overall results.

Despite its limited evidence as an ED treatment, there are still other benefits that are believed to come from acupuncture, like stress and chronic pain reduction, that can better your overall wellness and may be worth considering.

5. Talk with your doctor about underlying health conditions

ED can be a symptom of a lot of serious health conditions, like sleep apnea, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. If ED is a sign of something more serious, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

DHEA helps create sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. Natural DHEA levels decrease as a person gets older. While some studies suggest that DHEA supplements could help ED, others have found no evidence to support this claim.

DHEA can have side effects.

  • fatigue
  • There are headaches.
  • There is a problem with the skin
  • irregular heartbeat


Yohimbine is the main component of bark from Pausinystalia yohimbe trees, and it’s thought to be an aphrodisiac.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that there’s not enough evidence to show that yohimbine from tree bark can treat ED.

Studies have linked yohimbine to serious side effects. High blood pressure and stomach problems are some of the side effects.

Yohimbine is a prescription drug for ED. This product is different from the tree bark supplements.

Horny goat weed

Epimedium grandiflorum, also known as horny goat weed, is a traditional remedy for increasing fertility. But there’s not enough evidence to support its use.

This supplement is usually well-tolerated. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth.

If you start to notice ED or a loss of libido, you should see your doctor.

“If you almost always ejaculate within 1 minute of beginning intercourse or if you can’t delay ejaculation when you want to, talk to a urologist.”

ED can be caused by underlying health conditions that need to be treated before you can get back to your normal sex life.

Why can’t I last longer in bed?

ED is the most likely cause of inability to become erect or lose erection too early.

It is not always easy to figure out what is causing ED symptoms. Anyone with a penis can experience difficulties maintaining an erection from time to time, especially during periods of heightened stress, depression, or sudden or significant changes to their lifestyle or diet.

If you have ED symptoms for a long time, it is time to talk with a doctor.

ED can occur from a buildup of the phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) enzyme that can impact blood flow and ultimately interfere with blood flow to the penis. If your doctor believes this is the cause of your symptoms, medications like Viagra or sildenafil — also known as PDE5 inhibitors — can work to block PDE5 from distributing blood flow.

Are there pills that can help me stay hard longer?

There are several Food and Drug Administration-approved pills that treat ED. These include sildenafil (Viagra), avanafil (Stendra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil is used for infertility.. These medications are used to counter the symptoms of ED and assist in restoring blood flow to the penis.

If you’re not experiencing ED symptoms, these medications may not be as effective and even in some cases can cause serious health conditions, like priapism, when misused.

There are supplements that claim to increase sex drive, but the scientific data on their efficacy is often mixed.

The condition of the bedroom is highly treatable, but many people will experience concerns in it at some point.

The doctor will help you figure out the root cause. The FDA has approved some drugs to treat Erectile Function. There are many herbal supplements that can help you last longer in bed, but lifestyle measures can often yield positive results.